Casaubon's Book

I’ve heard from quite a number of people lately who have started gardening, but find that they can’t get everyone in their family onboard with the actual eating part of all these veggies. Here are some thoughts (from 2008) on how to to convince people to try the kohlrabi. Really.

I think I get more requests for ideas for helping people who are on-board with the idea of sustainable eating get the rest of their families on-board than on any other food storage topic.

In a perfect world, of course, our partners, roommates, children and other assorted members of our lives would say “Oh, I’m so thrilled you are growing a garden/part of a CSA – now I can get rid of the honey-barbecue chips and the fast food, and start really appreciating rutabagas like I’ve always wanted to.” In our perfect world, when Daddy unveils his laboriously created six-vegetable risotto with an enthusiastic “Voila!” the kids would say “Wow, Dad, is there really, truly bok choy in it? And we can have seconds? Yay!” instead of “What’s ‘wallah’? It looks gross. And ewww, what’s that green stuff?”

I would say the odds are good that most of us live in a somewhat imperfect world. If we’ve been lucky enough to have started our kids on this stuff from birth, we may avoid the latter (mostly), but since most of our lives also involve some adults we didn’t get a hand in raising, and who we love despite their weird habits, we’re kinda stuck with them, and the painful reality that shifts in diet run up against people’s weird habits pretty hard.

The thing is, changing someone’s food habits is a big thing – we can do this for ourselves – all of a sudden we see the light and begin eating a new way – but making others do it? That’s a challenge – and in reality, I don’t think any of us can *make* any adult do much of anything. Carrots are better than sticks here, but maybe they don’t like carrots ;-).

In many ways, we define ourselves by what and how we eat – so attacks on diets look like attacks on people, and often are fended off with the ferocity of warfare. Nor does moralizing work very well – we all know the truth – the Western diet has a high price, and that it sometimes kills people, and also that the dying often cling to it with a passion that proves firmly that you can’t make most people change by simply telling them how bad their choices are.

As far as I can tell, with rational adults, and extremely rational teenagers there are a few ways of at least getting them onboard for the broader project of changing diets.

1. You enlist them in the name of self-improvement and being better people. You can do this straight, or manipulatively. (And yes, I know in a perfect world, you’d never manipulate people at all, but I’ve never met a family in which there was no manipulation at all, if you include the sort of blatant, half humorous stuff.) The straight way is simply to say “I think we all ought to be eating better – do you agree? Here’s what I want us to do.” This works in some families and with some people – and it doesn’t with others, even if we wish it would. Don’t forget to mention the chance to be self-righteous to them that like that sort of thing the “I can’t believe those people who eat all that processed…”

If you do need/want to be sneaky, it helps, I think if you start the discussion from the assumption that you both care very much about these things and want the same things. That is, some people can be confused a little by simply starting from the “Of course we both care desperately that everyone have enough food in the future, so I know you will agree with me.” Some people will assume that if you are assuming they care about this seemingly good thing that they must, and that gets you part of the way. Or perhaps you could enlist their help against a larger obstacle “Katie our two year old is so terribly picky, and I’m so terribly concerned that she be able to eat things…perhaps you can help me make it easier for her…” Or if you think that it will work (and if they are a person you’d say this sort of thing to) you can tell them it turns you on when they eat… Heck, you’ve got weirder kinks than a taste for seeing your girlfriend devour kale, right?

2. You use a different motivator than the one that moves you. If you know the person you are thinking of is, say, cheap, you talk about how to save money, with an emphasis of doing the things you want to do anyway. If the person is into cool gadgets, talk about the neat stuff you can buy to preserve food. With small children, a great strategy is to convince them that you don’t really want to share your asparagus, or to describe the food in disgusting terms – you aren’t just offering them healthy food, you are offering them roadkill stew with sweet potatoes, and if they eat it, they can tell their friends that they ate week old raccoon.

