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Giada at home

This lady had a birthday party for her 1 year old, I thought her menu was way to sophisticated for a 1 year old. I know she said parents would eat this stuff but she kept saying how her daughter loved basil, onion, bowtie pasta salad, etc. I think she makes up this stuff.

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  1. I wouldn't be so sure. I feel very lucky about my son (now 10), who will eat virtually anything. He was that way his first few years of life--avocado is the only thing he seemed not to like. Around 5 years of age, he went through a year where he got a bit pickier, but he was still better than most kids. But he resumed eating things with an experimental attitude.

    The list would be too long to go into here, but it includes all kinds of ethnic cuisines (helps to moderate the spicy-hot), artichokes, sashimi, snails (Korean or French style), frog legs, rabbit paella. We even tried chicken feet at a Chinese restaurant, but we couldn't really grasp exactly how they're to be enjoyed. Not to paint too rosy a picture, he is not keen on some things, like raw onions in a burger or sandwich.

    In his case, I think it helps that he sees new things being made around the house all the time, and he gets involved in the making at times. But it also seems likely that kids just come with different temperaments. I bet if I'd had another kid, that one might well have been super-picky, even growing up in the same household.

    p.s., I'll update my post to say that, in fact, I wouldn't menu plan a child's birthday party in a super-"adventurous" way, because several of the child guests are likely to be picky. But I do think most kids would like bowtie pasta and even basil when properly presented.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bada Bing

      Kids whose parents are adventurous, good cooks and are given a wide choice of foods to try, as opposed to chicken fingers and french fries, are more likely to be adventurous, open-minded diners later on. Chinese kids grow up on Chinese food, Mexican kids are raised on Mexican food, Thai kids eat Thai food eary on, et cetera. If there's no health-related reason, like in the case of botulism in honey or a choking hazard, there's no reason to exclude any food. Except that in the US most people seem to think that young children will die if fed spicy foods for some damn reason, so the children freak out when tasting something new and interesting because they've never had anything new and interesting before.

      And if you were Giada you'd be sure to give your kids a lot of variety in their meals. You think Mario Batali's kids eat nothing but fish sticks out of a frozen box and canned peas? I don't.

    2. "I think she makes up this stuff."

      And, if Giada did, your problem with this would be ... what?

      7 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        No problem, I just don't know many children who eat all this stuff at age 1 and wrote something on my mind, which I thought I am allowed to do. Next time I will ask for your permission.

        1. re: dolly52

          Hello, Dolly! (I couldn't resist):

          Please don't take the responses here as an effort to say you should not say what's on your mind. But do try to accept that your message essentially asked us all to agree (or disagree) that Giada's picture of what a child might eat is a marketing ploy and a lie. If you'd even said something like, "Can she really be for real?" then the replies would have been very different.

          FWIW: I am convinced that much (but not all) of what children think about food comes from environment and has to do with psychology and sense of safety. Whatever seems "everyday" is okay, and whatever seems different can alarm some of them.

          1. re: Bada Bing

            Ditto what Bada said.

            dolly52, I hope you don't take my reply personally. But you made the statement that you believe Giada was making stuff up -- not about her cooking (which would be important) but about something tertiary (which in the grand scheme of things would be trivial).

            Given that it was something (i.e. what her kids eat) that did not affect the instruction or knowledge she was trying to impart in her cooking show, it begs the question why it matters.

            1. re: Bada Bing

              "FWIW: I am convinced that much (but not all) of what children think about food comes from environment and has to do with psychology and sense of safety. Whatever seems "everyday" is okay, and whatever seems different can alarm some of them"

              I would love to believe this but it just doesn't explain for example my sister's kids. Firstborn girl would only eat spaghetti 'O's, hamburgers and corn til she was 12, now she's 35 but is still quite unadventurous. Along comes the boy 9 years later and was and still is the most amazing kid..all raw veggies, shellfish, ethnic, spicy..you name it he ate it. He never went thru a picky stage either. So, same family, kitchen techniques, recipes, same cook (my sis) yet 2 kids diametrically opposed when it comes to eating habits. How is environment involved? I'm truly interested as I don't have kids and have never understood why these siblings are so different from one another.

