Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly(ish) feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I am not an expert, but I do enjoy talking about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.
Recipe Index can be found here.
Yesterday, as I was making some chicken saag, Anjali asked if she could help. I don't push cooking onto my kids, but when they show an interest, I let them do as much as they are able to do safely (e.g. Arun rolls out his own cookie dough but I deal with the oven part.) Anjali was more than willing to help with the chicken saag because it is one her favorite dishes. Because of a kid like her, I could boast all day about my stellar parenting skillz. Except I know that it was just the luck of the draw. However, where Anjali is fierce when it comes to her food choices, conversely, Arun is picky. Certainly, he is the one who keeps me honest and my humility safely intact.
We cater to our kids when it comes to food. And I am unapologetic. Yes, at every chance, we poke and prod them to try new things. But we do not threaten or play games. If they refuse, end of story. After all, as an adult, I do not eat things I do not want to eat. Over the years, I have seen a variety of fights at kitchen tables -- the threats, the trickery, solemn declarations of "No Dessert".
I simply refuse to engage in that.
Generally, I keep plenty of healthy(ish) alternatives in the house and the kids are allowed to forage at will (it is also why I try to keep junk food at a minimum.) Also, they usually get to choose the lunch option. But dinner? Is for the adults. I enjoy cooking and simply put, boiling water for macaroni and cheese simply does not allow me to get my culinary jones on. Generally, if it is a chicken dish, Anjali will partake - even if it is spicy (actually, she can now handle the same heat as Manoj and I). If it is fish, Arun will sniff around and Anjali will bow out.
Perhaps, in another family, Arun would not be the picky eater. He likes some veggies, salad, anything fish or seafood, chicken, and steak. He simply prefers his food to be more bland (he does love a good Persian barg kabob, though) And yes, to the rest of my little family, that is "picky". Anjali has always preferred things with stronger flavors and scents and often, meals result in a 3 vs 1 situation.
I like to think that as time goes on, Arun will become more adventurous. In the meantime, I will continue to cook as I normally do, while offering him blander options. I will not push my cooking onto him, but I will continue to offer it.
What say you, Gentle Reader? Do you push your kids? Do you fight the Good Fight when it comes to food battles at the table?? Dad Cooks Dinner discussed this recently and the comments got interesting.