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Jan 19, 2011 11:19 AM

We all know tastes change, but...

Over the last few years, I have ventured outside of my comfort zone, eating several vegetables that I never really cared for in the past. Recent victories have me trying to imagine what I ever did without olives (not those nasty canned ones, but GOOD olives), guacamole, mushrooms (still can't do button mush), Brussels sprouts, and while I didn't hate asparagus, I only REALLY liked the tops. It's funny, I can't begin to fathom the number of pounds of avocados I cleaned over the years to make guacamole, but wouldn't touch the stuff.

My 12 yr old son will eat just about anything. My only rule about food was that he, at least, try new things. I made a decision to never do what my father (and his father before him) did... make you sit there until you ate. If you didn't eat it that night, you got it for breakfast.. then lunch... then dinner.. and so on. Never was he victorious... my eggplant parm battle, I won.. sister's liver battle lima bean battle, she won... brother's...err.. never mind, he was a human garbage can! So, our agreement has gotten him to eat octopus, foie gras, fiddlehead ferns, morels, ramps, crosnes, salsify, nasturtium, and just about micro herb and green known to man ( to mention a few). BUT... the kid for whom I had to cook a daily "cheesy omelette" with bacon, will not touch an egg now, nor will he succumb to peanut butter.

So, I'm curious how many of you with kids have noticed, in such a short time, how their tastes have changed? What foods did they love when they were little that they won't touch now?

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  1. I am rather amazed how much my own tastes have changed over the years and it is interesting to watch my son go through his development.

    He is only 5 yo and until recently, he ate whatever we put in front of him. Now, he is a little more opinionated. I generally ignore it and just keep offering a good variety of dishes.

    Now, he refuses to touch stuffing or mashed veggies of any sort. He also avoids and claims not to like anything that could possibly get stuck in his teeth, the chief offenders being steak and clams. Once I figured out why he was boycotting these items, I solved the problem by having floss at the ready but he needs to actually see that floss is available before he will eat a clam.

    I also actively avoided my own parent's method of forcing me to eat, which was similar to what you describe. I remember the epic brussel sprout Sunday where I cried for hours at the table because I didnt' want to try the brussel sprouts, the smell alone made me gag. Horrible, horrible memory.

    (Honestly, I think that method of reserving the same meal over and over again to force a child to eat it is borderline abusive. At the very least, it indicates a parent has a serious control issue. Looking back on it, my own mother is absolutely horrified by her actions.)

    9 Replies
    1. re: cleobeach

      eh, "abusive" seems like a bit of histrionics. also, parents have a duty to have "control issues" withe their children. I think pandering and appeasement of children leads to a lot more problems than showing them that sometimes, they don't get to have a choice. A valuable life lesson for later on......

        1. re: nkeane

          It is abusive if you ae made to sit for hours being told you have to eat a cold burned fried egg. And If you don't ,it shows up for the next couple of meals. Cold mutton, not lamb but mutton, vomit food. Beans with ants in them, turn you off for life.

          My child had to take his own spoon full and had to taste. it I never filled his plate and forced him to eat everything.

          Yes parents must control their children for health and safety. But not control just to win a point. Taste a spoon full yes, not a plate full and not that plate for 3 or 4 meals..

          1. re: Janet

            We didn't get burned eggs, cold mutton, or beans with ants on them; however, as a young kid, primarily raised on seafood we caught from the bay out back or the Atlantic across the street, peanut soup and chitterlings were not "normal" for us. Both parents were good cooks and provided healthy meals for us, at times, though.. a bit too experimental for the three of us guinea pigs. Personally, I've come a LONG way from the days of pushing the onions aside in a bowl of chili.

        2. re: cleobeach

          don't have kids, but can i answer anyway? I just discovered, after 49 years, that i actually LOVE green bell peppers. i used to hate them, hated when they were in something, always finding them overpowering to everything else. it was a bit of dim sum i had from a Ranch 99 steam tray that changed my mind. Big smiley green quarter of a bell pepper stuffed with some gelatinous/shrimpy/porky thing - delicious. i'm sorry i missed out all those years.

