We certainly have our share of finicky. Here's our "nope, I won't touch it"-list:
Hannah -- spaghetti sauce, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts
Olivia -- eggs (okay, her list basically ends there. Girl has got some culinary creds)
Miranda -- ravioli or any stuffed pasta, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts
Jason -- tomatoes, cucumbers, "the green melon" (aka honeydew), liver and tongue.
Tanya -- lima beans, liver, veal (more a philosophical thing than taste).
I also hate PopTarts, though don't think that qualifies me as a picky eater.
Everybody hates something. And some of us hate more things than others. Miranda spent the first eight years of her life refusing any main dish that didn't include chicken fingers or noodles, no sauce. To this day she still orders chicken fingers whenever we're at a restaurant "just to be safe". (The one exception is sushi. She loves a good eel roll. Go figure?!?!)
I refuse to be a short-order cook, fixing one meal for one person and another for another. So many years ago I adopted the policy that I would cook what I want, make sure there's something else on the menu that everyone else would like, and require each kid to at least try each thing. They didn't have to clean their plates (remember that parental torture tactic?!?), but they did have to try at least one bite of everything. And if they ate enough of each item they "qualified for dessert".
I also try very hard to explain that "you don't hate the (insert food)", but rather "you don't like the (insert food) prepared such-and-such a way." (yeah, that only occasionally works)
Sometimes it's a hard sell. Like when I posted last night's menu on Facebook:
Asian Grilled Salmon with Roasted Brussels Sprouts ... and popsicles for dessert
Our friend Tim, whose wife Cindy is a fabulous cook!, immediately responded:
"Even popsicles can't make up for Brussels sprouts"
My response? You haven't had my Brussels Sprouts. Even Jason thought he hated sprouts, till he tried 'em this way. Now he's a total convert.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients -- sprouts, olive oil, sea salt. (yup, that's it!)
Directions -- Simple. Cut off woody ends and cut sprouts in half, lengthwise. Lay on baking sheet that's coated with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, then toss around the sprouts are covered in oil and salt. Bake on 400 for 15 minutes, tossing around at the half-way. Yum!
Now, on to the Salmon. Until a couple of years ago my Mom swore up and down that she didn't like salmon. I think she was going through PTSD from the salmon cakes my grandmother served her during childhood. We had to convince mom that all salmon didn't come from a can and wasn't shaped like a hamburger patty and filled with crunchy, little round bones.
When we finally convinced her to try it, she loved grilled salmon! Here's one easy recipe we use:
Asian Grilled Salmon
4 Salmon fillets (or 1 side of fresh salmon, boned but skin on)
for the marinade:
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Mix all the marinade ingredients, then marinade fish at least 10 minutes, longer if possible.
Fire up the grill (or if like last night it's raining and you don't feel like grilling under an umbrella -- the stove).
Cook 4-5 minutes on one side, flip, then 4-5 minutes on the other side or until desired doneness. I like mine a little "rarer" than Jason.
Serve with seasoned rice (lemon juice and bay leaf) and fresh blueberries.
And a popsicle. See. Everyone's happy!
What are your tips for getting picky eaters to try new things?