3. You sneak the food into their diets gradually. This is often the case when the motivated person is the primary cook, and has some control over what goes into food. Suddenly, the noodles are whole wheat or brown rice flour. Secretly, the meatballs are half tvp or ground zucchini. The yogurt is in the old containers, but it comes from home and has homemade strawberry jam mixed in. You don’t talk about it, unless someone says something nice. Meals have a suspiciously green undertone. The cookies get kinda browner and a little denser. When asked about these things, you tell people they must be imagining things.

4. You are a total hardass. This works only if you are the sole cook for someone without much power to get food elsewhere – young kids, teenagers too young to drive or too poor to buy food, spouses so accustomed to eating the partner’s cooking (or sufficiently disinclined to argue) that they won’t dissent too much. It starts out once a week – there’s this meal, and no snacks unless you eat it. Then it goes up to two or three meals a week – dal replaces fast food burgers, fruit replaces most desserts, no one buys snack cakes and juice boxes and iced tea, rather than soda is in the pitcher. Don’t like it? Tough patooties. Guess who is holding the car keys? The problem here is the danger of mutiny, or that someone else might actually learn to cook.

5. You compromise – a little of this, a little of that – and the truth is that while you have to eat more out of your storage, and you find some meals that everyone will like, you never quite get to the point where everyone is really eating this way all the time – there’s still some frozen stuff and take out in your life. And that’s ok – just as long as you have a range of things people will do with the 75lbs of dried chickpeas that don’t involve sculpture.

Some practical ideas:

1. I’ve had great luck (and other people I know have) getting kids to eat raw cabbage and green beans dipped in ketchup, even if they won’t eat it cooked. For some people under five (and a few unfortunates well above it) ketchup is the universal solvent ;).

2. Root vegetables roasted in a pan are the basis for tons of meals – they can go inside enchiladas or wrap sandwiches, act as a starchy side dish (and are great at room temperature or cold),

3. Fritters. You can dip them in anything. Also dumplings. It is hard to tell how much green stuff is in them.

4. Less sweet pumpkin or sweet potato pie can be breakfast, lunch and dinner (although maybe not in the same day).

5. For people who like strong flavors and mixed up foods, things like jambalaya, gumbo and casseroley things are your friend, because it is hard to tell exactly what’s in it – particularly if you chop the greens finely.

6. For people who like everything to be separate with nice clean lines, the potato is your friend. Meat and potato people can get used to an ever-increasing amount of potato and a gradually decreasing amount of meat.

7. Vegetarian cookbooks are your friends – even if you aren’t veg. They often have recipes that you’ll be able to put together with only pantry and garden.

8. Teenagers like power. Get them cooking – and give them the power, within certain parameters, to choose some of the meals.

9. It really helps to let go on some things. If you reassure your honey you aren’t trying to take away everything she loves, that you will still love him if he stops at the convenience store, your kids that candy is still allowed now and again, this will help the transition. In fact, it helps if you instigate – let them have ice cream sundaes for dinner once a year, and you put it on the schedule! Work with them, at the same time you are working “against” them.

10. Sometimes using a fat/salt/sugar laden technique is what is needed to get started with a new food – make rutabaga chips fried in oil with salt – and once they admit they like rutabagas, then you can work on mashing them.

11. Popcorn is a whole grain.

12. My children will eat all sorts of things if they planted them themselves. There’s simply a difference between sorrel you didn’t plant and the kind you did, if you are a kid.

13. The replacement of lettuces with darker, more nutritious greens can often be accomplished without folks whose only consumption of greens is in salad noticing.

14. Everyone seems fascinated by edible flowers, and will eat the things around the daylily petals or johnny-jump-ups pretty much at the same time.

15. Don’t take away dessert instantly. It provides a potent bribe for eating other things. The correct answer to “how much more do I have to eat to get dessert” is always three more bites than you think they would have taken anyway.

16. If you are the picky person, keep trying things. Sometimes tastes change, even for grownups.

17. Sometimes people are absolutely sure they hate something mostly because they either hated it as a kid or were told kids hate it as a kid. This is usually pretty easy to overcome by developing an awesome recipe or two for each vegetable, but it is even better if you can avoid letting your kids know that they are supposed to hate lima beans. For those it is too late for, knowing what to do with limas (or beets, or peas, or whatever) is vital.

