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How did your Mom make food ... "Kid Friendly?"

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I am having some friends stay with me next week and they have 3 kids ... all VERY very picky eaters. One won't even look at a vegetable, one no meat, and one no chicken ... you get the picture.

Well, I always when I cook for kids try to get the kids in the kitchen so they can see what I am making for them. I usually don't cook special just for them but I may alter my main ingredient or dish for them a bit to accomodate the younger tastes.

I remember a friend that stayed with us during the summer hated hamburgers. My mom used to make a long skinny burger, like a hot dog, she loved it. Me. I was off chicken for a while, not sure why ... Mom used to mix it in meatloaf, meatballs, burgers, etc. I had a neighbor that I played with that hated fish. Mom used to make this funny BBQ Honey sauce and my friend ate it with her fish. I went through a non corn stage for a summer. Well it is absolutely my favorite vegetable but as a kid, I guess I went through a summer of no corn. Who knows why. Well, Mom made fritters, pancakes, fried patties, soups, creamed anything to use it up. We had a garden so had tons of corn.

Ok fun shaped foods, pancakes, donuts, bagles, sausage, fruits. Hot dogs cut with arms and legs and then cooked. Mom did grits on the plate that looked like mickey. Etc.

My mom also purred herbs in a sauce for some of my friends so they would eat them. No grant it ... At a certain age, you just either ate it or you went hungry. I still believe in that unless there is a medical reason not to eat the food. Everything should be tried at least once. I hate those who say ... I don't like that ... but never tried it.

My mom was lucky, I was easy, but some of our friends and their kids were not.

SO ... What Foods did your mom make or change to make them kid friendly??

  1. ummm....thinking...thinking....nothing. I can't remember ever not eating my food exactly the way my parents ate theirs. Maybe that's why I'll eat anything now.

    I have a cousin who says his child will only eat "Uncrustables" which I'm told are frozen pre-made peanut butter sandwiches. I just don't understand why people would let their children rule the house that way.

    9 Replies
    1. re: danna

      I went through a couple of short not this or that but for the most part anything went. I think the NON chicken summer was after I saw a barn burn down a neighbor and there were chickens in it. My mom still used chicken just disguised it for me for a couple of months.

      My corn faze, not sure why, Only lasted the summer, but it was mostly friends that were picky. Me. I made my son eat anything we ate. Somethings I was understanding on but most no. My son didn't rule my house and me not ours. Mom only cut me a little slack those 2 times. But with guests, it is a different story I think. I would do the same to a degree.

      1. re: kchurchill5

        Non Chicken Summer. I think you have a novel there.

        Yeah, guests are rough. I periodicaly have some adult guests that eat like children, so I'm feeling your pain, but it sounds like you did a great job with them.

        1. re: kchurchill5

          I had a non-cow summer too, after seeing a carcass sitting out in the hot sun on a nature field trip... oh, and there was the time my aunt let me name the calf, and then one year, there was no more Gus-Gus! Poor Gus-Gus! :-(

          At any rate, my mom definitely did the fun-shaped pancakes, and they always had chocolate chips for eyes. Either that, or silver dollar pancakes- great for dunking, if the kids are younger.

          One thing she did for me is she used to draw faces on eggs for when I helped with baking. She always had me crack the egg on the nose- worked like a charm!

          Make your own pizzas are always great too- they can get involved in the cooking and put whatever they want on their pizza. My dad used to make tortilla pizzas, which is even easier!

          1. re: Katie Nell

            I remember the pizza. My mom always laughed because I added broccoli and corn kernals to mine (the garden thing and all), lol.

            The eggs is a good trick

        2. re: danna

          My parents and grandparents were the same as yours--we ate what everyone else ate, whether we wanted to or not.

          1. re: danna

            Wow--we ate what the rest of the family ate from the time we were babies--fully salted, spiced, onions, garlic, you name it, we ate it. No negotiations, no discussions, but I don't remember there ever being an issue. Hungarian grandma was a great cook who exposed us to all kinds of stuff. We loved spinach, for example. I was so shocked to hear that a lot of kids here won't eat greens...

            1. re: foodslut

              Surprising, I can't believe how picky kids and some adults can be. Other than my 2 months of no chicken and my month of of onions. I'd eat most anything. Greens, I loved, garden and all. Picked everything right there and ate it. And to this day, NO liver but not much else, :)

              1. re: foodslut

                only thing I can think of is when my mom got me to eat spinach when I was about 5 by asking me if i didn't want to grow up to be strong like Popeye... I knew the song by heart so of course I had to eat my spinach but not out of a can like him!

              2. re: danna

                There were five kids in the family. My father was the food boss. My mother made what my father wanted. We ate what was put on the table. If we did not like it, which was rarely, we had the option of oatmeal AFTER the rest of the family ate. We still had to sit at the table.
                As such, we all have very healthy appetites and grew up trying anything. Passed that tradition down to my own kids and they have very healthy appetities as well.

              3. I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help because my mom wasn't interested in making things kid friendly. Even when we were very young. It was, as you said, eat it or go hungry. The ONLY thing I can remember my mom going out of her way to make more appealing to a young child was the first time she fed me bagels with lox and cream cheese. I remember being very suspicious about eating anything called "lox". I didn't even know what bagels were. (I was no more than three at the time.) I was all prepared to refuse to eat it and my mom handed me a bagel with a schmear and little pieces of lox that she had pulled apart and spread around the bagel. I was sold and ate it right up. I can still remember how good that bagel was. I actually think that was a major turning point in my life because from that point on I was always an adventurous eater. Who knows - if things had gone badly with that bagel I might have turned out to be an entirely different person, food-wise.

                3 Replies
                1. re: flourgirl

                  My daughter (now 4) eats everything, and she always did (although she is slightly more in tune with the "green stuff" like parsley in food).

                  At her last day of pre-school last year, there was a class breakfast, and when one of the mothers was giving my daughter a bagel with cream cheese, my daughter turned to the other mother "is there any lox?". Everyone thought that was a riot, but she was serious!

                  1. re: valerie

                    My son pops out with those. I'm so used to it I don't find it weird, but other people (especially grown-up picky eaters) sure do! Of course, to be perfectly fair, my little guy thinks smoked salmon should come on a sliced baguette topped with chopped red onion, capers and a sprinkle of lemon, since that's how my DH makes it.

                    1. re: valerie

                      My son ate everything until age 10, then changed ... School and friends, then greens, cheese and other stuff became wierd. He know is much better but a few years it was wierd. He was ok some times and other not. But overall a good eater and still is.

                  2. Good luck. I suspect you will have a trying time with these houseguests and their kids. Other moms I know employ a lot of ketchup. Maybe you could find a bottle of High Fructose Corn Syrup for cheap and douse everything with that.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: yamalam

                      The lol, says he won't eat chicken but he does. I've made it before for him. He just never knew. The other likes meat just doesn't like to eat it. I told him it was tofu, lol. The kids, I hide stuff. Pretty mean huh.

                      Or I make quesadillas with lots of stuff and everyone can make their own. I'm sure the kids may do cheese if that, lol.

                      Oh well. How about ketchup quesadillas, the kids may eat that. hehe.

                    2. Sorry - my mother was in the 'you eat what we eat' school and we had to try everything. So now I eat everything.

                      This brings up an interesting question - how many of our fellow foodies were indulged in their childish food issues and how many were not? Is there a relationship to their foodiness today? Did the children whose parents forced them to try everything and eat adult food grow up to have more adventurous tastes?

                      It's especially interesting to me since I have a 4 year old who gets whatever I serve - he doesn't always like it but he has to try it. We believe that will pay off for him (and us!) in the long run.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: lupaglupa

                        I am married to a man who is living proof that forcing a child to eat things will not result in more adventurous tastes in adulthood. My husband was forced into eating lots of things that his parents deemed healthy -- tuna fish (his father actually tried to sneak tuna fish into peanut butter sandwiches) and vegetables, etc. Now, at age 39, my husband would keel over and die before he would eat a salad or 99% of all fruits and vegetables.

                        I am lucky that my kids are good eaters but it is not always so cut and dry as "you eat what we eat". My niece (now 11) and my nephew (now 6) grew up with the same parents as each other in the same household as each other. My sister gives the same food to both kids (and same as she and her husband) and always did. My niece is somewhat adventurous and always has been. My nephew, on the other hand, is a HORRIBLE eater. I can't even go into all of his quirks when it comes to food, but it is a miracle if he takes 2 bites of anything at any given meal. My sister has tried every tactic in the book, just to get some calories into this kid. And telling him that he will have to go to bed hungry is no threat to him, he doesn't care. He is so skinny that he looks like he's walking around on 2 toothpicks for legs. There were times that she just threw a bag of M&M's at him because out of desperation, she felt that he needed to eat "something".

                        It's very easy to say what everyone else should do (and I used to criticize my sister too for letting him eat candy), but until a parent is living with it (or around it), some people have no idea how difficult some kids can be when it comes to food.