              1. re: alidrum

                I agree that there's no predicting these things. One environmental factor, though, is that siblings sometimes seem to fall into differentiated roles (the sporty one, the good student, the caring one, etc.) Anyway, you're right: most families that I know with a picky eating kid have just one kid who is especially that way, rather than all the kids being the same.

                1. re: alidrum

                  Some people are just pickier than others, but there probably are some environmental explanations for the differences between you niece and nephew. Nine years is quite an age difference. Your sister raised them both, but I doubt her parenting and cooking techniques were identical for both kids. Even subtle changes can lead to big differences.

                  1. re: alidrum

                    The sibs are 9 years apart? Then it's hardly the same family. My sib and I are 8 years apart, as well as lightyears in many of our likes/ dislikes/ personality/ character traits, etc.

                    Our parents were at different stages of their lives when raising us. Including my mom cooked a lot more when I was young, because she had the time. When my sib was young, mom was working more and we were buying more store-bought.

                    In other words, just because it's the same family, doesn't mean it's the "same" family.

            2. I don't understand why it is bad to make sophisticated food for mostly adult guests. I don't have children and have no idea what they eat at 1 years old but why wouldn't she enjoy the flavors of basil and onion?

              1. I'm reminded of the birthday party episode of Posh Nosh:

                "I can just hear them saying, mummy, can I have another Roquefort, prosciutto, and fennel bruschetta?"

                1 Reply
                1. re: Boswell

                  That video is beyond hilarious...

                2. Consider another celeb chef/mom: Nigella Lawson. Don't you think her 2 (lucky) kids ate all sorts of yummy things from her kitchen growing up?

                  1. Giada's comment is in keeping with her habit of talking herself up. Certainly there is no way she could have any thing less that an overly sophisticated child.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Withnail42

                      Wonder if her child also accentuates the Italian words like her mama?

                    2. bowtie pasta tastes the same as other pasta - so i'm not sure what the issue is there
                      cooked onions are sweet, so i don't see the issue there
                      basil - why wouldn't a kid like it, it tastes good?

                      more to the point, most of the people at a 1 yr olds birthday party tend to be adults....

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: thew

                        Pesto is my oldest son's favorite food. He has been eating it since he was two years old. I have to agree with the above posts - why does it matter what her kids eat?

                        One of my kids eats all kinds of food, and the other is a very picky eater. He however would love to just lick spices all day. All kids are different and all kids love different kinds of food. As a mother with two kids who have distinctly different tastes (they are only 19 months apart) I would never pass judgment on what a mother says her kids eat. I know both sides from personal experience.

                        1. re: kprange

                          too many people seem to forget that kids are actual human beings

                      2. ...I was raised by my Italian grandma. She did not beleive in "baby food" and made her own. This consisted of "table food" mashed up. Pasta, sauce you name it , I ate it. When I was three, my folks took me to Fisherman's Wharf, I wanted shrimp...got shrimp scampi and ate it all. Don't limit you kids menu by what you beleive is "kids food" I

                        1. Imho, when parents/adults approach feeding their young 'uns with fear and trepidation, the child feels that and responds in kind. If it's just presumed that the food in question will be consumed and enjoyed, the chances for that type of experience are far greater.

                          Does anyone here think French and Italian kids eat Velveeta or Kraft Slices???

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Exactly. We've always (well, at least since she could chew) served Lulu exactly what we were having, no thought of whether or not it would be ok for a kid. And guess what? She likes everything except hard boiled eggs. Her favorite foods? Olives, capers, anchovies and escargot. She sees us eat it happily, she does the same. I worry that at some point some kid at school will say something to turn her off some food item, but we'll just assume that will pass. I do realize that some kids just naturally don't like much, but I think overall, if the parents act like eating all sorts of foods is normal, the kid will see it as normal.

                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                do you think kids in, say, thailand, don't eat spicy food?