18. If you are the one pushing eating a wider variety of foods, you do not get to be picky yourself. Be brave. Take the lead. Eat the kale.

19. Rendering sweet vegetables savory sometimes makes them more palatable to people who simply don’t like sweet things in their dinner – try eating sweet potatoes with a savory cheese sauce, or serving beets with tahini, rather than the traditional “more sweetening” models of something like marshmallow sweet potatoes or Harvard beets.

20. In most households, what will eventually emerge is the reality that your family doesn’t like or doesn’t care about some vegetables. It isn’t necessary to grow these ones – for example, I like celery just fine, but I don’t care for it so strongly that the heavy feeder, time consuming weeding thing appeals to me. So I just don’t grow celery. If you have honorably tried to get people to eat chard, and no one likes it, ok, eat something else green and good for you. Lots of choices out there.

Sharon

Happy Eating!

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Pteryxx
    June 22, 2010

    Somehow, I never expected to see advice on manipulation coming from Casaubon’s Book. O_o And it’s still thoughtfully written, conscious manipulation advice!

    I’d add a few suggestions to the arsenal:

    - Be patient and keep trying. Most of my own major diet changes took months; learning to like oatmeal, for instance, took me about a year of gradually reducing the flavorings necessary to make it tolerable.

    - Start simple. It’s less upsetting when an easy, cheap healthy dish gets rejected than something expensive that took hours of effort to make. It’s also easier to eat all of a small dish yourself if you have to.

    - Let other folks cook for you. Gushing over someone else’s healthy dish at a potluck or dinner nets you helpful tips and suggestions for dealing with unfamiliar food items. You can score a recipe and if you’re really lucky, a tutorial.

  2. #2 anon
    June 22, 2010

    Grilling veggies is also a great way to introduce people to healthier eating. It tastes better to the uninitiated, and introduces the flavor on its own.

    Butter and garlic never hurt either.

  3. #3 msbetterhome
    June 22, 2010

    My partner is not a fan of strong-flavoured cooked leafy greens like chard or kale, but will happily eat them as a sicilian style ‘agrodolce’.

    Steam greens lightly, then toss in a skillet with a small amount of warm olive oil & crushed garlic. Mix with toasted nuts (I use almonds of pine nuts), & some sultanas (ie raisins). Serve with a squeeze of lemon, or a drizzle of fruity vinegar, and a spinkle of salt & pepper.

    This is good hot of cold, & makes a great pasrty filling, too. You don’t need much of each flavouring – it’s the mix of flavours as they come together that really makes the dish.

  4. #4 Katharine
    June 22, 2010

    I’ve always thought #3 is a little dangerous because it can make people resentful if they find out.

    Speaking as one whose tastes have expanded in the past few years, I have another tip: if you can make it seem cool and kinda hardcore to eat all veggies, people might give in. I didn’t think I was a picky eater, but my husband will eat ANYTHING. And he loves to try obscure veggies, the more obscure the better. I did NOT want to be branded “picky eater” so I started eating more things to keep up with him and be just as awesomely gourmet.

    Also, speaking from personal experience again, #16 is so true. I hated peanut butter for approximately 27 years, and recently taught myself to like it. Scratch that – I LOVE IT.

  5. #5 Gabrielle
    June 22, 2010

    Here are a few strategies we’ve tried:
    “No one is making you eat what is on your plate if you aren’t hungry, but this is supper and there isn’t going to be any more food until breakfast.” This works for us but for others it could be playing with fire. Our daughter likes it because it is her choice. She is the same child who once begged me for the kale garnish on my plate at a restaurant, so our problems pale in comparison to others.

    “If you aren’t hungry enough for the food on your plate, you aren’t hungry enough for dessert.” –said with a reiteration of the point that no one is making her eat if she’s not hungry.

    Often our desserts are really what others might consider to be side dishes–sauteed pears or roasted apples, sweet potatoes or winter squashes, fruits with yogurt or cream, etc. While there might not be much sweetener added to these, the idea of having something special like dessert is much more appealing than if we were to add them to the plate with the main course.