                        1. re: valerie

                          We were never forced to eat things and my son is not either. We were just told "this is dinner, you must at least try one bite before you say it is awful and reject it." If we did not like it we did not eat it - but then we had to eat more of other items or be hungry. Many times we found after we tried something that it wasn't so bad. My brother and I are now both very adventurous eaters who had expanded far beyond what we were served as children.

                          My son is almost 4. He eats very well - for that age - but still rejects many new items at first sight. We ask him to try it and then allow him to leave the rest. He gets no second option (i.e. we don't get up and get him a PBJ if he rejects the main item for dinner). If he's hungry then before bed he gets a healthy snack of his choice.

                          I'm not judging how others choose to feed their children, just saying that this is what worked for me and is working (so far) with my son. And I wonder if one could see a relationship in the Chowhound community between parents getting children to try everything rather than letting them eat the same food and their later adult interest in food. It seems many of the people responding to this thread were not given the choice at dinner in their families to eat only things they liked.

                          1. re: lupaglupa

                            I still, to this day, hate cornstarch, bun xao, liver and onions, liverwurst. Even when I make pate I can't eat the liver until it's blended with everything else (tried it sauteed a few days ago and then gave it to either the very happy cat or dog). Still trying.

                            I may not have been given a choice growing up, and it likely influenced my desire to try everything at least once. When we have children, they'll be given what we eat, pureed when tinier, as was true for my parents. My husband and I discussed this recently, and there will be some issues that will arise after the kids start eating at other people's houses (or seeing what others eat in the lunchroom), but coddling to the point of making things difficult? No. Even when I'm following a "detox" diet, my husband is free to salt his food and use whatever condiments he chooses. The same is true when I have vegans at the table. There's plenty of things to eat and be happily satiated with. Food should never be torture, and that is something I hope to pass on.

                            1. re: lupaglupa

                              I was required to try everything once if it was on my plate. If I didn't like it, I had the option to make myself a PB and J. When I was old enough, I was also encouraged to be part of the shopping and planning of meals. I never found my way into liking most foods with creamy textures as a kid, but did learn to appreciate what it took to produce dinner and to give food "the benefit of the doubt" as my mom would put it.

                              1. re: lupaglupa

                                Lupaglupa, I didn't mean to imply that you were judging, but many people always seem to have something to say on this topic of getting kids to eat. I am constantly cooking different foods because I refuse to have my kids eat chicken nuggets or the like all the time. But again, I am lucky in that my kids will try anything (ages 2 and 4). Most are hits, some are misses, but I am constantly giving them new and different things. I never have to worry about a restaurant having a "kids menu" becuase I can always find something to order for them.

                                But I do believe that luck plays a part. My sister would go to ends of the earth to make something that my nephew will eat, and she's always trying new things, but in general, it is painful to sit at a table with him. We are a "food family" and nobody can understand how this kid has NO interest in food!

                                1. re: valerie

                                  Yes, Valerie, you are right. While it is important for parents to make an effort to expose their children to healthy food, a child's willingness to try is also a function of personality -- just like some children sleep longer hours, are quieter or more rambunctious, etc. And, a child's willingness to try new things is also tied to development. Kids go through a phase -- what we often call "the terrible 2s" -- when they become contrary; it's part of their becoming individuals. My son was a very adventurous eater up until he was about 30 months, and then became much more limited in what he would eat -- although we tried to be sure what he ate was healthy, there wasn't much variety. One thing parents should realize is that children eventually emerge from this developmental stage and become more willing to try new things. In his case, it was when he was about 5. I think that too many parents think that their kids' pickiness is a permanent trait and give up after a few years in trying to expand what they eat.

                                  1. re: valerie

                                    I totally understand what valerie is saying b/c my husband had to eat what he was served, whether he liked it or not...it by no means made him more adventurous as an eater. He likes what he likes, and there are many foods he was forced to eat as a child that he will not go near today. I know other people like this as well. I think encouraging your kids to try things is always good, but i think genetics, and yes, to some extent food experimentation, play a role in determining what foods we like to eat.

                                  2. re: lupaglupa

                                    "We were just told 'this is dinner, you must at least try one bite before you say it is awful and reject it'."

                                    Eeek. In our house, no one is allowed to say something is awful, unless the cook makes a comment first. That's just bad manners. :-)

                                    I do encourage my 5-year-old daughter to try new things, but I'm fine with a "no, thank you" if she doesn't want to. For the most part, she will eat anything - she's a fan of artichokes, radishes, all sorts of vegetables (it helps that we have a big garden and she likes to pick peas and beans and herbs etc for dinner) and will almost always try new things. She even surprised us last summer by trying escargot - even after she knew it was snails! :-)

                                2. re: lupaglupa

                                  "This brings up an interesting question - how many of our fellow foodies were indulged in their childish food issues and how many were not? Is there a relationship to their foodiness today?"

                                  I could never bear even the smell of cooked green beans or cooked bell peppers, all my life. I remember sitting at the table as a fairly small child (4 - 5 years?) in front of me a plate w/ cold canned green beans. My mother was making it clear that I was going NOWHERE til the beans were gone. And she wasn't falling for some amatuer move, like leaving the room and giving me the chance to slip them into the garbage. I was not the eldest, lol.

                                  When the inevitable gag reflex kicked in, I was informed that VOMITED green beans would also be required to be eaten. That made my spine straighten and my efforts certainly improved in sincerity, because I got them down, through silent tears.
                                  I know this will sound just horrible to all these gently reared folks I see on here, but I am laughing as I remember. Poor Mom. She was not very happy much of the time. That's what I remember more than my discomfort. How unhappy she was.

                                  ANYWAY, I still hate cooked green beans and smelling them up close can make me gag.
                                  I didn't force my kids to eat hated foods and they were were never very picky. At our house, if you don't like what's being served, make your own dinner according to your skill set. Anything from milk and cereal to whatever's available. But not taking the ingredients for another planned family dinner, of course.
                                  I love strange foods and try everything; my kids are the same way. No food stress at all, unless it's because we tend to grow fat!

                                  1. re: weewah

                                    "At our house, if you don't like what's being served, make your own dinner according to your skill set. Anything from milk and cereal to whatever's available."

                                    I LOVE that!!! Doesn't get much less stressful than that. :)

                                    1. re: weewah

                                      Same thing happened to me as a kid with spinach (I actually did gag it back up and was forced to eat it)... but I don't laugh as I remember!

                                      I read a CH post recently where someone approvingly said that when they were a kid, if they didn't eat something, they were served the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until they finally ate it, and now they eat everything. I just couldn't do that to my kid. I mean, I have foods that I don't like as an adult, and I would be pretty upset if I were forced to eat a big plate of bananas and brussels sprouts drenched in mayo. It doesn't seem fair to feed my kid the equivalent, even if I feel he's being picky. I'm confident that over time he will eat a wider range of foods, and I tell him that it's normal for people to start liking different types of foods as they get older. I'm with you on the "no food stress" philosophy.

                                      1. re: Pia

                                        I admit that it can get frustrating at times dealing with a child who seems to be refusing to eat something for no good reason other than they can. For instance, for the longest time, my son, who's 9, has refused to eat cheese of any kind. Which would actually be OK with me - except that he's FINE with it when it's on pizza. He's also always loved fresh mozzarella and tomato salad. So I would get frustrated because it seemed more like a control issue than an actual taste/texture etc. issue. (And I'm not talking about stinky/oozy cheeses either. Love them but I wouldn't necessarily expect a kid to.)

                                        But for the most part I've let it go and accomodated him, because otherwise he's an excellent eater. And I have noticed over the last year or so that he is really loosening up on his food "no's". (His other ones were mayo and peanut butter.) For the most part, he's actually a very adventurous eater for his age and a joy to go out to dinner with.

                                        I'm glad I took the low-stress approach to dealing with food issues with my son.

                                    2. re: lupaglupa

                                      My parents themselves are not very adventurous eaters. As someone without children, I find it hard to understand why children's tastes should not be "indulged", when in fact every meal "indulges" the tastes of the parents. There were a lot of foods I'd never tried as a child because my parents didn't like them (or were afraid to try them). Things that had never been consumed at family dinners (at home or in restaurants) by the time I moved out at eighteen include Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, most of the spices and seasonings that go with those three cuisines, zucchini, bell peppers, brown rice, winter squashes, broad beans, tofu, bananas (!), apples (!), lentils, spinach... the list could go on. When my brother was about eight he went to someone's house and was served a green salad, and he asked, "What's that green stuff?" (Lettuce.) Every meal was a chance for my parents to eat what they loved (namely, big steaks, chicken, potatoes and frozen vegetables!), and my brother and I never really had a chance to learn what WE loved because our diets were so limited.

                                      1. re: Jetgirly

                                        This was true in my home as well. My mom's a good cook - and at times, an excellent cook. But she intensely dislikes Indian and Mexican food and their respective seasonings, so I never tasted any of these foods until I was much older and tried them at other people's homes. I LOVE Indian and Mexican food - as well as the food of many other cultures that I wasn't exposed to as a child..

