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raising a child who isn’t afraid to cook, and ” I might like it this time” (hint, she didn’t…)

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Blog Posts | 6 comments

Recently we made a quiche. We tried a new refrigerated dough. Alas, when M unrolled the first one, it stuck together and broke apart. I figured she did it “wrong” so I unrolled the second one very carefully, and it too broke and cracked and fell apart.

Then, I couldn’t find the pie dish. So we improvised. We used a square Pyrex and pieced together a crust, which left us with extra dough. M asked if we could make a little blueberry pie. We had blueberries, so sure, why not? She rolled out her ball of dough, we put some blueberries in a little bowl, added brown sugar, a sprinkling of flour, and melted some butter that we brushed on the dough. Then we folded it in half, brushed on more sugar and cut an M slit in the top, pinched the sides and stuck it in the oven. It was fun to encounter these challenges together, torn dough, “wrong” baking dish, and problem solve. I said a lot of, “What do you think, should we try it this way?” M now has opinions on this stuff, which is fun.

Because I wasn’t sure how the pie would turn out, and I wanted the experience to be fun and positive, we served the finished pie with some ice-cream, and hey, it’s warm pie, and ice-cream goes so well with it.

So, the pie was disappointing, but we had tons of fun making it, she enjoyed the ice-cream, and I know that we talked about experimenting and how we could make it better next time (more sugar in the dough maybe…)

Another thing that happened while making the quiche I thought I’d share for my readers still struggling with selective or pickye eaters. M has never liked quiche, which I make a few times a year.

This time she was really into cracking the eggs, sprinkling the cheese, and while we were putting it together, she said, “I think I might like it this time.” I got a little excited, but reigned myself back in. CAUTION: your response here needs to be neutral, even if you want to encourage and praise, or say, “I know you will, you helped me make it, it’s so yummy!” So I said, “Oh? I guess we’ll find out soon!” She also chose beet salad over tomato to go with the quiche, and we had some other choices I knew she could eat.

Did she like it this time? Nope, but she tried two bites, and I know, with time, she probably will. I mention this because every article on picky eating tells parents to have their children help cook and prepare foods. Are they more likely to try it and like it? Sure, but it’s no guarantee. And, while you are cooking, enjoy the process, try not to pressure and oversell the food.

What have your experiences been? Do you experiment with your kids? Do they see you “fail” in the kitchen? Do they try things when they cook?

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6 Comments

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  1. Kris

    I grew up learning to cook from my grandmothers and my father, all of whom loved food and cooking. It was from them that I learned that 1) food is an adventure! 2) no food is bad, and 3) failure is an opportunity to learn. When I got married I told my husband that if I ever cooked something he didn’t like, he had better let me know or else he would be doomed to eating it for the next several decades. We have sampled some interesting new dishes that I’ve prepared–some were successes, some were initial failures but were tried again and improved upon, and some were terrible and ended up in the trash. I love that he is not afraid to try new things (last weekend was his first trip to a buffet serving Indian cuisine, and he tried pretty much everything), and that we can both be honest about what we find appetizing as well as what we don’t.

  2. Kate

    I think it is as valuable to make or sample an unsuccessful dish as it is to make or sample a successful one. My upbringing stressed not making mistakes to such a degree that I reached a point where I was afraid to do anything.

    So the ability to make something and have it not turn out so great and be able to be able to move one without dwelling on the failure is a HUGE tool for life.

  3. Heather

    I’ve been making muffins to put in my son’s lunch box. On Sunday I made some corn muffins from a new recipe but didn’t try one that day. On Monday, I put one in his lunch and took one with me to work for a snack. It was awful: dry and flavorless and I could barely choke it down (I was really hungry so I ate it but I didn’t enjoy it). He’d only taken one bite from his. I asked him, trying to be casual, if he’d liked the muffin and he said “I didn’t like it very much.” I told him I didn’t either, that I was disappointed by the way they had turned out… Then we baked a batch of banana muffins together!

    • katja

      I love this story! Thanks for sharing. Giving kids permission to not like something is very powerful. Not trying to override them respects them as individuals and empowers them to try more and do more.