I saw these recently while eating at an aquarium cafe, and it made me chuckle. Some days I think these would have been handy for our kitchen table. Parents often express fear of ketchup or dip. Primarily, I hear them say they are afraid their children will “get used” to ketchup with everything and won’t learn to eat foods plain.
In my home, we allow free use of ketchup (and let me tell you that giant pump bottle would have been nice at times) and often had Ranch, or home-made honey-ginger dressings.
Think of ketchup and dips like “training wheels,” you won’t have a teenager pouring ketchup on rice, or corn on the cob (these were my childhood faves…) If you are an adult picky eater, you too can find a favorite sauce to expand your options. BBQ sauce? Hot sauce?
Why do condiments help?
• the familiar flavor can be a bridge to new foods
• for foods like meats, which are tough for small children, dips like ketchup can add moisture and make the foods easier to manage
• a study showed that some sweetness helped kids like vegetables more, and another study with grapefruit juice showed that kids who had a little sugar on the first introduction actually liked the plain juice more readily than children who had not gotten a sweetened version to begin with (so the myth of the sugar limiting variety is just that, a myth…)
So, don’t be afraid of condiments. Even when my little one makes pink mashed potatoes with her ketchup, or makes a salad that is totally doused in Ranch, or licks my honey-ginger dressing off her fingers, it’s OK.
Have you seen the magic of condiments? What are your favorites? (I love Heniz salad cream too, I go in jags with that one, haven’t had it in years!) For our friends overseas, HP sauce? Lisano? Veggiemite?