"Mom, can I have pie?" Jake looked at his bowl of cereal and back to me. We were guests in this home, after all, and I didn't want to be rude. On the other hand, I was not going to give up my healthy eating convictions, either.
"We don't eat pie for breakfast. You can have some after lunch if you want, okay?"
He watched as Aiden tucked into his pie and went back to his cereal, chewing thoughtfully. I could tell the wheels were turning.
Years ago, we were on vacation and staying with some friends in the USA. At the very beginning of our years of road trip adventure, I was not used to the cultural differences that came with the territory; and in this case, the food differences. They were HUGE.
A boy the same age was in the house, and it soon became clear that soda was the drink of choice for every meal, and desserts were often in place of real food, all because he wasn't a "good eater." He was the dreaded picky child.
Not wanting to offend, we quietly told Jake the ground rules; no pop unless Mom or Dad had some, and then we'd share a little. Real food before desserts, just like at home. Jake watched in silence as Aiden tucked into his apple pie that morning, assessing the situation as only a 7 year old can.
Then came lunch. The boys had been swimming, and hungrily scrambled up into their seats at the counter.
"I'm having chocolate CAKE!" Aiden waved his fork around in excitement in Jake's direction. "Chocolate cake is the BEST!" Suddenly, I spoke up from where I stood, fixing Jake's lunch.
"Let's see, Jake. You have grapes, some cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cheese, and a bit of sliced hot dog," with flourish, I set the plate in front of him. "Would there be anything more, sir?" Normally I would forgo hot dogs, but at this point there was nothing else that was very healthy.
There they sat; Aiden with his slice of cake, Jake with his fruit and veggies, and the weirdest thing happened. Aiden stopped eating. He put down his fork. He sat and watched as Jake downed broccoli and grapes, asking for more. Finally, waving around a tiny green tree, Jake turned to him.
"Wanna try one? They're good, you know." Aiden took it from Jake's outstretched hand as though the vegetable was foreign to him, popped it in his mouth, and began chewing.
What happened next was completely unbelievable.
The cake suddenly forgotten, Aiden pushed it aside and asked for a plate of fruit and veggies, which I promptly fixed for him. As the boys finished lunch and ran out to play, the cake sat forlornly, it's sugary goodness completely forgotten. Neither boy, even with the promise of cake after lunch, even bothered to ask for a slice.
Picky eater? Maybe. When shown by example and given the opportunity though, your kids just might surprise you.
Guess what arrived in my hot little hands this past weekend?! Finally!
Starting this week, I'm going to start cooking my way through the book with my 14 year old. Oh sure, Jake has always been interested in cooking and I have no doubt that he could fend for himself, but I think it might be a fun project for us. Who knows, maybe he can pass some of those skills on to a friend or a girlfriend one day! We'll take video and pictures, posting them here so that you can see our progress so be on the look out for it!
Also, I'm really honored that Foodista is featuring Notes From the Cookie Jar as their blog of the day this Friday for Food Revolution Fridays!
How is your weekend going? Do you have any food stories, or recipes to share? There was so much good stuff last week! You guys are all so amazing, I can't wait to see what you come up with. Sign the petition! Cook with your kids, your friends, your partner! Let's keep the Revolution going!