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Disguising Food cookbook feud

I read an article in my local news paper in the past week about a lawsuit between two women, one accusing the other of plagiarism. Okay that happens and I think the judge threw the case out.

The topic of both books was how to disguise in food to trick children into eating things for which they think they don't like. What a horrible idea, that is just down right mean.

I remember that this topic came up a few years ago on Home Cooking. If I remember correctly most of us posting about the topic were against it. I posted a true story about my step father and my niece. He decided he could trick all of us into eating liver. My husband and used to go to my mom's for dinner on Thurdays. He made a Bolognaise spaghetti sauce, and to use ground beef liver instead of regular ground beef or pork. The children were fed first while the adults had cocktails. So he served up their plates and sat down with his drink. My niece who must have been about 4 at the time, took her first bite, spat it out and said "Don ----- what the hell is this?" (We had to clean up her speech before she started school.). We all went out for dinner. That trick backfired and was costly for him.

If you read that article, what do you think about it? I believe one of the writers was Jerry Seinfeld's wife and I'd never heard of the other writer. I think playing tricks like that on people is mean. It does not have to be children, it could have been someone trying to disguise meat so an unsuspecting vegan or vegetarian will be tricked into eating it. What do you all think?

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  1. Im not sure about mean.

    But it's very wrong in my book. It sends a very bad message about food.

    1. (As an adult) I was told they were "mountain oysters". Even after I found out what they really were I had to admit they tasted great.

      1. I didn't see that article, but I remember the controversy. IIRC, Mrs. Seinfeld came out with her book (Deceptively Delicious?) after the first one (Sneaky Chef?) came out, but with her Seinfeld name, her book got more press.

        Also, IIRC, the premise of at least the first author wasn't so much being sneaky to be sneaky, but to serve the hidden broccoli alongside recognizable broccoli, so the kids were still being exposed to real veggies, but might get some nutrients even if they're still balking.

        There's a level of "hiding" food that doesn't bother me. Some of the "vegetables" in my house (for my veggie-phobic but not allergic son) include pumpkin muffins and spinach ravioli. I don't lie about what's in something, but I don't mind treating something in a way that makes it more palatable. I don't see much wrong with bumping up the level of veggie power in pasta sauce (adding pureed veggies) -- I'm still exposing my kids to plenty of plain ol' veggies. But I wouldn't lie about what's in something, especially if it were for an adult who might have restrictions for any number of reasons (vegetarian/religious/allergies).

        That being said, I checked one of the books out from the library when my kids were younger, and wasn't interested in following the plan laid out (lots of pureeing in batch and freezing in small portions). I'd rather keep exposing them to a variety of food. And when we have brownies, they're brownies, not some weirdly textured hidden spinach weirdness.

        4 Replies
        1. re: momjamin

          I agree, I only lied by omission...my three year old did not need to know there was "stuff" in that milkshake or that mix of pasta. I only put healthy things in there that you wouldn't taste and that I knew they might reject outright if I announced it.

          I would think that anyone could taste liver from across the room! Hiding strong tasting things by trickery would almost do the opposite of what you would want. Like- making your kid phobic and rightly paranoid about trying anything you cooked. That is really a dumb tactic in my book.

          1. re: momjamin

            I didn't realize this feud actually saw the inside of a court room or that a judge threw it out but I clearly remember the first cookbook was written by a woman who didn't have a famous husband and that much of the media buzz surrounding the book was the claim that the Seinfeld's were completely unaware of the other author, Sneaky Chef's work, which Sneaky Chef didn't believe.

            As for disguising or hiding vegetables or anything considered less than child-friendly, I don't subscribe for the main reason that teaching my children how to cook/bake is a big part of learning how to fend for oneself and those lessons would be lost if we couldn't be totally honest about food/menu/preparation. Some people grow up their whole lives not liking certain foods, but just own it....don't disguise it.

            1. re: HillJ

              I don't know how Seinfeld or publishers could have not known, since the other author was on national T.V. with her book and techniques before her, on The View, I think, or Today.

              1. re: mcf

                Oh I agree mcf...but I didn't want to sidetrack the thread.