    My father has been living with us for the last 4 months, and he’s reawakening to the wonderful world of vegetables. He had cared for my grandmother in her last stage of life and just got out of the habit of cooking real food. He might grill a steak or fry a hamburger instead of fast food, but he really didn’t have many veggies. It has been such a blessing seeing the way he appreciates the food that I make and how it has inspired him to plant a garden and fruit trees this fall.

    Sometimes caregivers crave fresh food made with soul for comfort. Sometimes just showing people love through the food you make is enough to get them excited to try more. Soul food doesn’t have to have a lot of fat or be cooked to pieces–it is really food made with respect for the Higher Power’s blessing of the food, respect for the work that goes into the planting and preparation of the food, and respect for the person who will be nourished by it.

    Thanks for the great tips! I’ll be using many of them as I prepare food for the children’s program at our church this fall.

  6. #6 Brad K.
    June 22, 2010

    I have a friend, that years ago made lasagna for her family, two young boys (4 and 6). The lasagna was a custom dish, including raisins and leftover creamed spinach. It took two days to prepare.

    The creamed spinach was a fairly common type of recipe, just made in a larger quantity than was expected to be consumed that first evening. Part of the enjoyment of the spinach included anticipation of the following lasagna.

    The lasagna depended on the creamed spinach being leftover; it had a different taste and texture.

    Then the lasagna became a problem. After a few times being offered, there was seldom enough leftover spinach to make the lasagna. Grr. I really enjoyed that lasagna.

  7. #7 Jeremy
    June 22, 2010

    12. My children will eat all sorts of things if they planted them themselves. There’s simply a difference between sorrel you didn’t plant and the kind you did, if you are a kid.

    I know I’m much more enthusiastic about eating stuff I grew myself, and I’m 33. I don’t deny being a big kid though.

    I grew up on a truck farm growing cabbage, kale, mustard, turnip, various melons, peppers, tomatoes, etc. and I’ve really learned to enjoy what plants have to offer. I still eat more meat than I should, but as of late I’ve learned you can do some remarkable things with beans.

  8. #8 William
    June 22, 2010

    Nice post! Although I have a lot of childhood experience with #3 (sneaking healthy stuff onto the menu), and I wouldn’t recommend the approach to any parent.

  9. #9 Lauren
    June 22, 2010

    Loved the post!

    I have read that it takes toddlers, on average, 10 tries of any particular “distasteful” food before they will begin to like it. My own suggestion is to use other names for said food during the dislike time frame! For example: kale is kiggle, brussels sprouts are sprouties, broccoli is little trees… That way, they don’t immediately think “But I don’t like kale!” when they’re ready to actually enjoy it a few months down the road and they hear a properly-named list of ingredients. Obviously, this only works on toddlers, and not all of them! :-)

  10. #10 AtomJack
    June 22, 2010

    Huh, well…if your kids are hungry enough, they’ll eat whatever is at hand. I know I ate stuff I hated as a kid, simply because that was all that was offered, and I was hungry enough. On this blog, I suspect that the children’s hunger isn’t enough- I expect that the people here are reasonably affluent (readily available electricity, computers, internet access). There are few things I won’t eat now, but hunger is a sad way to force that appetite.

  11. #11 Round Belly
    June 22, 2010

    great with whole wheat flour… everyone loves it. No one knows it is heavy in veggies.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Zucchini-Brownies/Detail.aspx

  12. #12 Bob
    June 23, 2010

    Another good trick with strong-flavored greens…frittatas. My dandelion greens and garlic frittata is a big favorite with my father-in-law, my wife and her pals when they have a ladies’ get together.

  13. #13 Lorrieena
    June 23, 2010

    My rule is we have to try it once. It applies to my daughter, myself, and my fiance. Daughter must also eat, say, 3 slices of the disliked beets when I serve them for dinner (I love them!). Other nights, I make something we like for a veggie, and she’ll get something she likes – creamed corn, for example. Bonus for everyone, and I don’t come across as inflexible and mean.