                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                    I was eating pasta with pepperoncino (red pepper flakes) when I was a little kid. I also loved prok chops and fried potatoes with hot cherry peppers. it all depends on your ethnic background and what you are exposed to. Different strokes...

                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                    I think that is great. It always bugs me when people with a very long list of food adversions display that in front of young kids. Aversions are learned, and while I have a major one that I wish I didn't, I don't think people need to impose aversions on kids. I think it is great if kids are exposed to a wide variety of cuisines, flavours, and ingredients from a young age.

                                    When I was younger, I thought my exposure to a variety of food was normal, but as I get older, I realize I was very fortunate that my mom exposed me to a lot.

                                1. jfood only has 2 data points on environmental training and later in life eating habiots...2 20 year old jfoods. Both raised in the same household, eating the same foods growing up.

                                  They have totally different POVs on food. Although both understand good, one is more the bright flavors of fish and the other is the earthy flavors of bistro. There is a large area of overlap, but jfood does not buy into the whole notion of "training" a <1 YO palate. BTW, they both had Gerbers as their intro to food.

                                  9 Replies
                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      great article. jfood needs to do some more research and read some of the cross references. Thanks

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Do you by any chance know what this is?

                                        1. re: CityFoodie

                                          I can fairly safely say it is NOT a vegetable.

                                          1. re: CityFoodie

                                            jfood has never seen this before. It appears to be a gadget to cut something that would be dangerous to cut on a board, so jfood is thinking round. Maybe you hold a small round object like a pitted olive or cherry between your thumb and forefinger and use this to slice it in half. Thats about all he can think of.

                                            Would love to hear from people who have something to contribute to this.

                                            1. re: CityFoodie

                                              I think it's for making drop cookies. You know the ice cream scooper model that has the spring & gear to scrape the ice cream out of its bowl (and onto your cone)? It's kind of like that. You squeeze the long parts together and it scrapes the cookie dough off the flat part. (though how the dough gets on the flat part, I'm not sure!)

                                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                                I would force my children (ages 4 and 2) to eat anything Giada cooked just so I could watch her move around the kitchen.

                                          2. re: Servorg

                                            Since Time Magazine is now charging to read this article here is a link to a complete version for free (courtesy of Google's news aggregator) in case anyone comes to this post in the future and is interested: http://news.yahoo.com/why-dna-may-not...

                                        2. FWIW - At one year old, I was eating homemade spaghetti noodles (and twirling the fork to capture the noodles) with tomato sauce and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

                                          has an article where Anthony Bourdain shares his daughter's favourite foods.

                                          I think they need to experience a variety of flavours, and foods (raw or cooked simply).

                                          1. One-year-olds are actually less likely to be picky than school-age children, in my experience. I saw nothing in that episode that a 1-year-old wouldn't eat.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: NYCkaren

                                              I totally agree. I have friends who talk to me about how many different foods their 12 month to 2 yr olds eat. I sometimes feel that they are comparing their kids' great eating habits to my 7 year old's picky habits. I mentally make a note to check back with them when their kids are older.

                                              1. re: NYCkaren

                                                So very true! I don't have kids (yet!) but I know from experience with my two younger brothers: when they were very little, there wasn't a thing they wouldn't eat. When they got to kindergarten, that's when the pickiness began. My youngest brother used to stand on a chair while my mother sauteed mushrooms in butter and herbs, and would sweetly ask for a few with a devious smile. He was 2 years old, and it's one of my favorite memories of him! Now at the age of 13 he hates mushrooms and if he finds one on his pizza, he nearly throws a tantrum.

                                                1. re: Jadore

                                                  eating is the first thing that a child can exert complete control over. that is where a lot of picky eaters come from. That being said... kids learn to eat from their parents. When they hear a parent say "oh he wont like that" from one parent before ever trying it the kid most likely doesnt want to prove you wrong because at a young age kids are all about pleasing. So parents just need to make it about eating. This is dinner tonight. Make sure there is one thing on the plate you know the kid will eat. Never order from the childrens menu.