This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picky Eater

This is my Karma: having a child of my own who is picky about what she eats.

I don't think I was _that_ picky of an eater as a young child. I grew up mainly in the Philippines and the normal grub there is not fit for a picky eater.

I ate green, sour mangoes. Rambutan. Lanzonies. Monkey bananas. Fried bananas. Banana lumpia. Sweet potato chips. Fried peanuts in garlic. Pusit, which is barbequed squid with hot hot hot sauce on it. Hot dogs made from "who knows what".

Fish, crabs, bird's nest soup with quail eggs (look it up. it's a real bird's nest). I didn't eat balut but I had a version of it called penoy, which is not as fertilized as balut (and I think my version was from a chicken).

But I'm SURE I was picky to my Filipino family. If anything, I am so much more pickier NOW than I was living in that environment. I don't care for fish anymore and even though I loved bird's nest soup, I don't know if I could eat it anymore (I think I can).

I am picky NOW for neurotic reasons: no meats outside the main "meat" group, which for me is: beef, chicken or pork. If you give me lamb, venison, squirrel, or veal, then I will kindly turn you down. And if you try to sneak it to me, tell me it's chicken but it's really gopher, then I will not appreciate it. I don't refuse to eat the "outside-of-my-meat-group" because I think it will taste bad; I do it because I DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. I won't like it. It could taste like BUTTAH and I won't appreciate it because I DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. So if you try to sneak it? You'll probably lose me. I will severely dislike you for almost an eternity. You are playing dirty. It's not funny at all. It's plain mean and I won't respect you at all. SO DON'T EVEN TRY IT. I will put you in the same bucket that I put those damn Fox News following Republicans.

CJ is now me. A form of me, I guess. I like to romanticize myself and think I was not as picky as she is...but I may be wrong. :)

It drives me B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I used to have to find a mantra to recite to calm my nerves when it came to dinner time. She refuses to try anything new: She likes pasta. She likes steak. Mix the pasta with the steak? Forget it. She will refuse to eat it.

When she was a baby, she tried a lot of things *and* enjoyed it! She ate raw red onions that we used to have with a steak dish. She skipped the meat and ate the red onions.

She even ate steak mixed with pasta!

But as she got older, it became a stubborn game of beating horns against each other: mine vs. hers. I. ALWAYS. LOSE. Because she doesn't eat anything I want her to and I ache with frustration.

I've tried the "I don't care if you eat it or not" approach. Food's on the table; pick your own. She never picks anything new or outside of her green group, which is peas and green beans.

The "short order cook": I'll fix whatever you want and we'll eat this.

The "You fix your own dinner": she'll cook a scrambled egg or have PB sandwich.

The "you better eat it or else!": she takes whatever "or else" is.

In the end, I end up feeling miserable...ruminating about why my child has ended up becoming so cruel about food. How she is missing out on different flavors, different cultures, different foods.

Last week, Tim fixed dinner and presented CJ her plate with veggies that I would never have presented her: carrots with onions. He also baked a wonderful chocolate cake. He set it down, nonchalantly, in front of her and said simply "eat your veggies and you get cake".

Ha! I thought. She is NOT going to eat her veggies.

Not only did she eat the carrots (onions were permissible to be omitted), she ate the rice dish he had made...a NEW DISH that she had never had before, nor wanted to try. I was sooooooo happy.

So I decided to follow suit and yet, I was much nicer. I made broccoli with a swiss cheese sauce. I placed one piece of broccoli floret and drenched it in cheese sauce. I said "No candy corn unless you eat this". We all laughed. While Mi-Mi gobbled the broccoli (Mi-Mi is my dream eater: she tries EVERYTHING. If she doesn't like it, no biggie. At least she tried it. And she LOVES broccoli. She orders it if it's a choice on the kid's menu. I know the waiters think: 'there goes another mom forcing her kid to eat broccoli'. Nope. It's her choice and if you're not careful, she'll eat your broccoli too!).

Anyway, CJ ate EVERYTHING. Went back for seconds. While leaving that one lone piece of broccoli on the plate. It wasn't even BIG! And guess what? She didn't eat it. And got mad at ME that she couldn't have candy corn. I was sooooo disappointed. But, I said very little about it. If anything, Tim ragged on her about it but she still got mad *at me*.

Then this evening, we had a cooking 'class' where this lovely woman, Sheri Castle, made a Red Pepper Dip, Orzo with Shrimp, Spinach and Tomatoes, Potato Salad with Fresh Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes, and Walnut Bars. Sheri went on and on about how great the fresh local produce is right now. The smells from her food was tantalizing. She really sold her recipes. And the food was AWESOME. But what did CJ eat? A walnut bar and a chip. The chip is store bought in a bag. She did not even try a single dish that this woman prepared.

UGH! I am doomed.

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