  14. #14 DrScienceDaddy
    June 23, 2010

    “” In our perfect world, when Daddy unveils his laboriously created six-vegetable risotto with an enthusiastic “Voila!” the kids would say “Wow, Dad, is there really, truly bok choy in it? And we can have seconds? Yay!” instead of “What’s ‘wallah’? It looks gross. And ewww, what’s that green stuff?””

    Doesn’t sound too laborious, honestly. Perhaps you’d like my recipe?

    (Now, if you’ll excuse me, some kitchen experimentations are in order to get said recipe developed. ;)

    (also, csas rock. We used to have one, but had to move because of my job. Equally sadly, my wife doesn’t appreciate all the veg I do (turnips and greens, radishes, rutabagas, and especially kohlrabi!) but at least one of us enjoyed ‘em. Plus you get exposed to all kinds of different things just because your food is now seasonal so you can’t just get a box of spinach every week (which is itself a good tip; it’s easy to throw spinach in just about anything)

  15. #15 Alice Y.
    June 23, 2010

    Great post, thanks!

    I third, fourth, whatever, the thing about persisting with a new food you don’t think you like. I managed to get to enjoy swede this winter, I knew I had succeeded when I found myself thinking, “hmmm, the flavour of this stew would be better with a bit of swede”. It really does seem to take eating the new flavour dozens of times, and it starts to taste different.

  16. #16 Prometheus
    June 23, 2010

    Figure out the objection

    texture

    flavor

    association

    If it is all three move on.

    If it is one or two, change it.

    Bad association: stealth, to wit: hidden in a quiche, bread or fritter.

    Texture: a different prep or cooking technique.

    Flavor: seasoning combined with a different technique.

    Never try to introduce a new food to kids in the raw. Despite our appalling addiction to fried and battered foods it, along with baked-in is a great intro to veg, followed by pan seared with a little oil, followed by roasting or pickling, then raw with a dressing.

    Handing a kid a big plate of raw whatever is a good way to trigger an heretofore undetected food allergy at a dangerous level. Unlike meats and most fruits, leafy greens have chemical defenses to protect them from being eaten. Cooking breaks those defenses down and combining them with starch dilutes the effect. Heat also releases sugars and you will not have a hard time selling anybody sugar.

    Not my advice alas… Had cocktails last night with my friend, the award winning culinary grad master chef who, exhausted with the politics of a high end supper club, walked out and now cooks for a large state day care facility.

    He claims his new audience is just as finicky. The only real difference is that they are shorter and harder to fool.

    Also no sommelier trying to get into the sauciers pants or vice versa.

  17. #17 Teresa/safira
    June 23, 2010

    Great post! In my husband’s case, #17 definitely applied. He’d grown up mostly on military bases where the available vegetables were canned, so he’d gone for years thinking of vegetables as soggy and tasting vaguely of aluminum. I couldn’t get him to try much beyond potatoes, corn on the cob and salad until I started a garden. He figured he should try the fruits of my labor since I’d worked so hard.

    Now, while I doubt he’d ever be a happy vegetarian, he’s a pretty enthusiastic vegetable eater (and helps in the garden). It doesn’t hurt that I have no fear of olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, curry spicing and/or cheese on top to ease the transition!

  18. #18 Rob Monkey
    June 23, 2010

    Great tips! The GF and I are in a CSA now and loving it, we just got some rainbow chard and kale last night. I’ll admit the kale is a bit hard to get used to, although it works well in pasta dishes, esp. with white sauce. I’ll second the frittatas as well, they’re easy, delicious, and can hide an amazing amount of chewy/pungent veggies.

    Not that I usually have a lot of leftover spinach around (it’s delicious!), but you can throw that in a smoothie with a banana and a little other fruit, and while the smoothie’s green as a Spartan fan, it’s sweet and tastes like banana. Great way to get kids into spinach I suppose.

    Peas can be made into pea burgers for kids that don’t like them, it’s like a veggie burger but instead of the usual black beans, it’s made of peas. Surprisingly good, just google “Alton Brown pea burgers” and you should be able to find it (Good Eats should be the official Scienceblogs cooking show, go Alton!)

