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I never really paid attention to what "others" were feeding their kids but I know for one thing that I hope that my kids will love to eat all kinds of foods.

I know when I was a kid, my dad would make me try the "adult" things and I love it now as an "adult". And being Japanese, the only "kid thing for us was the wasabi-nuki sushi.


I grew up in Delaware, not a place known for it's variety of foods, and definitely not in the 70s. My mom cooked chicken and rice and meat and potatos with smushy brown vegetables every night. Not just for the kids, but for the whole family. On babysitter nights, we got fish sticks or frozen pizza. I never had a burrito until I was 20 and in college, but I don't think that is because my parents were afraid I wouldn't eat, I think it's because my parents had never had a burrito before then either. (In fact, I don't know if they've ever had a burrito to this day). I tasted sushi for the first time when I moved to SF at the age of 22. Now I consider myself a pretty sophisticated eater, having tasted --and loved--plenty of the fabulous ethnic and whatever else foods that SF and now LA has to offer. My own kids are not nearly so adventurous as I am, and I don't insist on it. I guess I figure if I came to it so easily, so late in the game, they can too. Nothing bothers me more than an adult picky eater, but in kids I almost expect it. The truth is, my palate DID change as I grew older.
I think it's fantastic that Bunny and Wallie eat such a variety of foods--I don't think it's pretentious at all. Sometimes I wish my kids were more like that, but they are not, so be it.


I don't have children, probably just as well since one of my biggest regrets, aside from not being able to call them the fabulous, unique names I formulated for them over many years, is that I won't be able to cook for them.

I can just see myself now, in a perfectly pressed pinny, cooking up wonderful meals to charm and excite my imaginary children.

I have no grounded reality, of course, only a day dream, that no child would have to suffer through the same awful daily eating experience that I did growing up in 70s England.

I actually WAS one of those whose taste buds goet switched on the moment I was 18 and went off to college to experience "the mysterious Indian food" with my dorm friends. That is a real story from my life.

I don't have the food tradition that you were so incredibly lucky to have grown up with and I don't have the kids to know what my answer to this question would be if I did have the experience. Maybe it wouldn't be so far removed from yours.

What I do know is that despite my limited culinary upbringing, I developed my own genuine passion for food and cooking and when I left I home I started my own food traditions and I have been enjoying them and building on them ever since. I may not have children, but I have my partner and he is my family. When I cook for him, it's because I want him to be happy and satisfied and love the taste of good interesting food. I hope I am succeeding without anyone thinking me a snob.


PS - I really meant to tell you about my food diary - window to my weakness, full of Twix Bars, scoffing chocolate and mediocre restaurants (in addition to the good stuff of course)


month view is best


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Wow you said a mouthful. Although I was not raised to eat gourmet foods, I was raised to eat whatever was given to me. Nobody made special meals for the kids in my house. And although my mother was not a very good cook, she didn't buy junk food or take us out for fast food (except for the occasional vacation KFC). My grandmother enjoyed cooking for us and I think those cooking associations led me to want to cook and eat well later on. In college I began to try everything and eventually went on to cooking school etc. Before I had my son, I was exposed to many little picky eaters here and there and vowed that I would do better for my child. I, as you, believe that "raising a gourmand" is about "choosing, appreciating and eating delicious foods." Yet, I might add, many parents I meet seem to have great difficulty doing this and marvel at the things my child eats. I imagine that you must hear the same thing. Many parents harbor the notion that kids won't eat certain things, carrying on the sad culinary traditions of fast food and kiddie menus they were brought up on. Hopefully, our blogs can help change these notions,if even just a tiny bit.


Love it. I don't buy into the argument that kids are supposed to be non-foodies or are fake foodies at all. My older son has a much more sophisticated palate than my husband, who I only started working on in his mid 30's.

My 7 yr old has gleefully chomped masago roe sushi and wakame salad while looking down his nose at his father's fried, battered, tasteless chicken nuggets. (Also known as "sweet n sour" chicken....*shudder*) Age has nothing to do with it.


Our baby stopped eating baby food at 8 months when she tried chorizo hummus at a wedding! She's loved "adult" food ever since. This week I tried your recipe for baked pasta with butternut squash and she loved it (we all did!)


honestly, i really appreciate this post. i'm trying so hard to teach my kids to expand their food horizons, and it drives me up the f'ing wall when other people balk at this... and it's surprising how many people do! my kid took dried figs in her lunch to school one day and had to explain to nearly all her other classmates what "those weird brown things" were. ugh.


cheers to you! I have a 10 month old that I'm hoping will adore a great expanse of food. Critter will be exposed to everything from delicious melt in your mouth toro, that she'll eat with me, to melt in your mouth cotton candy, that she'll eat with her pops, at the baseball stadium. She'll eat wholesome and organic with me and will be high fiving my husband whn I go for a weekend out of town because she'll know that it's time for chicken nuggets and spagetti-o's. I love the notion that there no difference between adult food and kid food.


My mom was one of those "you won't like it because I don't like it" parents - timid about food, as well as everything else in life.

This totally backfired on her - the minute she told me I wouldn't like something, I *had* to try it (and would pretend to like it, even if I didn't, just to prove her wrong!)