                                        My mother always claimed she dislikes those foods because she wasn't raised with them - but than I always point out that I wasn't either and I enjoy them immensely. (I know my mother wonders at times where exactly it is that I came from....)

                                        But I will also say that even though I had a somewhat limited diet at home, my parents took my brother and I out to eat a lot at good restaurants and they always encouraged us to be adventurous. So, for example, even though my mother thinks escargot are disgusting, I tried them when I was about 9 or 10 and discovered I loved them. So I guess I still have my parents to thank for being the adventurous eater I am today, even though they weren't so much. (In fairness, I'd say it's more my mom with the serious food limitations - my dad was much more adventurous and could indulge himself as well when we went out to eat.)

                                        1. re: Jetgirly

                                          What children get fed is often a budgetary issue, not one of refusing to "indulge" one's children.

                                          My family was off and on poor when I was young. We ate what was cheap, and we didn't get to refuse to eat something just because we didn't like how it looked to us. If we at at least two bites of it and determined we couldn't stand it, my parents wouldn't force it on us, but we had to at least TRY everything, and if we could stomach it, it was better to eat it. Of course, when you're really hungry and there's no other real options in the house, you eat it. Fortunately where I grew up, the cheap stuff was chicken, not tripe.

                                          When we were doing well financially, my parents were able to buy treats more often, or better cuts of meat, or take us out more often.

                                      2. My mom used to put out little dishes of sauce to dip food in. We dipped broccoli and chicken into italian dressing. Somehow it was more exciting to dip each piece of food into something and then eat it.

                                        I also HATED fish as a kid. My mother would put my piece of fish in a separate pan and let me put whatever I wanted on it. It seemed more palatable that way. I put colored sprinkles on my flounder and mint and sugar on my salmon. Now I just won't eat fish unless it's raw in sushi.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                          that is what my mom did for a friend of mine who ate with us often. Sometimes we had fried usually because it was pearch or bass and she would make this cool spicy spicy ketchup BBQ stuff. She got to dip it that way. I used to give my son honey or ranch to dip fruits, veggie etc. I forgot about that.

                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                            VERY good idea for the original poster. Most kids love to dip.

                                            1. re: Mawrter

                                              Vanilla yogurt and honey for fruit, ranch and others for veggies warm or cold, honey for chicken or BBQ, Even Thai or chimmichurri for pork or steak, lots of things. DIP anything.

                                              Hey us adults love to dip too!!

                                          2. She didn't. Each of us (the kids) had our own tastes, and if we didn't want something, we had something else to eat that she had made.

                                            1. Mom was cooking a special dinner for me, my best friend and her 4 or 5 year old son. She carefully planned the menu to have what she thought would be kid-friendly. She had chicken, a jello salad and a concoction that she called gnocchi. It was really cream of wheat and cheese baked into a casserole dish and carefully cut out the squares. Little boy kept telling his mom that he did not want to try it. He finally took a bite and promptly threw up into the plate!

                                              That boy is now a gourmet cook and looks for as many unusual ingredients as he can get his hands on!

                                              1. I guess my mom always for the most part made me eat what she was cooking and other than my 2 summers of wierd dislikes I ate just about anything. But she did try to make it fun for me so I never hated food. When she made asparagus she would take a scallion and tie it around my asparagus or wrap a piece of zuchinni around it. It made it fun. Or even a tempura and then dips for them. We had cucumber salad with a sour cream dressing alot .. we had to eat all those tomatoes and cucumbers somehow. Well I when I was little didn't like sour cream, but I loved the tomatoes and cucumbers, so she just gave me a little bowl of them. I guess I had a cool mom and while I love food so much. She made it fun but still made me try things and I learn to enjoy food rather than hate it. A good friend of mine grew up with having to try everything and either eat it or not. To this day he is the worst eater I know. His wife had similar growing up experiences. Neither of them are good eaters and therefore the kids are the same. I think that really influences how we eat.

                                                1. I am a behavior analyst who works with children with autism who are notorious for being extremely particular about what they will and will not eat. I also have worked with recovering anorexics who tend to also have strict rules about food.
                                                  One trick that has helped is to do a semi deconstruction of a menu item. For example I'll explain (or show) the ingredients of say a turkey sandwich and ask Johnny to make something completely different with the same ingredients. So lettuce, tomatoes, turkey and cheese might get shredded and diced into a salad while the bread is toasted for croutons (this is a great skill building task by the way!) Next, we might have a theme day, which the child chooses to ensure optimum success (this is key, but must be within reason of course). An example might be pizza day or smoothie day (you can have savory smoothies like chilled soups!), or everything on the BBQ day. I have had higher success with assemble-your-self meals. Regardless of the ingredients (within reason again, of course), young people tend to do well when they make it themselves. Lastly, with both groups, but especially recovered anorexics, it can be helpful to give them three hate foods that they will not ever be asked or forced to eat, but other than that, anything goes. I hope this helps! Lastly, don't cave too much, as I'm sure you know. To me, this is actually the most important. The last thing we want to do is help cultivate picky eaters. In the spirit of The Field of Dreams...If you cook it, they will come!

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: enbell

                                                    Good point. I guess that is why I always let the kids cook with me so they can see everything or put things seperate so they can put them together like you said. Well said. I think that helps non adventurous eaters, even adults

                                                    1. re: enbell

                                                      I was just talking about a friend whose son won't eat anything that isn't white.

                                                      1. re: enbell

                                                        Hi Enbell
                                                        Let me second your comment re: kids with autism. I have a 6 year old grandson with autism that will not eat anything but soft pretzels for breakfast, popcorn and perhaps a poptart for lunch and either chicken nuggets and french fries or pizza for dinner. He will not drink milk and hasn't since he was about maybe three. He will on occasion, eat a little ice cream (low fat). I have no idea where he's getting his calcium. I have made sure he drinks as much water as possible. Any good books or advice other that above you can think of??
                                                        (Please, no comments about "just misbehaviour" or advice from anyone who has not experienced autism first hand. Thanks)
                                                        Bob

                                                        1. re: SonyBob

                                                          A friend of mine has a younger sister who was thought to be autistic. The girl would barely eat. She worked with a food therapist, who really helped. Maybe that can help your grandson?

                                                          1. re: SonyBob

                                                            For the sake of preserving the intent of this thread, I'd be happy to help via email. I have added my address to my profile page! I look forward to our correspondence :)

                                                        2. My mom used to make french fry houses for me to eat. I must have been really little because I can barely remember it, but I remember more the happy feeling that her doing it gave me, if that makes sense?. She used to have celery and carrot sticks for me for snacks, and no architecture was required for me to scarf them up. I loved milk, and would drink it like water when I got thirsty, so I don't think she or my grandmothers worried too much about me. I did not like eggs after I got a bit older so my mom would make me a breakfast shake with a raw egg in it and I didn't know til she told me later. I still refused cooked eggs until I stayed at a friend's house and her and her sister put catsup on their scrambled eggs. I tried that and found them tolerable. For many years I would get breakfast with my mom and give her the egg over easy from my breakfast special at the diner and just enjoy the other stuff, (toast, meat, homefries) but finally I learned to enjoy eggs. I got egg foo yong at a chinese restaurant and went nuts over it. My mom informed me later (timing is key) that it was mostly egg. So now I like eggs a lot. I also learned to like broccoli from having broccoli in stir fry. For small children I have had success serving broccoli florets raw with other raw veggies and having them pretend they are giants and the broccoli florets are trees. Chomp!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                            Broccoli ... little Trees!! I remember that. And french fry houses ... I used to make houses out of my waffles like the movie First Kiss with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I really did. Bacon was the chimney. I remember it well.

                                                          2. The main thing I remember is that my mom didn't cook with mushrooms until my brother and I were teenagers. I recall one time when she tried mushrooms in a dish when my brother was around nine years old, and it did not go over well. At all. I remember that she would top lots of things with cheese, or serve a cheese sauce on the side for he and I to dip vegetables. We also kept bottled dressings, which are notoriously sweet, for easing down the vegetables. Other than that, I remember that she'd make things in smaller portions, like meatballs, pancakes, cut sandwiches, etc. so that no food was difficult to handle or overwhelming on the plate. But, there were very few foods I refused to eat, and she gave us free reign in the kitchen quite frequently. We also grocery shopped and gardened with the family, and were included in meal planning. The only time I remember having limited choices was when we ate in restaurants.

                                                            1. Was I the only one who grew up in a non-traditional family? My mom never cooked at all. She worked and expected my dad to have dinner on the table by 6:00 PM, except on the nights she worked late. I don't remember my dad doing anything to make the food kid friendly. Well, there was green milk on St. Patrick's day.

