Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Kid Eats Everything (Almost)


Today a question during Food Revolution's weekly twitter party made me think.

"What food," it asked, "do you or your kids NOT like, and why?"

I scooped up the laptop and wandered into Kevin's room to ask him.  All I could see were his long, teenage boy feet sticking out of the closet as he played with computer parts to get whatever the contraption is in his closet working to his specifications.

When I asked, he sat up and thought, brow furrowed, for a few minutes.

"I can't think of one."

"Oh come on, there must be something you don't like.  Tofu?"  I couldn't resist angling for the food that I personally have great distaste for.

"No, that's not so bad in some things."  I recalled the marinated tofu in some of the Asian dishes we enjoy when we visit North Vancouver, which he eats with gusto.

"Liver?"  I know before he nods that yes, liver it is.   I remember the day that I saw a recipe for breaded and fried liver, with the photo making it look so enticing I decided to try it.  I was trying to cure myself of the liver and onions of my childhood, so abhorrent that I refused to eat it.

Maybe my tastes had changed?  I purchased liver and prepared it just like the recipe said, hoping that my attempt would be dinner-worthy.  I had visions of us all eating and loving this dish that as a child, I just couldn't stomach. Four year old Kevin wandered into the kitchen and looked at what was in the frying pan.

"What's that?"

"Oh, it's beef," I lied.  If I tell him it's liver he won't eat it, so technically I'm not lying per se, because it is beef liver after all, right?  Oh, don't judge me.  I know that you all lie to your children when it comes to vegetables and getting them to eat.  A little white lie never hurt anyone.  We used to tell Kevin that broccoli was miniature trees, or that carrots would make him see in the dark. 

Dinner was served.  Kevin cautiously took  a bite of the liver, chewed once, and stopped.  His little face began to squelch.

"Honey, what's wrong?"  I hadn't dared to taste mine yet.  I was procrastinating-possibly about to chicken out, but it was a little late by then.

"It tastes kind of funny," Kevin isn't chewing now, but rather looking at me for a signal as to whether he HAS to chew, or is safe to spit it out.

"Don't be ridiculous, beef is delicious.  It's amazing.  You love it!"  I saw off a big chunk, pop it in my mouth, and begin chewing. The familiar taste of liver filled my mouth.   Oh, no. This isn't better, this is JUST how I remember liver.  Oh, YUK.  Kevin watches while I run for a napkin and spit it out, then literally wipe my tongue on the napkin as if the action will rid my body of the bits of liver left behind.

He promptly spat his onto his plate and watched me, wide-eyed.

"Mommy, I don't like that," he measured his words softly, then looked up at me for reassurance.  He was hoping, I think, from my dramatic refusal to consume the liver that he too, might be exempt.

He was right.

"Sweetie, Mommy won't eat it-and my new rule is that if Mommy won't eat it, you don't have to either."  

"What, you aren't eating that?  I'll have it."  John's fork skewered my piece of liver as he maneuvered it to his plate. "This is really good, I can't believe you don't like it."  John, the man who lives on peanut butter sandwiches, chicken, and salad, whose list of acceptable foods is about as short as what I won't eat, devoured the liver with glee.  Kevin and I were dumbfounded.

There were few, if any, dinner time battles in our house when Kevin was small-but that one, we agreed, was just a lost cause.  Sometimes dinners from our childhood just need to stay there. 

Especially when it's liver.

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