          Same thing with apples! i didn't hate them, but i never cared a whit about them. if they were in something - a salad, a pie, a sauce - i'd eat them and enjoy them, but to peel one, or to just bite into one? i didn't see that they were worth any trouble at all. i liked green apples because of the tartness, but i never would buy them. now i'm trying every different kind i can. so far i love the honeycrisps the best. pink ladies were delicious but a tad too soft. galas were good too.

          now i still have a problem with lima beans, and i cannot bite into a burger that has a raw slice of onion (cook with them, love them caramelized, they're fine chopped up in salsa, just can't stand that big chunk - thinly sliced shallots or even red are fine). But that's about it for dislikes.

          It's a good thing we can evolve, so to speak.

          1. re: mariacarmen

            Thats funny, maria, because I too have very recently decided that I LOVE green peppers!
            All my life (I'm 44) i have always hated them and would always push them aside. Bleh

            One day, out of the clear blue - I had an urge for peppers and eggs - which I really hated as a child...I gave in to the urge, and boy was it delicious!
            Since then- Love -em

            And I also hate raw onion.
            I can't even pick them off a salad because the smell just lingers and everything else tastes of them.
            I don't even like small chopped bits. If I am having guacamole with onions in it - i will do my best to pick them out.

            That my only dislike.

            Actually, I had the opposite situation growing up. I have always been adventurous, and wanted to try ANYTHING - but my mom was the picky one, and so i had to wait until I gre up to try different cusines and more "exotic" foods.

          2. re: cleobeach

            My mom would make me sit at the table for HOURS with a piece of unchewed flabby bumpy chicken skin in my cheek until i either ate it or gagged on it. maybe not abuse, but it wasn't a good memory.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              I don't think I ever looked on it as "abusive"... all I knew was that I was, in no way, going to ever do that to my child. My son and I have an agreement and he trusts me enough to know I'm not going to give him anything THAT bad. He has developed quite the palate over the last few years and has no fear in trying new things.

              1. re: VeggieHead

                I totally agree with you. We also grew up with the food battles you describe. Although, it was a pretty one sided battle - kid crying alone at the dining room table avoiding cold lima beans VS - parents in the living room having dessert in front of the T.V.

                I, too agreed never to do that to my son. He knows I love him, would never hurt him, and trusts me. He'll try anything I put in front of him once, maybe twice if I say please. Three times if a video game is involved.

          3. Getting back to original question, OP, yes I've definitely noticed that my child's tastes have changed in the last few years. When she was a toddler I had to call every meat steak for her to even go near it. At 8 yo, she will eat red meat only very grudgingly, although she would happily subsist on fish only if allowed. Scrambled or fried eggs were a normal breakfast. No eggs at all anymore. I'm sure there are more that I can't remember just now. She has no memory of ever liking those foods and seems amazed when I tell her she used to love grilled steak.

            Tastes do change. There are many "normal" foods (such as white potatoes and hamburgers) that she wouldn't eat years ago but happily eats now and vice versa. As long as the diet is more or less balanced, I say just go with the flow. Things will change yet again. Such is the nature.

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. Both my children grew up with almost everything made from scratch, grown in the garden and organic. They consistently chose Kraft Mac and cheese and Top Ramen as favorite food. They "tried" a bite- but HATED anything "green", loved sugar, ate garbage at school lunch,etc. I thought for sure they would never live until adulthood their diets were terrible. I "snuck in" anything healthy I could, attempted bribery, and became a master at lying about what was "in it"?????? They begged me to be like other moms and "cook normal"...."like hot dogs".

                Now, both are beautiful, healthy adult women, eat organic produce, spinach salads, fresh goat cheeses, whole grain breads (who are these children?) they minimize sweets and both have taken a liking to cooking and scoping out new recipes! They love my food and brag to their friends what a "chef" their mom is. They post pictures of my food on their facebook pages. LOL.

                There is no need to torture children about food (physically, emotionally or mentally). Vitamins are a moms best friend sometimes. Kids will figure it out as they grow up...or not. Not everyone likes Brussels sprouts and that's okay.

                1. My kids' tastes vary wildly. I think it's more about testing limits and asserting control than it is about how things actually taste.