Picture this :: You and your gaggle of kids are seated at your favorite restaurant on an unexpectedly busy afternoon. The waitress is so swift, you decide to trust the kids to order politely and on their own. That’s when your 10 year old looks up with her large, round eyes, and says, “I’ll have the Prime Rib, please.”
And that’s when you realize :: you’ve taken this foodie thing waayy too far.
Oh, yes. After just a decade of life, my babes were beyond the kids menu stage and had arrived at full-on foodie, most-expensive-item-on-the-menu stage. But, this was not by accident- it was intentional.
We did that.
The idea that there is “kid” food and “grown up” food has always seemed wildly foreign to me and I used to pride myself on having raised my kids to eat a wide variety of foods from an early age.
Now, we hand them a kids menu and they make that little pre teen angst-y face about chicken strips then ask for the regular menu. Even if we hadn’t raised them on a steady diet of hummus, pho, cauliflower, sushi, and lentils, their occasional dislike for deep-fried boneless chicken is something I can totally relate to.
I wanted them to have a “mature palette”. And now, that palette is costing us.
Of course, our daughter didn’t end up with the Prime Rib- we found something agreeable for half the price. But that experience made me realize just how many unintended consequences have come from the fruits of our labor.
Foodie Kids Are Just as Hard to Feed
I legitimately thought raising my kids to eat a wide variety of foods meant mealtimes would be easier. They aren’t. Restaurants are easier thanks to the multiple options but at home I have a pretty strict, “I cook it, you eat it” rule. So yeah, there are times when the kids turn their noses up at what I serve for dinner. There are also times when they’re eating us out of house and home. Last week, I went to bed dreaming about the foie-grass stuffed quail I didn’t get enough of because the kids ate it all. It’s feast or famine around here.
They Still Like “Kid Food”
Don’t get me wrong, my kids can get down with some mac and cheese. Some of them have more refined taste than others. A few of them need a little more attention paid to their caloric intake. Our “picky” daughter also happens to be slightly underweight. One of our teenagers has been flirting with vegetarianism on and off for a few years. In other words, all that time I spent agonizing over breastfeeding and making sure their baby food was made fresh, from scratch, was for naught. There are no guarantees in life and this is no exception.
People Will Judge Either Way
If people judge you for having a picky eater, you will certainly also be judged for ordering them a “fancy” meal. I’m used to the looks by now- the surprise when we say the raw oysters are for the kids at the other end of the table. The condescending, “Are you sure?” when I order their pho- not the kid version. The “I warned you” look when you ask for a to-go box because the server thought no way a kid will eat very much of that paella. They think I’m ridiculous. Or, maybe they think I’m secretly ordering it for myself. But either way, they don’t know my kids. They don’t know our household obsession with squid. I do.
I have to admit, I used to be one of those judgmental moms, too. I can’t tell you how many times I planned a dinner party knowing my friend’s kids would not eat the food. But, this foodie-mom adventure taught me that the only way to not be judged is to cease to exist.
So, bake those fish sticks. Or sign them up for the kids foodie camp. Whatever.
We influence the relationship our kids have with food but we don’t control them like little robots. Every kid is an individual and every family is different. You won’t hear any flack from me about how you feed your kids. Just feed them, amirite?