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Chow Kids. Are you raising one?

Are most of the kids of Chowhounds following in the footsteps of their parents? What were the first signs that your kid was a Chowhound in the making?

My daughter would gobble up vast quantities of any expensive goat cheese from the time she was a little tot. She also loved vinegars and other odd foods that most of her preschool peers wouldn't touch. She shocked our east coast relatives when they asked her where she wanted to go out to dinner when she was young, maybe 6 or 7, and she replied "Thai." I think they were expecting McDonalds or something similar. By 11, her favorite restaurant treat was to go out for sushi. She adores pesto and other flavors that some kids have to grow into.

Hope she gets a good job when she grows up, to pay for her expensive taste in foods!

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  1. I'm nineteen and don't have any children yet, but my parents definitely raised a chow kid in me. My father is Sicilian and Calabrese and my Mum is German, Cherokee, and English; they both work in the food industry and have they're entire lives. I think I was the only kid in my elementary school who helped prepare the seven fishes for Christmas. Now that I'm an adult (kinda) and Vegan, I try to pass on my love of food and animals to my 3 little sisters.

    5 Replies
    1. re: marietinn

      I hope so. I tried. I made baby food when it necessary and started feeding her regular food asap. Always fresh veggies, stuff from scratch, whole grains, things in their most natural state. She was eating broiled salmon with dill and asparagus at 18 months and Thai food, Greek food and sushi at about 3. She likes the ramen and nuggets and Blue Box but could definitely do without, and many things she eats things her friends think are 'weird'. I think this is a good thing.

      As an infant, I swore she would never set her little foot in a McD's. HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!! But I have kept it down to 4-5 times a year.

      1. re: Whosyerkitty

        Yay! My kid sounds a lot like your kid. We're so used to eating whole grains and wheat bread, that I forgot about that entirely. My daughter used to refuse a grilled cheese made on anything resembling white bread.

        She called McD's "the golden bunny ears" until after her 3rd birthday. Probably would never have gone in one, except for the kid birthday parties held there and when we lived in Alaska people used to meet there during the winter so the kids could run around in the playland.

        Since we're vegetarians, she's well accustomed to being the weird kid in the lunchroom. She also gave up entirely on eating school lunches by 3rd grade. It's good to be weird!

        1. re: laurachow

          My son is in 2nd grade and the only time he likes to buy lunch at school is Friday (pizza day.)

        2. re: Whosyerkitty

          That's funny about McDonald's - I pretty much said the same thing and yet somehow my son became a fan of the golden arches. Although I think it's more about the toy in the kid's meal than the food. But same as you - he doens't get there more than 4-5 times a year and doesn't ask to go more often than that, so I'm OK with it.

          1. re: Whosyerkitty

            Yeah, we do a couple of times a year, usually when driving long-distance, but at this point the kids (teens) don't really like it! Although I do like it, twice a year.

        3. Absolutely! My chowhound is the kid who the servers perk up to see. He tried to swap lunch with the Japanese-American classmate who always brought sushi & seaweed. Loves goat cheese, shellfish, pho, brussels sprouts, and... gosh, it's hard to know what else is notable since he's what I'm used to. Loves trying to improve his chopstick skills, watching the sushi chef, open kitchens, pizza machines, commercial espresso machines, live lobsters in the tank... Also: baking, visiting the farmers market, ethnic groceries, gardening, fruit picking, peeling, chopping, stirring, mixing... The more you involve children in the pleasurable work of getting food to the table, the more they enjoy it.

          1. My daughter went to bed a bit ago as I sang to her (badly) along with opera (Schwarzkopf's Die Zauberflote). We had just shared an artichoke and some simmered chicken livers - which she loves. Today she also had some French carrot soup, roasted chicken & Jasmine rice, and some blackberries, banana, honey, and homemade yogurt. Dana Zsofia is 5 1/2 and laughed at my opera singing, had pate on bread and raisins this afternoon for a snack. Now I'm listening to Prokofiev (The voice of enigma) and in spite of it's (the music) excessive heaviness, I appreciate that my daughter eats well!

            Whoops, just went to "Sadness" in "Principles of Lust". Much brighter!! Hahaha!! Almost like his work with Eisenstien and the charge of the Teutonic knights across the ice in "Alexandre Neyvsky".

            12 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Savor every moment of it, Sam. Every age is incredible, but 6 or so is somehow special. Food-wise, there's no such thing as "icky." Otherwise, there's nothing like an open mind.

              Teach her to eat, think, and listen (I go for relatively equal parts of classical, Blue Note jazz, classic rock, and post-hardcore punk, but that's just the local blend). If she still thinks you're cool you when she's 16, you'll know you did it right.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Awww - she definitely does eat well - and what an all-around education in food AND music she's getting! I look at my little chowpup (2 months old now - wow - it goes fast!) and think of all the fun we're going to have in the kitchen and in front of the stereo (mp3 player these days!)!! Can't wait to introduce him to hummus when he's ready for solid foods!! As for music, so far he's having his share of The Three Tenors, Coltrane, Peggy Lee, Van Halen...we've got over 90 years of music to expose him to! Glad we're starting early like you did!!

                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                  ab and SS, kids are so great. Makes me want to bubble and gush! Have to try to maintain some control. But yes, getting to share food, cooking, ideas, humor, music, fishing, ... all so rewarding. I'm working with her on drawing, am frustrated with her progress in English (although her Spanish will soon be better than mine in some ways) and other languages. She is smart enough to be developing a sense of irony and sarcasm! And gets a lot of music styles - jazz, blues, old timey, cowboy, bluegrass, opera, chamber, latino of all sorts, mariachi, 50s, and more. Got her an MP3 player - three to be exact! Two cheap-os that didn't work and a third that you can't search for yunes other than by endless clicking forward. Thought I could get her some semi-disposables because they would soon be broken or lost. Now have to download one or two albums at a time each week. Very eclectic what she likes.

