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Sorry.... can't resist a little bragging here. I've been grinning from ear to ear all morning.

When my daughter, now 10, was born, my husband and I vowed to expose her to all the good things in life, including a wide variety of foods. Our plan worked for the first two years, when she would contentedly chow down on penang curry.

Then she went into a "white food" stage.... and stayed.... and stayed.... and stayed. White bread, white rice, spaghetti with nothing on it. She'd freak out if she spied a parsley flake in instant ramen. Nothing green..... ever..... and no foods touching on her plate.

We quietly despaired.

She's always been more adventuresome about "foreign" foods. Loves sushi and dim sum, and, surprisingly, squid. And over the past year, she's slowly been broadening her horizons, though she still won't touch a green vegetable.

Fast-forward to today. She's being graduated from elementary school; tomorrow is her last day. Driving her to school this morning, I asked if there was somewhere special she'd like to go to celebrate (secretly thinking she'd choose.... not Chuck E. Cheese.... she's a little too old for that now.... but the next step up, Dave and Buster's).

And with not a moment's hesitation, she replied, "I'd really like to have dinner at that Laotian restaurant...."

Happy sigh..... it's not all been in vain, after all.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I sooo understand and am happy with you right now remembering ..with each one of my kids I had a similar moment where we were browsing for something good and the answer was "YUM Korean Food for lunch!!!! " and they were bouncing in the seats!!!! with friends!!!!

it is such a nice moment!!! congratulations!!!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Cool! Mine has had this "no tomato" thing forever although he eats my fresh finely minced salsa with glee. I adore tomatoes and his grandpa raises exquisite hugely flavorful ones. Two weeks ago he was "teenager starved" and could not wait more than 5 minutes after a Dr. appointment for food. Hit the drive-thru. I forgot to say "no tomato". When I asked him 5 minutes later when the 2 burgers were gone, he commented that he realized that he really had never tasted the tomatoes anyway, he just did it cuz his dad (ex-hub) hated them!!!! Laotian sounds so good. Happy graduation!

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Isn't it a great feeling? We're experiencing that now, with our 8 year old. Just last night, as we were discussing dinner for the next few days, over the dinner table, he says "Mom, you haven't made Thai in awhile, you could make red curry tomorrow". He's also begun experimenting with hot sauces. I have them on the table at most meals, and I catch him putting a drop or two on his food, and tasting it. I feel lucky, because his favorite, and most requested places to eat, are the sushi place on the corner, and a hole-in-the-wall (authentic) Mexican dive.

It does my heart good, not only to see him growing into a solid, experimental, appreciative eater, but to see other parents encourage the same. Of course, from eGullet I wouldn't expect different, but it's refreshing, because I see so many kids subsisting on chicken fingers and fries.

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The thing is, I've found that simply watching parents cook and take care in preparing meals is enough to spark kids' natural interest in food. Talking about and showing enthusiasm for good food (as well as having the Food Network on all time :laugh: ) also helps. It's all about the environment you expose them to.

Growing up, I literally never cooked with my mom nor did I show any interest in cooking whatsoever. However, being around my mom's cooking/baking and being exposed to her food eventually had its impact when I moved out. It was a pretty natural transition for me to start learning to cook, although I would have had a head start with some actual tutelage from my mother.

Parents, do not despair!

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Thanks, everyone, for your kind words!!!

:biggrin:

Congratulations!  There is hope on the horizon after white food!!

:biggrin:

Yes, there is hope indeed!

Our dinner was lovely. I forgot to bring the camera, but here are some earlier photos from the same restaurant:

My daughter's favorite: pork satay.

gallery_27586_876_133213.jpg

Crispy roast quail.

gallery_27586_876_126794.jpg

Seafood hotpot, filled with shrimp, squid, fish, vegetables, and cellophane noodles. We didn't order this the other day -- instead we had "Naughty Princess Shrimp," a stir-fry of shrimp, bamboo shoots, and basil leaves in a coconut milk-based red curry.

gallery_27586_876_54586.jpg

Sticky rice, served in a traditional steamer basket.

gallery_27586_876_20417.jpg

We had enough food left over for another meal at home!

Sanrensho: I quite agree a lot is about exposure and environment. But that's part of why my husband and I were so surprised our daughter's "white food" stage lasted as long as it did.

Marc Olson: That is an interesting article. Except for occasional meals at chains like California Pizza Kitchen or Romano's Macaroni Grill, which do have kids' menus, we mostly dine at ethnic restaurants where we order my daughter's meal off the regular menu. In other restaurants, unless we're all sharing, one trick we sometimes use for smaller portions is to choose her food from the appetizers side. That worked well when we were traveling in the Napa & Sonoma Valleys last summer. I don't think we've ever gotten chicken nuggets except in McDonald's! :laugh:

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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In NJ the average diner menu is the size of a 3 yr old and it was always so cute to see my daughter hiding behind one looking for the "child page"

She came home from college with more boxes of kitchen stuff than clothes :blush: and she just mentioned that they are going to have to start asking for their food Thai Hot at their favorite restaurant...

I didnt eat tomatoes till I was 38 except for sauce

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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