    Beets can be made into beet jelly, not exactly the healthiest thing, but it tastes like a mixed fruit jelly and will definitely get picky eaters to realize how different a certain food can taste when prepared differently.

    Lima beans? As far as I’m concerned, they were simply not meant to be eaten by anyone of any age, they’re right up there with wheatgrass on my list of stuff that tastes “healthy.” Please note, “healthy” as a description of taste is the food equivalent of saying someone has a great personality when you’re asked about their looks ;)

  19. #19 Greenpa
    June 23, 2010

    Pteryyx: “Somehow, I never expected to see advice on manipulation coming from Casaubon’s Book. ”

    Think of it as “shepherding”. :-)

    No, really. Are we sheep? Well, then.

  20. #20 Greenpa
    June 23, 2010

    Prometheus: “Never try to introduce a new food to kids in the raw. ”

    weeell. One thing we do, when time and chance permit, is specifically to teach the kids a culture of “just trying” – everything. It can be done, I assure you.

    I’ve had one “I’ll eat anything” kid, and 2 “eewww, no!” kids. One way we’d do this is plan a family movie event- and buy food to go with it. when Middle Child reached the grand old age of 11, I think, I decided it was time to watch Seven Samurai. Went to the oriental food store, and bought lots of specifically weird stuff; teriyaki dried whole squid, raw squid to cook (which I bungled), 4 kinds of bizarre “sweets”, li hing mui, rice of course, shrimp chips, mochi, etc. As we watched the movie, the whole family ate.

    Nobody HAD to try anything; but between the movie and the “oo! try this!” of the grownups and older kids, the pressure was very high.

    Keep that kind of thing up, and bit by bit, it does become natural to “try it”.

  21. #21 Greenpa
    June 23, 2010

    Ok, what they heck; since I seem to have bombed all the excellent comments here for several hours, I’ll add these two points about my Seven Samurai Strategy.

    A) you can tell the kids how incredibly cool it will be when they tell their friends in school “I ate a squid! Tentacles are so chewy!” Huge points.

    B) By comparison to caterpillars or squid or even mochi (rice rubber)- trying kale pales; making refusing it seem silly.
    :-)

  22. #22 Prometheus
    June 23, 2010

    “weeell. One thing we do, when time and chance permit, is specifically to teach the kids a culture of “just trying” – everything. It can be done, I assure you.”

    Oh I agree with the try anything once kid food mantra. What my chef pal was saying was test amount i.e. try a bite or introduce it in the guise of something they eat already:if french fries with garlic are a hit then edamame with garlic next and you are over the soybean hurdle and so on.

    I was raised according to the Geenpa plan and I seldom meet a vegetable I don’t like.

    My favorite kid snack was sesame fried bee larvae.

  23. #23 NM
    June 23, 2010

    Recipes can make a huge difference. My husband doesn’t like kale, either, but I’ve found a couple of ways to prepare it that he loves: our favorite is on pizza. Saute the kale in olive oil with crushed or minced garlic, salt and basil, then spread it on the pizza over the tomato sauce, and proceed with remaining toppings to your liking. It’s wonderful. In winter I use basil salt.
    The other is in a hash, with potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions, and a bit of egg scrambled in.
    Some people find kale easier to eat if it’s blanched before sauteeing — it softens the leaves, which are otherwise very chewy. I like it sauteed in olive oil with onions and garlic, then served with a fried egg on top — but that does require liking the greens themselves.
    My father, who always swore he hated asparagus, loved it roasted until crisp. He also swore he hated eggplant, until I served him ratatouille … which, ironically, my eggplant-loving husband does not like. Go figure.

  24. #24 confluence
    June 24, 2010

    Some vegetables are completely transformed by cooking, and it’s worth trying them in different forms. I love soup made from spinach-like greens, but I hate eating those greens raw. I love raw cabbage in salads, but I don’t particularly care for cooked cabbage. I love cooked tomato in sauces and stews, but I hate the texture of raw tomato and pick it out of everything.