                                                              However, I used to make octopi hot dogs for my son. You cut them in half crosswise and then cut the halves vertically almost to the end, turn and make another cut. (Easier to do than to describe.) When boiled, the legs curl up. Four legged octopi, I know, but still, he liked 'em.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                                My mom worked 8-6 every day except summers. Even during the year she cooked. Always a hot meal every night. And a hot meal before school. I do that as well. Dad when married I was for 20 years worked too 50 hours plus. Police. Swat and Detective. I always had to flexible, willing to change in a minute but dinner was always hot every night. Probably not by 6, but it was. I had my sons friends stop over, late guest friends of my ex. etc. lots of changes. My Dad never cooked, never cooked anything other than chicken on the grill. So Mom did it all. Maybe how I learned. It was family time and she tried to make it fun and interesting and made sure we enjoyed food cuz she thought that was family time that shouldn't be forgotton. I agree to this day. My Dad now cook and is very good, Even my ex cooks. And my son is learning and doing well at it.

                                                              2. A friend's mother made green scrambled eggs as a nod to Dr Seuss--friend is still traumatized. Me--being of Flemish, Castilian and Japanese heritage, ate tongue, sushi and artichokes at an early age. One thing I did not eat until an adult was cold butter.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: whs

                                                                  Hahah! The only thing my dad could make is eggs! Before my mom became disabled, my dad was in charge of my breakfasts (we're talking early elementary) and is famous for his green eggs made with grape jelly. According to him, I had a standing request for those when I was six for a few months. Then I graduated onto toad-in-a hole.

                                                                  1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                    My Dad not too far from the egg thing, Grilling was about it for him. He is now a very good cook and takes care of my mom who is ill. Not gourmet, but pretty good regardless.

                                                                2. Feeding a family of seven meant you ate what she made, and it was always good!
                                                                  Actually, I was only slightly picky. Mom never made me 'something else' and we didn't play with our food and build things. She did omit things for me (no celery or onions in my tuna sandwich, and I ate most of my macaroni with butter and parm ONLY until I turned 7. If I expressed EXTREME dislike for the meal, I was told to take one bite, and if I did not want to continue eating I just sat until I was excused. There was always usually salad, and bread on the table that acted as filler.
                                                                  Daddy on the other hand would take a pancake, an egg cut in half and a piece of sausage to make funny faces for his girls. I believe it was also on the menu.

                                                                  1. Wow, what a pain in the neck! If I were you, I wouldn't cater to the kids. I would cook what the adults like, offer it to the kids, and if they don't like it, they can have a peanut butter sandwich. My kids grew up eating artichokes and all sorts of things, and they still eat all sorts of things. My motto is "Fear No Food". So anyway, about these kids, you don't need to be mean, but you also don't need to cave in to their little power trips. When they get hungry enough or tired enough of peanut butter, they'll eat your food.
                                                                    Or you can just let their parents deal with it. But me, I have no patience with it. And now my daughter's boyfriend and his family take her out for Dim Sum in places where the menu is only in Chinese -- last week she had fish-stomach soup, and she's eaten beef heart. Good for her!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                      I still make them eat why we are I just try to make the same thing a bit more kid friendly for them. I'm not talking teens, I'm talking young kids. Just make adult food fun so get a change to learn to like it. I wouldn't make them peanut butter and jelly or something different. I'll just alter something a bit so it makes it food friendly. Subtle little changes that take no time but a little love to make things a bit more enjoyable for kids. Moms special sauce for me with veggies or maybe eggs with olives for eyes, or pancakes with chocolate chips for eyes and a smile. That is love not work. I still sat down for dinner and other than my two crazy summers when I was more picky and even then I think I always ate everything Mom prepared. But she was always thoughful making stuff more friendly.

                                                                      My friends coming, they are company so it is different, family, they eat what I make

                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                        My go-to plan would probably be to have plenty of bread or pasta available-- most kids will eat that. Keep some of the main ingredients kind of "plain" to the side so they can have that if they want. Other than that it is really hard to figure out exactly what will satisfy everyone. You really can't win.

                                                                    2. My mom had a three bite rule. You had to eat three real bites of each part of the meal before you could say you didn't like it.

                                                                      The only thing she did to make things more palatable for kids was I got "special chili", she scooped a bowl full out of the pot for me before the spices went in, because I hated how spicy everyone else liked their chili.

                                                                      Otherwise, you ate what was put in front of you, or went without.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: tzurriz

                                                                        My mom would of given me the same chili, but maybe used a small roll and put some chili in it for me. Small portion different presentation or let me fix it. Same but something I liked.

                                                                      2. My friend has two kids, ages 3 and 4. They're not really picky, but food doesn't hold their attention for long. When I feed them, I we spread a few elbow noodles on the table and make rainbow shapes, circles, hearts, whatever they "see" in the shapes. With carrot sticks and celery sticks, we build towers (think Lincoln Logs) and use broccoli as a "flag" at the top. They then eat the veggies from the top down dipping them into salad dressing or peanut butter. A favorite of theirs is colored peppers. Red, yellow, green, orange, even purple- give them a bag of chips or peppers and they'll choose the peppers.

                                                                        1. The only concession to kids that my mom ever made was to put sliced red onions 'on the side' for salad. We had to eat everything as was prepared.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                            My mom would make me make my own salad. Take it from the bowl but then I was allowed to put my own dressing on and to move what I didn't like to the side. Back when I was young it only usually just onions till I was about 11. Since then I love them. But my friend who ate we me often when have a plate lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Then if I put anything to the side ... Mom would make me eat at least 1 of them. Soon I never had onion on the side. Other than a couple of dislikes, mom had it made for me. However she still always made food fun when I was little. Maybe why I tried everything.

                                                                            I remember carrots of skewers, broccoli on a toothpic stuck on top of my chicken. Same food they ate, it just made it fun for young kids.

                                                                          2. I don't really remember what my mom did, how lame is that?

                                                                            But, here's what I do:
                                                                            I allow components to be separate. I leave sauces on the side, especially for pasta. Recently, I did a huge dinner for preschoolers and their families. I made a soup/stew, fish, pasta with roasted cauliflower, salad, fruit, challah, hummus and carrots. I made sure that everything was available in its component form, which allowed people to decide for themselves which parts work for them. This went very well, and I was surpised that some kids ate all the elements, and some ate just plain pasta, bread and fruit.

                                                                            At home, the primary accomodation I make is to make extra vegetables. If someone doesn't like the main dish, they can eat sides (usally a veggie, a fruit, sometimes an extra carb). Kids are also welcome to get a yogurt from the fridge. But, I'm always willing to add an extra veggie to the table to ensure that each child eats at least one serving of vegetables at every meal.

                                                                            1. My mother woudn't make us eat something we didn't like, but she was adamant that she wasn't making anything else. However, we were free to do so if we liked. The only catch was the she never bought preprocessed foods, so, if we wanted to call her bluff, we had to make everything from scratch and clean up the mess afterward. So...we just ate whatever was for dinner.

                                                                              Consequently, although I certainly take people's tastes into consideration when I plan meals for visitors, I don't necessarily cater to people by making separate meals for the kids or prepare something I wouldn't enjoy for the sake of adults who I've deemed "childish eaters." For example, adults who will only eat at restaurants that serve chicken tenders and fries and claim they are "allergic" to vegetables.

                                                                              1. This is not my mother's "trick," but mine: Instead of inviting the children into the kitchen to identify the foods they like, invite them into help you cook: the surest way to get a kid to eat carrots is to ask him/her to peel them for you. If they are invested in the preparation, they will try the food. And, if they are hungry while they are helping you prep, they will nibble on raw cabbage, brocolli, carrots, etc.

                                                                                1. In our family, we ate everything that mom cooked. Luckily she's a great cook. Even my cousins who hate fish, loved the fish my mom makes. My mom's rule was I eat what was there. If I didn't I couldn't have anything else. Even the next day, I would have to eat it before I had anything else.

                                                                                  Partly I think it's our culture. We were taught to accept anything given to us and have to eat it as a respect to who ever gave it to us, usually an elder. In many ways it's been a blessing as I enjoy various types of food and will try almost anything.

                                                                                  1. In a way, it does not matter what you do - it matters what the expectations of these kids parents are, because that is what has formed the kid's attitude. Ive they have been taught to eat what they are served because its good manners when you are a guest you are in luck. My experience is that most American kids arent taught that anymore and it can be almost impossible to please picky kids (chicken may not be specific enough - they may only like it one way or one texture, for example. Be prepared to have the kids reject your food (tho the may also love everything, too.
                                                                                    So - your objective is to keep them from starving and maybe give them some pleasant surpriseshave a lot of bread/rice etc around, plain food that kids will eat. even if they dont eat the main dish. For example we can get great bread in NY and my sisters kids would always chow down on that on their annual visits even if they didnt eat much else. Have PB, bananas, clementines, carrot sticks, maybe some plain cheese, plenty of milk and juice. If all else fails, there is always pizza, or pasta meals which kids normally like but above all dont bend yourself out of shape over this. You will not be forming either their behaviour or food taste in a short visit and they will not starve.

                                                                                    1. Wow... I guess my experience was way different. The only concessions we ever got when we were kids were: two different pots of chili, one with hot spices, one without (for me).

                                                                                      I got special kids TV dinners on nights when we had a babysitter and Mom and Dad were going out for dinner.

                                                                                      Otherwise, Mom making things "kid friendly" consisted of putting the food on the table and telling us to eat. If we didn't eat it, then 1) we couldn't have any dessert and 2) we weren't allowed to snack on anything later if we were hungry.

