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My daughter, the foodie's kid

"Mama, your shallot things are falling!" giggled my daughter as she picked up the thin papery skins the wind had blown off the cutting board. I laughed out loud and said, "In my day, I would have called them onion skins." I was 20 before I knew what a shallot was. But she's right. She sees me use three times as many shallots as I do onions. Cracked me up.

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  1. Awww - does she eat like a chowpup too? (If she does you're EXTREMELY lucky - there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why a kid will or won't be adventurous and if you've got one - don't send her back!!)

    1. Children mimic their parents or other family/friends. If they're not exposed to someone who's a picky eater, I don't see how they could generally decide not to like "exotic" food if that's what they're used to. Children don't grow up in India deciding they only eat hamburgers. You should be able to pretty much shape a child's food preferences by the way you cook/eat.

      My mom used to buy Chinese, Indian,Korean, you name it when I was growing up. I didn't like discernible mushrooms, onions, or green peppers in food but loved lobster, spicy food,etc.
      My cousins on the other hand were served kraft mac n'cheese regularly and guess what...

      6 Replies
      1. re: fara

        Not necessarily. my parents were foodies and chowhounds my sister would mainly eat white food. Rice, eggs, chicken etc. She got etter as an adult but she was exposed to all sorts of foods which she turned her nose up at.

        1. re: Candy

          that means your parents served her "white food"

          1. re: fara

            We were give lots of choices and always had to try everything once. She made her choices and sometimes she went hungry.

        2. re: fara

          Candy's right, this really isn't the case and people that feel this way have obviously never had the experience of a seriously picky eater. Some kids - no matter WHAT they are exposed to -will not eat the more upscale preferences of the parents.
          One child I know started gagging and throwing up at anything he didn't like as a non-speaking toddler - what are you going to do with that child? Make him eat (and gag/vomit up) the foie gras or go hungry? It just doesn't work that way and if it has for you, you're lucky, as I said above. Forcing that child to have that sort of unpleasant experience would seem to create the antithesis of a chowpup.

          Also - two kids, same family, offered the same food might react to it completely differently. My brothers loved vegetables as kids and I (a supertaster) hated them. I wasn't being belligerent or rebellious, I honestly hated the taste. What are ya' gonna do?

          "picky eater" to many adults could be a super taster in the making - children have an EXTRAORDINARY number of taste-buds already (that lessen as we get older) and thus often don't like anything bitter or sour but love sweet and fatty and carb-laden (evolutionarily probably having to do with the need to take in lot's of calories). I was never 'exposed' to a picky-eater but I sure was one because certain foods tasted extremely unpleasant to me - many still do.

          1. re: krissywats

            exposing a child to a different cuisine once a week is different from abstaining from "child friendly" foods pushed by our culture, like white bread, pb& j, etc.
            my point is that children cannot ask for something they've never had, i.e. the child growing up in India is not going to prefer hamburgers.

            1. re: fara

              Children that can't speak can't ask for anything. But if they spit up or throw up or gag on everything you feed them, you are going to keep trying different foods until you find something that works. If that food ends up being white bread and chicken fingers - then as a good parent that is what you are going to give your child (while trying new foods once in a while, too) until they (hopefully) outgrow this stage.

        3. The kindergarten age kid of a foodie friend returned from school. Mom asked her what she had for lunch. "Sorbet," she said when she got to dessert. "Only they called it 'sherbet.'"

          As you can no doubt guess, the kid spent her childhood in upscale restaurants.

          1. Also, some are just born with "good buds". When my daughter was 5, I asked her if she thought the sauce I was making needed more lemon (never would have asked my marital unit--only ever says "needs more salt"!). She confirmed what I already knew--it did need a bit more lemon...

            1. I am blessed with a chowpup who's 12 and eats like his chowhound mama. He loved curries especially, and has tried and loved many foods that his peers simply won't even consider. From the time he was eating solid food I have always required him to taste what I make, he never has to like it and his tastes do not dictate our meals. Most of the time he really likes whatever new dish I made, and many have become his favorites. I love it when we go places and he eats items that makes peoples jaws drop. It's a great feeling!

              1. My younger son refused to eat more than a leaf or two of salad until one day (he was about five) when I had run out of powdered garlic and had used fresh. He ate his usual one leaf, and said, hey this is different, it's good, and then started eating salad (which I started making with fresh garlic all the time). He also discerned the difference between butter and butter blend (that half marg half butter stuff) about the same age. Now at 16 he nags me not to overcook the pasta, etc. I have no explanation, but I have told him he needs to learn to cook (which he is doing) if he wants to be happy with food after he no longer lives at home.

                1. My son, almost 10, is a great eater - a chowpup, I guess you'd say. He loves mussels, calamari, thai dishes, sushi, etc. His sister, almost 7, is a very bland and boring eater. She'd live on mac 'n cheese and sugared cereals if I let her. Both kids were exposed to lots of different foods growing up - my ex and I were adventurous eaters (food was one area where we were compatible!) :-)

                  So who's to say how food tastes develop, you know?

                  1. My mother was a great cook, but as an immigrant who couldn't speak/read English, only cooked Chinese food, and only from fresh ingredients (no - Alice Waters did NOT invent cooking fresh). I grew up loving everything exotic, and my brother grew up wanting only meat and potatoes - go figure. I've exposed my daughter to everything exotic, but she eats like her uncle, unless it's foie gras...

                    1. While I am very fortunate that my two sons will eat (or at least try) anything and have become true chowhounds...

                      I know someone who will not eat anything he has never tasted before! Not sure when that started, but it always makes me scratch my head in amazment. Sad, very sad.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SLO

                        My kid is a chowpup -- she'll always try new things and is willing to try things again that she once rejected (and often likes them). But I consider us lucky, not just smart in feeding her what we eat. I know a couple of kids with "sensory integration" issues, on the other hand, and they have a difficult time with different textures, unfamiliar foods, etc. It doesn't take much to trigger a gag reflex in these kids; their parents sometimes have to teach them how to chew and swallow. So kids who look like picky eaters may have more going on than meets the eye. I have an adult friend who will only eat what I consider "kids' food": pizza, chicken fingers, cookies, and not much else; I always wonder if he had some kind of sensory processing problem as a child that never got any attention.

                      2. You know, my beloved nephew, now a junior, phi beta kappa at a well known school in Boston was actually frightened of any new foods as a child. As I recall, he ate cheerios and milk, roasted chicken leg, doritos and occasionaly ramen. For his recent 21st birthday, having done his research, he requested a dinner at Taillevant (his mother lives in London). So you see things can change a lot.