    There are some vegetables I’m pretty sure I just don’t like in any form.

    I wasn’t given many cooked vegetables as a child, so I never developed a taste for them. I still can’t stomach eating steamed or roasted vegetables by themselves. They’re just too weird.

    I credit Chinese food for saving me from scurvy — stir-fry was my cooked vegetable gateway meal.

    My current favourite vegetable delivery mechanism is the wrap (the cold kind, with salad and cheese or some kind of cold meat). They’re quick to make and easy to hold, and I can eat them for days at a time before I get bored. You can pre-chop ingredients for several days in advance, and let picky people (like me) make their own and leave out anything they really dislike.

  25. #25 Adrian
    June 24, 2010

    This really strikes a chord with me. Particularly that children always want whats on your plate, and you end up eating theirs! So it crucial to set a good example. My Kids are only 1 and 4 so are more open to persuasion tricks at the moment.

    I’m growing more perennials veggies and getting the family to eat them is a challenge. My wife says she doesn’t like Good King Henry (Spinach substitute). She doesn’t like the way it doesn’t reduce down the same way as real Spinach. But growing real spinach is hard work. She notices the GKH when its wilted into simple boiled pasta dishes, but I baked a load of it in a veggie lasagne last week she said it was delicious (without knowing what it was)! I’m slowly winning perhaps but its a long battle.

  26. #26 Sharon Astyk
    June 24, 2010

    #3 can backfire – or it can work. I think this is one of those YMMV things. My father didn’t like pickiness in children, and was an extremely adventurous eater, raising three daughters with a picky Mom. His policy was simply not to tell us what we were eating until we had eaten some of it. Of the three of us, my middle sister came to deeply resent this and is suspicious of any food she can’t immediately identify (although not terribly picky in general), while my youngest sister and I still laugh about it. We both found it hard to say “ewww…tripe” when we learned we’d eaten seconds of it at the chinese restaurant.

    Sharon

  27. #27 Jim Thomerson
    June 24, 2010

    I recall liking cooked cabbage when very young, then not liking it for a while, and now liking it again. A friend served me a wedge of boiled cabbage with butter(?) melted on it. I really like it that way, and recommend it to anyone who has doubts about cabbage.

    A bad thing I learned while eating at a boarding house while a student. If you can melt enough butter(?) on it, you can make anything fit to eat.

  28. #28 Jason
    June 25, 2010

    To echo what Lauren said – our 4yr old wouldn’t eat any veg but corn and peas. Then one night I improved a story about how he was a stegasaurus nibbling his way through the ‘enchanted dinosaur forest’ (broccoli), pulling up dino spikes (carrots) and swallowing gastroliths (potatoes). It was a lot of creative work required, but it doubled the number of veggies he would eat in a week.

  29. #29 Jennie
    June 25, 2010

    Ugh! This battle is so hard. My husband claims traumatic experience with dozens of foods.
    I have found soups, stir fries, pasta sauces and lasagna to be great for slipping things in under his radar.

    Say what you will about deception, but when a loved one “hates” a certain veggie because of “traumatic” experience from their childhood, a simple deception easily skirts around their barricades. “Oh no honey, that’s not turnip, you hate turnip, that’s a piece of bamboo shoot. No no, I didn’t put mushrooms in the soup, I remember you hate mushrooms.” In reality it is a piece of turnip and I do put mushrooms in the soup, (minced to tininess and cooked down) but as long as he doesn’t see it going in and as long as he can reasonably believe the alternative reality I tell him, he eats it just fine. :-P

    I’m a terrible person, willing to engage in psychological warfare to increase my family’s health. In spite of themselves.

  30. #30 red pepper
    June 26, 2010

    I baked a load of it in a veggie lasagne last week she said it was delicious (without knowing what it was)! I’m slowly winning perhaps but its a long battle.

  31. #31 Kate
    August 13, 2010

    Spinach is so versatile and creamed spinach is great but I prefer replacing sour cream with low fat plain yogurt, much healthier and much lower in fat.

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