                                                                                      We weren't rich during most of my childhood, and both of my parents worked full time and then some. There wasn't time, resources, or parental energy left after they hauled us around to my brother's games or my concerts/plays for them to be making special efforts on the food front.

                                                                                      That being said, my parents were both good cooks. We had primarily relatively bland (to my memory) midwestern foods. They were good, flavourful, and I liked them, just not spicy like how I like things now. Chili was the spiciest thing we ever ate.

                                                                                      Probably the most "exotic" thing (remember, this was the midwest during the 70s) was my mother's oyster dressing at Thanksgiving. She'd always go out and buy a special tub of oysters just before, so they'd be as fresh as possible (which, of course, in Indiana/Michigan/Iowa, isn't really that fresh). And on New Years she'd have oyster stew (which, as I recall, was cream, milk, salt, pepper, butter, and oysters).

                                                                                      Otherwise it was pork chops, liver and onions, pork roast, fried chicken, baked chicken, roast beef, and loads of potatoes or other things that could be cooked up quickly after a hard day at work.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Morganna

                                                                                        We had the same oyster stew (70's in S.C.) and as I recall , my dad would put crackers and ketchup in it. Which reminds me.....I think my Mom did more trickery w/ my Dad than with me!! He grew up with separate dressing w/ no celery in it, so my Mom would just chop the celery so fine he couldn't detect it. I remember the wide eyes around the holiday table once when my grandmother spilled the beans... "Where's Dan's dressing? This one has celery in it!" Mom taught him to eat mushrooms in more or less the same way...tiny dice growing larger over the years.

                                                                                        1. re: Morganna

                                                                                          Oyster pie is similar to oyster stew, with the addition of half-and-half and saltines. :)

                                                                                        2. We always ate what was given to us and I'm lucky because my mom is a fabulous cook. But about your dilemma - what I've discovered about kids that are picky eaters is this; kids will often eat things they don't eat at home at someone else's house, so you might be pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't stress over this at all but I can appreciate your concern. When kids are hungry they'll eat, if there's peanut butter and jelly around and cereal with milk they can have that. It sounds as though their parents will be with them so you'll be somewhat off the hook

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: charlieboy

                                                                                            I only have them three days and the adults are worse then the kids :)

                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                              Somehow I just *knew* this to be true!

                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                  We do feel for you! I'm sure they're lovely people, otherwise. . . .

                                                                                          2. kids can be made easy by not buying into the picky-ness.

                                                                                            1) serve children very small portions (it's far better for them to ask for seconds than to overwhelm them).

                                                                                            2) don't serve too many new foods at once.

                                                                                            3) do not try to push or cajole. Just be very matter of fact with "this is what we're having".

                                                                                            4) if the child doesn't want to eat -- do NOT make an issue of it. Pick up their plate, put plastic wrap over it and put it in the fridge.

                                                                                            5) when they come back and announce that they're hungry then bring out the plate, warm the food and give it to them with a pleasant smile. If they say they don't want it -- then repeat the process. Eventually they will eat it or just skip the meal. They won't die of starvation if they skip a meal and you won't be "mean" for not becoming their caterer.

                                                                                            6) after the above happens a few times and they realize that they won't get special dispensation and control you and get special attention via their diet, they'll give up and eat like anyone else.

                                                                                            Think of it as raising a new generation of non-foodophobes. :)

                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: karmalaw

                                                                                              This may be an appropriate strategy for a parent. The OP's inquiry, however, related to serving as a host for other people's children, whose parents will also be present. Regardless of how picky the children are, it's not the host's role to take over these kind of parenting/ discipline issues.

                                                                                              I think Charlieboy has it right. As a host, you are not required to load up on junk food just to please children who have unhealthy attitudes to food. But you should be willing to make some accomodations. Keep some PB&J, cereal, fruit, and other healthy snacks around and offer them if the kids will not eat what is otherwise offered.

                                                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                                                Actually, I think it is up to the parents to bring what they think they will need and be the ones to decide if alternate foods are offered. Unless the OP regularly serves odd and unusual foods that the children would most likely never touch and the parents are forewarned, they may have to suffer through a meal until mom and dad go make their kiddie supply run.

                                                                                                1. re: karmalaw

                                                                                                  I dont agree with this except as a last resort - kids need to learn to accept hospitality and eat what they are served to be a good guest. If their parents are willing to provide them different food it takes the emphasis off the desired social behavior and back on catering to the child. Sure, if the kid needs infant food or something really special they need it, but in the realm of ordinary eating, Id let them learn.

                                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                    exactly. My point was that the host/hostess shouldn't be the one to ply them with alternate foods. If it has to happen, let it be the parents' problem.

                                                                                                    1. re: karmalaw

                                                                                                      I agree. I would not get into the middle of whatever power trip is happening between the parents and the kids. If you offer the kids the food you've cooked, and they reject it, don't say anything other than "okay". If the parents want to step in and talk to the kid, fine. But don't make yourself crazy.

                                                                                                2. re: masha

                                                                                                  One, I would never do junk food, I would just try to make what everyone is eating maybe more interesting but laying it out or making it kid friendly. Not my kids and they are guest so I'm trying to please all. The adults however are almost worse then the kids ... so I'm trying to make food that appeals to all as guests I think it is ok to do that. Is it just us. Different if it was a large crowd. I would never give the kids junk food to make them happy but trying to make my chicken appeal to them by having them help and make their own plates and serving what I would normall serve on one platter seperate so everyone can take what they want. Simple tricks to make people feel like they don't have to eat something but may want to try it.

                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                    "Regardless of how picky the children are, it's not the host's role to take over these kind of parenting/ discipline issues"

                                                                                                    My sister had a hair raising experience when a little pal (age 9) of her daughters who was a guest at a birthday party sleepover. Susie calculated how much pizza for so many kids and grown-ups, and when it was served this little gal got a piece, pulled the cheese and toppings off and ate them alone. She licked the crust off, dropped it to the side and reached for another piece.

                                                                                                    Susie stopped her. She explained that she had to finish her pieces before moving on to the next one as the pizza was for everyone. That if the pizza wasn't good, that she could have a sandwich. The kid gave her an evil look. She thought that as she was "company" (yes we're in the south) no-one would dare correct her. She liked the pizza whole as well
                                                                                                    I think Susie was right. Blatant rudeness deserves to be confronted in a reasonable manner.
                                                                                                    Of course no kid who is distressed at the prospect of eating a hated food should be expected to choke it down. Kids need respect too!

                                                                                                    1. re: weewah

                                                                                                      I can understand food preferences and not liking something....however I have little tolerance for food waste like you just described.

                                                                                                      1. re: weewah

                                                                                                        Oh, boy, this reminds me of something I did. Same scenario -- birthday party, cheese pizza, but the kid in question was ripping through the pieces of pizza and not eating the crust. Not just the crust, but even the part *close* to the crust. By the time I got to the table, there were 8 crusts on her plate (like 1/3 of each piece). I told her she had to eat what was on her plate before she took any more pizza. She cried. I felt badly, but only a little bit. It may have been a cousin, come to think of it.

                                                                                                      2. re: masha

                                                                                                        "The OP's inquiry, however, related to serving as a host for other people's children, whose parents will also be present."

                                                                                                        All right, I hadn't realized that.

                                                                                                        With my own kids, festive occasions were all about good manners and enjoyment. ALL food rules were suspended. This even extended to restaurants, where (at least when they were toddlers) the kids were too distracted by the entertaining environment and OMG ALL THESE NEW PEOPLE TO FLIRT WITH to eat more than a few bites. So, when they're guests at someone's house, they can eat what they like so long as they don't impose on the host.

                                                                                                        I treat other people's children the same way at my house: as guests. "Yes, we're having tofu with eggplant. Yes, I know it's weird. Have some more pilaf and fruit salad. Sure, you can have peach pie with the rest of us."

                                                                                                        1. re: gentlyferal

                                                                                                          This is a very sensible approach. :)

                                                                                                      3. re: karmalaw

                                                                                                        How about the big ones ... adults. I think the kids are better. They are really really bad. Luckily my family never like that, but they are only here a short while.

                                                                                                      4. I don't think our parents ever had to make anything kid friendly. In a large family a good appetite, if not outright hunger (as the proverb goes) makes the best sauce. Or as they say, get their first. I think for us eating was an adult thing. Occasionally Mom or Dad would humor our whims. But I think what made food kid friendly most was letting us help in the preparation.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                          My granny used to tell heart -wrenching stories about going without food as a little girl,
                                                                                                          pre WWII. The adults ate before the children, the men before the women. On Sunday there was a good chance of company coming to supper too, and men and women of the family would eat sparingly to ensure the guest felt there was plenty. (THAT is hospitality!)
                                                                                                          Grandma described the kids hanging around the kitchen door watching the adults eat, and their hopeless feelings as they saw the last of the fried chicken being eaten, knowing they would end up with only cornbread and greens!

                                                                                                          My how times have changed in America! Our family dinners these days are accompanied by numerous exclamations of "There is too much food!".

