Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Boiled pigeon's feet for dinner

It's 6:30 pm. I've put in a nine-hour day at the office, I've just gotten home and I'm at the stove. I am sauteing, chopping, and seasoning something delicious, when my son comes downstairs.

"What are we eating for dinner?" he asks.

"Straw-and-hay pasta," I answer.

"What am I eating?" he asks.

"Straw-and-hay pasta," I answer.

He immediately crumbles to the floor. Never mind the fact that he loves the dish. Never mind the fact that every time he eats it he asks for seconds. It's not what he expected, so he'll reject the dish until we actually sit down to eat dinner.

My son is a picky eater.

But it turns out, that there several different kinds of picky eaters. Researchers at the University of Illinois have been studying picky eaters and have defined four different types:
  1. Sensory-Dependent eaters who are wary of taste or texture.
  2. Behavior Responders who reject foods not prepared in the "right" way.
  3. Preferential eaters who refuse to try new foods.
  4. General Perfectionists who like little variety in their diets and insist foods not touch on their plates.
The researchers say that the majority of children who are picky eaters fall in the fourth group. But, my son is definitely in the third group: He is horrified at the thought of trying new foods (or foods that he has eaten in the past but doesn't recognize the name of.)

So, to help combat this, Mommy has gotten a little more creative with her meal names. I like to tell him that we are eating something disgusting, like boiled pigeon's feet or cream of cactus soup or carpet lint pie, because whatever I actually do serve him has to be far better than that.

Do I wage a war every night at dinner? No. (I want to stay sane, after all.) Instead, I push my son to try new things when I think he will genuinely like them, make him alternatives when I know he will not and generally remember that no child will let himself starve.

Do you have a picky eater in your household? What kind? Tell me in the comments.

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