Needless to say, having this attitude foisted upon me as a child has made me, as an adult, a bit of a snob toward those parents who differentiate between "kid food" and "adult food." Particularly since what is considered kid food in our society is devoid of all nutritional value - it makes no sense to me.


I have never heard of such things in Sweden. Kid food. Adult food.
I have raised two sons, now grown-ups.

My grandchildren (3-14 years old) are also raised to taste everything. They don´t have to like it. They have to taste all kind of food. Otherwise they wouldn´t put a vegetable in their mouths.


I ate crappy food growing up. My reaction has been to create foodways in my home with my daughter that are about dancing in the kitchen and cooking together (and tasting everything as we go), eating at interesting restaurants carefully (we go at 5pm, when they first open and serious kid-free diners aren't there yet), and making grocery shopping a fun activity.

Today, in the produce aisle of the organic grocery, she happily named out every fruit and vegetable, plus the letter it starts with ("L is for leeks!") because her favorite book of the moment is an ABC illustrated beautifully by watercolor produce.

She's two and she eats anything. I can't fathom feeding her a "hot dog" off of a "children's" menu.


I am the product of a farming family who happens to also be lazy cooks and cheap too boot!

We ate what was available during the season and there is no way my mother would have cooked an "extra" meal of kid food for me. She certainly would not have spent money on prepared foods.

Now that I have a child of my own, I am proud to say that he eats from the family table. We really enjoy meals with him and like to expose him to new foods.

I lurk on your site and just love the content.


I had all of these grand plans for my son before he was born - he would eat what we ate and like everything we liked, and be willing to try anything once. And it happened, at least at first. But when he hit about 3 years old, all of the sudden he stopped liking what we liked, and developing his own special palate, which has an affinity for very plain foods. No butter, sauces, gravies. Nothing with seeds. The list goes on and on. I do still make him taste new foods, but for now, we pretty much stick to a chicken-based diet.

The thing that bothers me most about it is when other parents tell me "Oh my so-and-so loves blah-blah-blah, I'll bet your son would like it", as though I only offer my child 3 food items to choose from. I hope someday, he will again wish to expand his culinary horizons, but for now I will respect his palate, and continue offering new tastes without forcing the issue.


This so bothers me to read. My parents didn't let me eat a pb&j sandwich every night when I didn't like dinner. They forced me to taste everything they made, and finish my vegtables, even if it took three hours.

For my brother, he DID go off to college, have an indian roommate, and come home excited to tell us about indian food, and this spinoff of chinese food called sushi.

I never had that experience. My parents never ordered off a kids menu for us (though we would get kid-sized portions at The Ground Round).

My father was always cool with letting me order something new, even if that meant I tasted it, hated it, and wanted to send it back and order something else I knew I'd like - and that encouraged me to taste new things.

At family parties/holidays there were never tables with only kid food - the kids ate whatever was out that they wanted.

Growing up, my idea of a nice dinner was going to the fancy part of the pizza place, where lighting was low, they had white linen tablecloths and you could order chicken parm and get tortoni for dessert.

We didn't go to Really Nice restaurants because they're expensive and we didn't have a lot of money. Plus, I've never seen either of my parents eat indian food, though I think my dad tried sushi once.

Last fall when my parents were in SF and I asked them if they'd ever had japanese food my mother said no, and my father, after thinking for a bit, said "Yes, in the 80's, on my first trip to Hawaii."

I just don't want you to think that just because I'm a picky eater, my parents specifically catered to it, because they didn't (and I know that's not the point of your post). They truly encouraged me to try lots of things. I just happened to dislike most of them. :)


The comments here demonstrate a key point of childraising. You can try to raise your kids with a varied palate and end up with kids who eat anything or kids who are picky eaters. You can raise your kids on a diet of spaghetti and mac & cheese and end up with kids who eat anything or kids who are picky eaters.

Yes, your kids might be more likely to eat lots of foods if you encourage that, but try not to take too much of the credit or the blame for yourself. If your kid likes lots of foods, good for them! That is THEIR accomplishment, not yours. If you have a very picky kid, s/he will ultimately have to deal with the consequences of that, because again it is her/his problem, not yours!


Love this post!

I was a bit of a picky eater as a kid, my Mom didn't cater to it, but her meals weren't anything out of the ordinary for North America either. I thought I might encounter the same thing with my son, but so far I am blessed with a 15-month old who will try anything.

We usually go out for dinner once a week, and I love that I don't have to worry whether the restaurant has a kids menu or not when we choose our destination. I was actually perplexed when I took him to the Montana's chain last week, where I ordered for him from the kids menu for the first time. Dad was working, so I decided to go to a kid-friendly place as it was just me wrangling him that night. The kids menu actually looked too bland. Usually when we go out with Dad he just shares from both of our plates, but I thought I should offer him more than just my ribs and fries that night. Thank goodness they had pasta with actual tomato sauce. It was the last item on the kids menu, and tomato sauce was the last option (after, I believe, butter and cheese, and ketchup!). He gobbled up his pasta, any bit of ribs I gave him and the rice.

I suppose next time I should just look at the appetizers instead of the kids menu if I'm looking for a smaller portion size for my small fry.


Thank you for your comments so far. I'm happy to see so many parents raising their kids the same way even if they weren't raised like me. And, you've all given me so much to think about. Truly. Thank you.

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you have a beautiful children.. raising kids is hard, you need to be a perfect parents..

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