                                                                                                        2. Well my friend has a picky kid and his diet consists of french fries, pop, hamburgers, and chicken. Not my idea of a balanced diet, but that's about it. I wouldn't worry about going out of your way to make anything special, it will likely only lead to frustration for you and hungry kids. If their mom can't get them to eat, you won't be able to. Just ask mom what they usually DO eat and make it, even if it is frozen pb&j and french fries.

                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Rick

                                                                                                            Laugh at this please. They hate fruit, hate vegetables, hate hot dogs and hamburgers, wont touch PB&J, only velveeta on white bread (NOT grilled) cold, One eats steak ... well done thin sliced no seasoning, the other likes fish sticks and bananas.

                                                                                                            The adults, don't get me started. No onions, tomatoes, peppers, spices, salt or pepper. No sausage, pork or any meat not cooked. They mean cooked. Beef like 200 degrees. Shoe leather ... oh yeah, white rice only and no other grains, some butter noodles, potatoes are ok as long as what they call cooked normal "baked or mashed" lol. and no salad. tomatoes are ok only over iceberg and only with cucumbers and ranch dressing.

                                                                                                            Now, that is my dilema ... so I said lets order pizza. Who doesn't like pizza right?
                                                                                                            I guess they don't. They 2 adults age 50 and 3 kids 12, 15 and 8 never have ate pizza in their lives.

                                                                                                            Boy am I looking forward to this :)

                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                              Make a boiled meat stew in a crock pot. Potatoes, stewing beef, water (or canned low sodium broth if you're feeling adventurous), side of Wonder bread and buttered egg noodles. Take iceberg lettuce, slice into 5 wedges, and get a bottle of Hidden Valley ranch dressing.

                                                                                                              Or stock up on Dinty Moore or dog food (I can't smell the difference) and Uncle Ben's instant rice.

                                                                                                              I'm in a catty mood, apologies.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                I liked it :) That is about how I feel. I do have Hidden Valley Ranch. Do have Uncle Bens Instant Rice, It is my last resort rice when desperate, Buttered egg noodles, I'm a sucker for those but my are whole wheat, but eat mine a bit differently with a lamb stew. Ice berg ... actually but I eat it with heirlooms, sauteed pancetta and home made blue cheese ... I don't think they could handle that. Wonder !!! Never, the rest Naaa. Does make me bad for haved instant rice and hidden valley?

                                                                                                                They did say the kids will eat Chef Boyardee, I vote for Dog food over that, :)

                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                  A jar of Ragu classic doesn't have HFCS, if that makes you feel any better (a mom I know uses it as the base for her sauce).

                                                                                                                  Serve what you're comfortable serving, even if whatever is on your plate is more interesting (ie with the heirloom tomatoes).

                                                                                                                  Seems that the whole family can be fed with food from Walgreen's or the local drugstore, so you may have to bite the bullet, for 3 days.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                    I think so. I'm making roasted chicken and some simple grilled sausages on the side. Noodles a descent pasta whether they like it or not, fresh corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Some kind of lettuce and we will see. I'm sure they won't like it but what the hell!! Best I can do. I guess the Dog food probably isn't a good idea ... Damn!! :) I'm just gonna eat my very delicious home made fresh made bean soup until they leave ... breakfast ... lunch and ... dinner, lol.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                      Cat food is supposed to be more nutritious than dog food. I recall a story from the decadent cookbook with one out of work person who started eating it, thinking that it tasted like pate, then relabeling it and selling it at a ridiculous markup. :)

                                                                                                              2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                why are you inviting them again? no, seriously. go out. don't stress yourself out about them!

                                                                                                                1. re: tzurriz

                                                                                                                  Actually they are great people, they were friends of my ex and 7 years after being divorced they have stayed friends with me and not him. They are sweet caring, always pitch in, offer to do anything, always offer to cook, LOL. I'll pass but great friends and a blast to go out with. Just not eat with.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                    Gotcha. that makes sense then. :D

                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                      clarifying that its really the whole family that is unadventurous and not just the kids helps. I have to cook every few weeks for a West indian crowd. I have learned that they may or may not accept the foods that I prepare - some things will be a hit, some will fall flat for non-obvious reasons. its hard to get people to go outside their comfort zones.. Costco is a fantastic resource for this - their roasted chickens, cut up in serving portions.,have come to be a staple with this group. Or a spiral ham (for those who will eat pork). Their dinner rolls are good and reheat in the oven very nicely.
                                                                                                                      Mac and cheese and other baked pasta dishes usually work with this crew, along with a big container of costco salad greens and dressing.
                                                                                                                      They also tend to like rice - ive found that basmati and jasmine are greatly appreciated even tho they are not traditional. My homemade three bean salad is liked. But ive cut back on my "cooking" since it is not really appreciated and I find I am less frustrated tho also less fulfilled.

                                                                                                                  2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                    WOW! And I thought I had it bad with my friends (the parents of the picky kid, whom are also picky.) Well, at least they should be easy to cook for! Just burn some beef, heat up some instant white rice, and buy some white break and velveeta. Should cost you $20 to feed them all week!

                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                      Good Lord!! Really seems like it would be impossible to cook for them. I'd take them all out to Golden Corral or Ryan's Steakhouse.

                                                                                                                      My mom didn't do anything kid-friendly. There was no such thing as picky, whatever was for dinner was what we ate-of course, we always had the option to not eat it, but there was no dessert and no snacking later.

                                                                                                                    2. Like a number of others here, my mom never made food "kid friendly." When we were very young she pureed adult food. When slightly older she'd shred or slice up food for us. But that was pretty much it. There were definitely foods I'd preferred, and one food in particularly I couldn't swallow at all (liver), but for the most part we ate what was in front of us or went hungry.

                                                                                                                      However, she also taught us that it was impolite to be picky when we were guests, so if I didn't want to eat food in front of me while we were at someone's house I had to discretely hide it. Hopefully, as those kids get older, they're also taught to be grateful guests.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: PegS

                                                                                                                        We ate what we were given. Nobody forced us to, or threatened us; we were simply EXPECTED to eat it. If one of us had a major issue with some item we might occasionally get a hearing, and Johnny's picking the miniscule bits of mushroom out of his tuna casserole and setting them on the side of his plate was just funny. But not eating said tuna casserole was not an option.

                                                                                                                        John will now happily munch through a plate of mushrooms, but he refuses to try even steel-cut oats because he was so traumatized by the uncooked rubbery lumps in mom's oatmeal. And 65 years after suffering through my first dish of bread pudding I still don't like sweet custard. Elizabeth will eat absolutely anything, and the two of us will eat anything not noted previously. As will all of our kids, as far as I know.

                                                                                                                      2. When we trravelled with our kids when they were small, I always brought along bread, peanut butter and jelly. The kids were expected to sit thru dinner politely, and if they were hungry later, I'd make them a sandwich, I never expected our hostess to accomodate my kids, and for the most part, the kids were troupers and tried at least some of what was offered.

                                                                                                                        1. THANKS FOR EVERYONES RESPONSES!!

                                                                                                                          1. Dana Zsofia, my five year old won't give me a break. She insists on eating what I eat. I have to make makizushi and a steamed artichoke before I leave on a trip. To go out, she insists on sushi. She likes my hot, spicy Asian noodle dishes with bok choy or napa. Her lentils have to have the dried African game meat; her carrot soup the best French technique. She really likes the simmered chicken gizzard slices I use in different dishes in the place of beef. She doesn't like ketchup, mayo unless homemade, and prefers her "salsa de shoyu y sesamo" for a number oif things.

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                              I think you are in the minority there, however kudos for her. But growing up with a garden and on a lake in the summer, I always wanted vegetables made anyway and then fish. I couldn't get enough. My friends thought I was wierd. Traverscity MI had cherry festivals and MI northern part where our summer home was strawberry everything. So even when I was little 6, 7, 8 etc I was baking strawberry and cherry everything with mom. I even remember making strawberry punch which I loved. My sugar cookies with a whole cut in the middle and fresh strawberry jam that I made with Grandma was the best.

                                                                                                                              Sometimes I would eat all the peas right out of the pods right out of the garden and then non left for dinner.

                                                                                                                              Funniest thing for a couple of years I didn't like ketchup either, I would eat it, just didn't like it much. That changed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                Ooh I have the best memories of Grampa's garden in the summer. I used to get two full weeks every summer, just me at Gramma and Grampa's when I was growing up (it was my special thing, probably it gave my parents a much-needed break, but I loved it too). They had a house on a small lake, and he fished every day. And he had a huge, wonderful garden (he was retired). So there was fresh fried blue gills and fresh veggies. I'd always run around with a pocket full of stuff I'd stolen from his garden when I was there. :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                                  where was the lake, me northern MI, but we had blue gills too, perch and bass, still a favorite of mine.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                    Northern Indiana. :) Peeeeerch Mmmmm and bass of course. Fried blue gill fillets for breakfast was such a wonderful thing. :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                                      no kidding, blue gill are so sweet and delicious, my Dad would catch them bigger than your hand. And being trained on how to remove the bones in one swipe is really great when you have a huge catch in front of you! I still have the little index card my Dad wrote out for me for his "batter" for his fish frys, and it was a dry batter not wet. Delicious!