                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sam, wanna fix her up with my little sous chef? He's 5 1/2 too. He's been able to read since he was 2 and has near perfect recall of all he reads or hears. Right now he's into anatomy, but also knows more astronomy and geography than I do (which isn't saying too much). He makes a mean biscotti. He loves shellfish and cruciferous veggies, but won't eat beef or condiments. He has liquid brown eyes and shaggy blond hair. He's been known (at like the age of 3) to run away from me while shopping to open a door for a lady in a wheelchair. And tomorrow I have to enroll him in kindergarten :(
                  Howard

                  1. re: silvergirl

                    Holy Cow! Sounds like fate will hook the two of them up some day! Lucky you! Lucky us! Dana Zsofia reads people - adults and kids - in a frightenly better-than-a-shrink way. On Friday she came home from school and I said (translating into English), "Look at you, you're filthy!" She looked me in the eye, paused, and retorted, "Of course I am, we play in the dirt. What, you don't want me to play in the dirt???" What could I say? Has uncanny evaluations of peoples' marriages.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Lovely name. And she sounds like a lovely girl. It must be quite disconcerting to hear a babe commenting on the state of your marriage (assuming she does this within earshot of those whom she is observing). In any case, have fun and best of luck. Until we meet at Oxford orientation...

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    How it saddens me to read this today, thinking of all the knowledge Sam will never get to share with his daughter, or us.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Oh no! Sam is no longer with us?? :o( His last post was pretty recent though...

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          I will be sure to join his Facebook page. Thanks,alan. I never visit the SIte Talk board, so I totally missed this. :o( What a wonderful guy...his posts always made me smile. And pikawicca, that was very well said - he really was the ultimate hound.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Yeah, my heart twinges when I read an old thread where he had posted.

                    2. Mine from 4-15, then highschool. Now junk food. Hates everything else. It just depends. Actually I hope my son learns to cook what he likes. I don't necessarily like him to be a CHOW HOUND. As long as he likes what he cooks. And I hope he can cook on his own. My tastes are mine and his tastes should be his. I just hope he appreciates good food and takes the time to cook on his own.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        I think a lot of people go through that phase in their teens. I liked a lot of different foods when I was really little and then when I reached high school I became a lot pickier. Now I like more food again.

                        1. re: queencru

                          I was similar, but liked quite a few foods. I guess having the fresh fish from the lake and garden I ate most foods. But highschool turns even the best eaters into picky ones. So true gueencru.

                          My son is 20 (still going through) the highschool years I think. No tomatoes, onions, peppers etc. That is everything I cook with. Hopefully soon he will learn.

                          I used to eat tomatoes right off the vine growing up and peas out of the pods. :)

                          1. re: queencru

                            The *only* thing I can recall that I got picky with was tomatoes. One summer, I'd eat them from anywhere. The next summer, only from my grandmother's garden. And the next summer, I claimed I disliked them (even as Mom reminded me I ate tomatoes the previous year). I only recently (within the last 10 years) have begun buying them again, but only the "on the vine" ones.

                            I don't have children, but I don't recall being overly picky growing up (we really weren't allowed - had to at least try things). I loved going out to NYC Chinatown restaurants with the family, and while we didn't probably eat "truly authentic", we were using chopsticks at a very early age and in our household, we had a "take all you want but eat all you take" rule. We ate everything on our plates. Our house was a "this is the meal I've cooked; this is all you're going to get" situation from Mom. No extra meals were made for someone who didn't like what Mom was serving (although she let us order pizza when Dad made liver one night...thankfully on a spring night so we could open the windows to air out the house <g>).

                            When I was a teenager, I continued to like trying new foods. Mom and Dad would take me to a seafood restaurant they liked and we'd all make sure we had different things so we could all taste from each other's plates.

                            When I moved out on my own, I wasn't a great cook, but I tried - making sure I got family favorite recipes from my Mom. But that was also the time I was into Hamburger Helper and easier casserole-type meals like that - not all the time, but interspersed with grilled/baked meals. So sometimes I'd go with what I'd now call "meh" food, and sometimes I'd experiment with new flavors.

                            So while I'm definitely not as adventurous as some of the folk here on CH, I do enjoy trying new foods/flavors, because I grew up doing so. Also a reason I love to cook so much - Dad would bring home ideas from his travels around the world, and we'd try them at home.

                            I'd like to believe that if I *had* had children, I would have acted the same way as my parents. Actually, I *know* I wouldn't have prepared a separate kid's meal, and the child(ren) would have eaten a lot of what I already cook now.

                        2. I didn't become "interested" in food till my 30's so I sure don't expect my son to be a little chowhound. That will for him to decide when he is older. He just eats what we eat. Which is wide range of food from broccoli (and most veggies), fruits, breads pastas rices..meats.eggs..blah blah blah .and McDonalds. I don't see the horror at eating at McDonalds. It's not his fault his daddy is not rich. He eats well..is active..healthy weight and all that. I will never deny my kids certain foods (expect artificial sweetners and soda..he's only 2). I don't believe in taboo foods(like candy or fast food)...moderation. He will be fine. Don't make him into a weirdo.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rochfood

                            I ditto that, mine eats whatever good and bad but he's a good kid and likes good food so at some point I think he will want to learn. all in due time.

                            1. re: rochfood

                              Regarding your comment about his daddy not being rich, Mcdonald's ends up being a good bit more expensive (in food value) than making a healthier peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, and some fruit. Not having a lot of money is not jusitifcation for eating at McDonald's. But like everything else, in moderation it doesn't do harm.