There’s a story that’s gone down in family history that ends with my mother pouring a glass of chocolate milk over my head. If you know my mother, you are likely lifting your jaw off the floor because she is the kindest, gentlest woman you ever will meet. But every mom has her breaking point, and I had pushed mine to hers.
I was an extremely picky eater as a child. As in, I existed on buttered noodles, fruit, and the occasional Steak-umm or Chicken Rondelet for years. And on this fabled night, I had requested a variety of foods for dinner only to refuse every single one of them once they were prepared. My final request: chocolate milk, which I also rejected. The rest, as they say, is family history.
As an adult, I’ve tried very hard to conquer my finicky ways, with a lot of success. I now love fish and asparagus. I’ve progressed to lukewarm on beans. I’m inching my way towards liking tomatoes. Eating these once-hated foods as an adult has been eye-opening (onions actually do taste good!) and empowering (I can attend any dinner party without fear). Being a mom has motivated me even more to broaden my horizons.
I currently teach an Introduction to Nutrition class and have incorporated the theme of picky eating recovery into my course. Using Jenna Pepper’s great blog, Food With Kid Appeal, we talk about the “mindset model”–of how just thinking about a food in a different way can change your perception of it. So instead of thinking “Tomatoes are so slimy and squishy and I hate them”, I now think “They’re such a beautiful color and so nutritious, and sundried tomatoes in pasta are really yummy”.
In class, I ask each student to take a Picky Eater Pledge: to choose a previously-hated food, try it in different ways over the course of a month, and then write about it.
My own choice this quarter: Brussels sprouts. I tried them steamed and suffered through just one mushy, grayish-green bite. But then I discovered this Brussels Sprouts Salad, and I seriously can’t get enough.
If you want to sign Jenna Pepper’s Picky Eater Pledge, go here.
And if you’ve successfully rediscovered a food you once hated as a child, tell me about it!