                                                                                                                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                  Oh, my -- tart cherries! My grandparents had a tree, and they made the most beautiful strudel, cherry soup, etc. Here in Massachusetts, they simply are not available! I have a dwarf tart cherry tree, and for the rest, I order them frozen from Michigan, at great expense!

                                                                                                                              2. My Mom, bless her dear departed soul, did not believe in "kid friendly" food.

                                                                                                                                She made FOOD, and if you were hungry you ate it - adult or kid. If you didn't like it you didn't have to eat.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: KiltedCook

                                                                                                                                  Like the fried fish post above. My mom would make the same fish and then cut 1 piece in 3 pieces for my plate, body and 2 pieces to make a tail. We always had these great round slices of grilled potato. Mom would put 10 or so around the outside of the plate. Everyone else ate them too but mom always tried to make mine look cute. This is of course when I was young.

                                                                                                                                2. My parents both cooked and I can tell you that there was no question about eating what we were served.(military father) I do remember though that what made us all love food was that they loved food and to cook, so they were always trying their new things on us. The other thing is that we were so included in the cooking. If not helping we all sat at the kitche table and watched and listened to the happy chatter that was going on. My Dad making chop suey or my mom making pizza. And of course all my friends always wanted to eat at my house. Fixing dinner or meals was a very fun time, fish frys and french fries, or the stories that were behind whatever they were making. That is what made eating food fun and enjoyable for me. So maybe not so much as what you do to make the food look appealing but to make the food sound interesting, kids always love a story.

                                                                                                                                  1. Some friends of mine and their kids have a very limited list of acceptable foods. I invited them for dinner and made chicken fingers and did a raw veggie platter w/ ranch dressing and a sour cream and onion dip. The kids ate quite a bit of the veggies to everyone's surprise. I think kids just like dip. Most kids like at least a couple types of fruit as well, so I would do some berries sprinkled lightly w/ sugar. Good luck!

                                                                                                                                    1. I'm wondering how the visit is going?

                                                                                                                                      1. My mother, HAH.

                                                                                                                                        We ate what was put on the table, and that was that. You finished what was put on your plate as well.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Demented

                                                                                                                                          Was I like a weird kid or something? I never had food issues growing up and my mother never had issues with me eating. Everything she made I liked. If I didn't like it I could have something else but that would be like a sandwich or something. Seriously though, I really did like everything...she did involve me in cooking, which I think helped and she did avoid the foods I clearly disliked (i.e.sour cream, raw onion) but other than that it was pretty much smooth sailing. Food was never an issue in my house. And if for some reason I didn't feel like eating anything, I didn't have to. There were never any demands made on me with food but also no "here honey here, what can I make you"... somewhere in the middle. Which is why I guess I'm pretty open to trying any food now.

                                                                                                                                          Also not to steal the thread but for those discussing feeding disorders with or wihtout autism, you really can get help for the child. Speech therapists who are feeding specialists are a HUGE rescource. Let me know if you want more info-

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                                                            I don't think it strange that you didn't have food issues! I never had any either. May parents let us eat when we were hungry and what we wanted, within reason. We did not have to eat what was prepared--what if we didn't like it?! But, both my parents had food issues from controlling parents so they deliberately chose not to treat us in the same way.

                                                                                                                                            I did get some food issues from a private school I went to but that was different.

                                                                                                                                            I think some families just do it one way, some do it another and it either works or doesn't. Luckily, the way I was raised worked out well for me.

                                                                                                                                        2. She didn't. We learned to like what was served.

                                                                                                                                          1. Applesauce! Our mothers favorite "fussy kid" standby.
                                                                                                                                            If my brothers couldn't stomache sweet potatoes, mom added applesauce.
                                                                                                                                            My sister went thru a scrambled eggs with applesauce phase I clearly remember.

                                                                                                                                            I wonder if they eat applesauce today OR use the same "save" on their kids.

                                                                                                                                            Me, I ate everything!

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                              My dear, late, mother was nobody's idea of a cook. Food was not the draw at our house, but the family meals were always enjoyable. We talked and laughed and my sister and I were not forced to eat anything. But, we did have to sit at the table and use flawless manners. We also had to come dressed in clean clothes with no rollers in our hair.

                                                                                                                                            2. My mother made no concession to us by the time they considered my sister and me to be civilized enough to eat at the dinner table with my parents. Until that point, about age 3 or 4, I think, dinner was prepared by our housekeeper. We ate at a small table in the den and all evidence of it was cleared by the time my father got home from his store.

                                                                                                                                              When we graduated to the dining room, we were expected to eat everything my parents were eating - just in smaller portions. The rule was that you had to taste everything - at least a spoonful. If you didn't like it, you didn't have to eat any more than that, but there would be no substitutions available, so you ate more of whatever was on the table you *did* like if you didn't want to leave hungry. And, if you served yourself, you were obliged to finish everything, no matter how long it took. I can remember sitting alone at the table, long after my sister and parents had moved into the living room. I soon learned to take small portions and, if necessary, go back for seconds.

                                                                                                                                              There was one except to this rule. We were never forced to eat calves' liver, which was a favorite of my father.

                                                                                                                                              I'm curious - how did the visit with the 3 kids work out?

                                                                                                                                              1. she let us get hungry. then fed us. no special kid foods. we ate what she cooked, or we didn't. :)

                                                                                                                                                ok. not sure how this got kicked to the top... i just noticed this is over a year old.

                                                                                                                                                1. She didn't. She cooked a good meal every night with meat, potatoes, vegetables fresh from the garden in the summer, and we were expected to eat it. Supper was at 5:30 p.m. no matter what. We sat at the table with napkins in our laps used utensils properly and didn't chew with out mouths open. We said "Please pass the______. and Thank you" We have conversation about our day. If we took a serving of something, we were expected to eat it. We didn't have special kiddie food. We ate what she cooked and we liked it or we wore it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I think with the exception of mashing vegetables when I was a baby, and having a little more choice with lunches.... I don't remember "special" foods. Well, except when I was sick maybe.

                                                                                                                                                    There was one meal made for supper. Don't like it? You don't eat.

                                                                                                                                                    1. My ways to appeal to kids:
                                                                                                                                                      1) DIPS. Everything is better with dip. Just don't give them too many options per meal. Try ketchup and ranch dressing.
                                                                                                                                                      2) Chicken nugget-ize stuff. I make my own chicken nuggets by cutting up a breast, dip in the flour/egg/breadcrumb method, fry them up. Serve with the dips. You can make nuggets out of ANYTHING. My kids eat zucchini this way and love it.
                                                                                                                                                      3) Make your own pizza. Pizza dough is available at Trader Joe's and other stores pre-made, but is also very easy (and better) to make yourself. Get a whole mess of toppings together (meats, vegetables, cheeses), traditional or not, and let the kids put their own toppings on. Everybody gets what they want.
                                                                                                                                                      4) Pasta with olive oil and/or butter. To a kid, different shapes of pasta are *totally different food*. You could do plain pasta with butter 5 nights in a row. Always give a bowl of grated parmesan to sprinkle over (same concept as the dips -- everything is better with cheese on top). I make the pasta while a pan of olive oil is warming next to it, usually put a little garlic in the oil (kids don't know it's there), and then toss the pasta in the oil with a little of the pasta water. Maybe a little chopped parsley on top.
                                                                                                                                                      5) Worst case scenario -- if I make dinner and my picky one doesn't want it, he gets to go to the kitchen and make himself a plate of food for dinner. One protein (meat or cheese), one grain/bread, one fruit. If it comes to this, I don't criticize what he chooses as long as it follows the guidelines. And then he comes out and eats with the rest of us.
                                                                                                                                                      6) Get and read the book "Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russel Hoban to the kids. It might not change the way they eat, but it will make you feel better!

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ooeygooey

                                                                                                                                                        We love that book! It doesn't have quite the desired effect on our son, though -- he's as picky as ever, but he always asks to eat spaghetti and meatballs after reading it. (That's the food that Frances finally begs for after eating nothing but bread and jam.)

                                                                                                                                                        I'll have to try the zucchini nuggets. Thanks for the tip! We often do spinach nuggets -- spinach, onions, and a little garlic in the food processor, egg and breadcrumb dip, baked in the oven. Kid is suspicious of anything leafy, but loves these.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pia

                                                                                                                                                          this might just work for my little one. can you tell me more about the egg to stuff ratio--is it just enough egg to hold everything together?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rose water

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, one egg is usually enough for a bag of baby spinach. You could easily do this with frozen spinach too -- it would be cheaper. You'd just need to make sure you pressed the liquid out. We throw everything in the food processor.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Chopped steak was "bear meat." Mashed potatoes with peas in the middle was a bird's nest with bird eggs.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, that is adorable!! My friend did that with her son because he was super picky. Everything was bear or lion or some kind of wild animal. Of course, it was usually chicken.

