Those of us who love food, tend to think about and experience food all the time. When we plan vacations, we plan around the sort of food experiences we want to have. When we look forward to the change of seasons, first and foremost are thoughts about what fruits and vegetables are in season and what kind of meals we want to prepare or enjoy. Our lives tend to revolve around the family table, celebrations and sharing our love for food with the ones we care about.
Most parents are excited about sharing their hopes, dreams and interests with their children. Sports fans can’t wait to get their kids excited about their favorite teams. Parents with artistic interests try to give their kids every opportunity to explore their creativity. Those of us with a more scientific focus want to show our kids the wonder of nature as well as technology and invention. Parents who are foodies want to instill a love of food and culture with their children. They want their kids to have a chance to experience the world the way they do. It’s a magnificent thing to be inspired and energized just by the process of shopping in the market.
The reality is, most kids are picky eaters on some level – at least in the beginning. What a child will or will not put in their mouth can become the ultimate power struggle. After all, as parents we control so much of what goes on in their lives, but we cannot force them to chew and swallow. At the same time, having a continual struggle at every mealtime is exhausting. The last thing a cook wants to receive after putting their love and time into a thoughtful meal is a disgusted look accompanied by, “What is in this?”.
It’s been a long time in the making, but at age 10 my son is finally a joy to cook for. He’s still a bit picky, but we can at least talk and relate to each other over the food. I used to be so envious when I would watch Rick Bayless cook with his daughter on TV. Their interactions always seemed very genuine. I am finally at the point with my own child, and it is absolutely fantastic. I am so glad I found the strength to push through the hard times, giving him his preferred foods some times, but expecting him to stretch himself and try new things as well.