I often say that it isn’t my job to make things that they like. It’s my job to make things that are good for their bodies, that will help them grow to be healthy and strong. It’s my job to expose them to all different kinds of food, to show them how to prepare it, to make sure they appreciate the bounty life has to offer.
It’s my job to show them that home-cooked meals taste better.
In real life that means lots of, “I don’t like this,” or “I don’t want to eat this,” at the dinner table. Sometimes there is fork banging. Often there is whining. We’ll sometimes sit for an hour helping a stubborn eater finish his plate.
After which he will admit that it was “good.” And nothing more will be said about it.
I am undeterred by the lack of enthusiasm for my cooking. I know my kids have it good. I make dinner nearly every night. I introduce them to new foods. I use, for the most part, fresh ingredients. What’s not to love?
Okay, for them, there are a lot of things not to love. A lot of unknown quantities staring back at them from their plates. Unfamiliar textures, unfamiliar smells, unfamiliar colors. Can’t we just have pizza every night and cut the whining?
Sadly (for them), no. My need for adventure outweighs my need to please their immature palates.
True, they do have to be my guinea pigs and that doesn’t always turn out well, especially when I forget to omit the pepper (“Aaaahhh! Spicy! Spicy!”) but I think they’ll thank me later.
I see them, many years down the road, in their college apartment whipping up a quick tapenade to spread on their artisan bread while their roommate waits for his Cup Noodle to cook, and whispering prayers of thanks for a mother who saved them from that fate.
Or not. But at least as they dig into their own Cup Noodle they’ll know for sure that I spoke the truth. Tasty food does not come in a styrofoam cup.