                                                                                                                                                        2. This thread was fun to read. My two cents: If kids are hungry they will much more inclined to eat - so no snacks for a couple hours before dinner. Some little kids are always drinking fruit juice - that keeps them from being fully hungry. So start diluting the juice more and more so they don't notice the difference. If they have juice they don't eat dinner, but are hungry as bears AFTER dinner.

                                                                                                                                                          I also agree with those who said that getting kids involved in food prep and making dinner a happy fun occasion are great helps. Dinner is not just for eating - it's for the interesting experience.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AndreaGSanJose

                                                                                                                                                            This is so true - my son went through a picky stage - and I realized that a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was letting him eat too much when he got home from school. He's REALLY thin and has never been a big muncher. It doesn't really take much to fill him up. And it is VERY easy to refuse food when you're not very hungry in the first place. As soon as I put the kabosh on so much snacking the pickiness disappeared almost over night. (Not that there aren't some foods he refuses- there are and there has always been. But it's not many, and they are diminishing with time, thankfully.)

                                                                                                                                                          2. My mom made food kid friendly by keeping it in reach and letting us think we were choosing what to eat.

                                                                                                                                                            She would wash and cut veggies and fruits into bite sized portions and place them in small amounts in ziplocks. Hmm, maybe they were the baggies with the alligator on the box?

                                                                                                                                                            She would put together leftovers in tiny tupperwares and leave them in our reach. I think she even prepared cheese and crackers and put those in baggies too.

                                                                                                                                                            Everything was parent approved, in the fridge on the lower shelf and there were always several choices.

                                                                                                                                                            If we complained that there was nothing to eat, she'd direct us to the fridge and tell us we could pick what we wanted.

                                                                                                                                                            Somehow, it worked! I grew up thinking I had all this food-choice-freedom but I never ate junk food or little debbies.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I didn't like sweet potatoes, only because they were canned and gobbed up with marshmallows and brown sugar and didn't fit in with the rest of a savory holiday meal.

                                                                                                                                                              I also didn't like canned peas, but they were always overcooked.

                                                                                                                                                              I really regret that I didn't enjoy every single fresh tomato out of my grandfather's garden, but I was a kid and my palate wasn't yet developed. Back in 2007 I was living in Memphis, TN and I was told about "Bill's garden". Bill was a neighbor and he grew some really knarly tomatoes. They were the MOST delicious tomatoes and they took me back to my childhood and my grandfather's tomatoes, What a memory!

                                                                                                                                                              1. Easy enough question. Mom added cheese sauces, even if all she had was Velveeta to veggies. I mean, come on, what doesn't taste good drenched in cheese? There's not a veggie I don't love.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                                                                                  I was an only child; Mother and Father smoked heavily and drank lots of coffee. I can't remember anything ever tasting good.
                                                                                                                                                                  Think cold lima beans with milk poured over them.
                                                                                                                                                                  Think hamburger broken up and fried until there was no light brown left, just dark brown/black and crispy.

                                                                                                                                                                  Anybody else remember the hypersalty bacon that Kmart used to import from Denmark?

                                                                                                                                                                2. The three of us kids ate what our parents ate. Each of us was allowed to pick a meal each week that Mom would cook, as long as we didn't get too repetitive.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Picky eaters are MADE, not born that way. I thank God every single day that I was raised by parents who were not only both excellent cooks, but didn't dumb-down food for us. We ate what they ate - & that included a LOT of ethnic dishes that way back in the 50's/60's wasn't common fare.

                                                                                                                                                                    There was only one rule. When faced with something new, we ALWAYS had to take one bite. There was no "I don't like this" based simply on what it was or what it looked like. We HAD to taste it. If after we tasted it we didn't like it, then we didn't have to eat it. Seventy-five percent of the time, we ended up loving whatever it was we were initially shying away from.

                                                                                                                                                                    I feel very VERY sorry for picky eaters. They'll never know what they're missing. And those folks who are raising & catering to picky eaters - shame on you!

                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                                                                                      "Picky eaters are MADE, not born that way"

                                                                                                                                                                      This may be your experience, but it certainly isn't a universal truth.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                          Ditto. While it's true that picky eaters CAN be made, some people just have problems with different foods for varying reasons. Allergies, sensitivities, missing enzymes, textural problems, taste issues, what have you.

                                                                                                                                                                          Shame on you for blaming all parents who struggle with these issues! (back up the thread, whoever that was)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                                            For goodness sake - OF COURSE I wasn't including food allergies or other health problems. That's just plain common sense.

                                                                                                                                                                            However, "textural problems & taste issues"? Sorry, that's something that definitely falls under my "you have to try one bite before you automatically decide you hate it". There's absolutely zero reason for parents to "struggle with these issues". All you need do is grow a backbone, put your foot down, & insist that new foods or dishes be at least tasted before they're refused.

                                                                                                                                                                            Insisting on "just one bite" isn't child abuse, & you'd be surprised how many kids actually end up liking that "just one bite" enough to eat more of the item. Although I will admit, growing up, my brother, even if he loved the item, would refuse it the first time out of principle - lol!! But the next time that item was served, he'd clean his plate - lol!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                                                                                              My son was unable, due to medical reasons, to eat any solid food before he was one. At a time when little ones are getting used to different textures and tastes, he was on bland liquids. He was an extremely picky eater throughout his childhood. I certainly never would have said to him, "You have to try one bite." That would have been cruel, under the circumstances. Don't assume you know the back story of every kid you encounter, or that people who parent differently than you do lack backbone.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                How would "one bite", the equivalent of one teaspoon, of a new food that you knew wouldn't injure him be considered "cruel"?

                                                                                                                                                                                But besides that point, I'm not - & wasn't - talking about toddlers - I'm talking about children old enough to push plates away, stamp their little feet, hold their breath until they turn blue, & demand mommy cook them something else because what's been put in front of them doesn't "look right, smell right, etc., etc.".

                                                                                                                                                                                Big difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                Does anyone here see my point outside of the nitpickers who obviously don't get it?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have never encountered the likes of which you describe. "They turn blue?" please.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                                                                                                    My son has issues with textures (as does his father and grandfather), despite the fact that I made all his baby food specifically to introduce him to different textures and flavors, from a very early age. He ate just fine until solids entered the picture. I tried to insist on "just one bite". From about a year old to about 3 years old, he ended up consistently vomiting the food out onto the table/floor, and feeling sad and guilty for having done it. I realized I didn't want my child to feel that food was something to hate and fear, and adjusted my expectations accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Once again, it's lovely that it's worked out that way for you. It's worked out for my daughter, who adores raw sushi, black coffee, pomegranates, vegetables and bourbon, among many others. But I'm glad I've learned, via my son, that just because something works for some people, it's not a failing in the parent if the child isn't able to eat a wide variety of food. I've learned that having sympathy for situations I don't understand is a much kinder position that judging and trying to make such parents feel they have failed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                                                                                                      They're being nitpicky, Breezy. In 80% of the situations you're alluding to, your comments are spot on, and typical and useful. The people arguing with you are arguing about situations that are unusual and I'd hazard a guess are less than 10% of the situations parents run into with food issues and their children.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Y'all need to stop being so precious about your particular situation and realize that it is YOU (the ones with the extremely picky children who puke when confronted with foods they can't tolerate) who are the usual ones. MOST children are nothing like that. Breezy is commenting in general, and of course there are ALWAYS exceptions to generalized situations. That doesn't mean that what Breezy is saying doesn't apply for -most- situations.

                                                                                                                                                                                      [gross story alert]
                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, I was forced to eat stewed prunes in elementary school once. The teacher wouldn't dismiss me from the table until I ate them all. I had tasted them (we had to taste everything) and they made me gag. I told her this. She was convinced I was lying. So I forced them down. I puked them back up, but I was determined not to be humiliated by actually spewing in the cafeteria. So through sheer force of will I kept it in my mouth, then I swallowed it all back down again and managed to keep it down.
                                                                                                                                                                                      [end of gross story]

                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course, I never told HER that, and it simply justified her attitude. But that being said, that situation was very unusual for me. It was exceedingly rare that I'd have such a reaction to texture/taste of something. Sure I had dislikes, but I every seldom had such a nasty reaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't remember having to have stewed prunes again, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Morganna

                                                                                                                                                                                        How can you presume to know the ins and outs of every situation with every child you like to label as "picky" and every parent you label as "indulgent"? If there are valid reasons for one child's eating issues, isn't it possible there are valid reasons for many children's eating issues? It's as easy for me to say in 80% of the situations, there's a perfectly valid reason for the eating problem as it is for you to say in 80% of the situations there isn't. You don't know the truth, and neither do I, so instead of making up fake statistics, isn't it easier to say none of us can really know what other people face, and thus it's best for us not to make these hurtful judgements? Even if your made up numbers had any validity, you're still hurting those parents and children with valid reasons with your broad sweeping "shame on you" generalizations, so why do it?

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Folks, this thread is an old one that's already been around the block a few times, and is getting way off-target. We're going to lock it now.