          2. I agree that it's not mean, but it is unnecessary. Few kids starve or refuse to eat veggies for life.
            Give them a multivitamin daily, put good food on their plates, and try to have them at least taste everything once before issuing a thumbs down. Fighting over it or being obsessed with sneaking it into them may be all good intentioned, but is kind of obsessive about winning control from your kids over their bodies.

            24 Replies
              1. re: mcf

                I once read a statistic that I considered quite extra-ordinary: a child typically has to be exposed to a food somewhat less than 30 times before he/she will accept and eat it. (I suspect the author is talking about food like spinach or broccoli rather than ice cream) Assuming this number is anywhere close to the truth, a parent might as well get started making a dent in that total. Perhaps the first author had read similar information which is why she recommends serving the recognizable vegetable along with the hidden version.

                Incidentally, I'm not so naive as to assume that for all children serving #29 will be rejected totally and serving #30 will be totally consumed. I've shared this rather large statistic so people are mentally prepared for an acceptance process that will be very long and gradual.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  In my experience, this is very true. Again, as you said, not saying exact numbers of exposures will do the trick but that it is a long process of repeated exposure.

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    I've heard that stat and find lots of truth in it, too. My #1 son has problems with texture in particular, and will tell you he's "allergic" to all vegetables. But because #2 son likes broccoli, we serve that regularly, and #1 son will now eat a floret or two without the dramatics of old.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      I've heard that statistic, too, and I really wonder how they came up with it. Obviously, it varies a lot from child to child and family to family.

                      1. re: Indy 67

                        I've always read that it was more like 10 times, but I guess it varies. I think it is horrible, and a BIG mistake, to lie to kids (or anyone) about what is in their food. You want to establish trust. But you can also establish at least a bit of authority by insisting on at least a bite or two of everything on the plate - this way you can get to that magical 10 (or 30) number a lot earlier. And I can't tell you how often my daughter said she didn't like something, merely from the look of it, and once she had her two bites ended up finishing it off. She now eats just about everything except hard boiled eggs (which neither of her parents like either). And I mean everything: anchovies, olives, capers, escargot, curry, all fruits and vegetables, blue cheese (she said to a friend yesterday, about a cheese being tasted at a local gourmet shop "mmm, nice and stinky!" - the other 4 year old looked at her like she was crazy).

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          My mom was in the "3 more bites" camp and it worked wonders. I muscled down the bites, and she'd feel less guilty about letting me leave the rest. Every so often I'd actually like the bites and polish it off.

                          To this day however, I thank my mom for not having a sweet tooth, because we didn't have dessert as a regular deal and as a result, I'm not a sweet eater. (whole 'nother thread I know, but related to moms, heh)

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            My son would rarely (as in once in a blue moon) try something before dismissing it. I couldn't wait it out, lose the entire meal time to waiting for him to swallow a forkful of something I was offering. He never cried or threw a fit, he would just ignore the mouthful. A food battle wasn't for me. Foods he loved he'd eat in greater portions and foods he didn't want got ignored.

                            When I've witnessed parents and children actually arguing over food it upsets me. And, while I can relate to having a fussing eater in my family, I can't see the point in fighting over mouthfuls.

                            Also, back on point, I've read the cookbooks referenced here with my son and as you can imagine he finds the entire concept confusing. He'd say, why not just accept that not all foods appeal to everyone.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              >>>>why not just accept that not all foods appeal to everyone.

                              Exactly

                              1. re: HillJ

                                I guess because I started the "two bites of everything" rule as soon as my daughter started eating regular food, it has never been a fight. She might sigh, but she does it every time. I was brought up the same way, and am grateful to my mother for making sure I knew what it was that I was refusing.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  It was a one taste rule in our house, no angst, no contentiousness. If she didn't like it, my child could get herself something else or eat around the offending food. No demanding she taste it again next time it showed up, and I tried to make sure there was something she'd eat or something easy for her to get herself.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    exactly - as long as there is other stuff on the plate (or that the child can get him/herself) then it isn't a big deal to just ask for a bite or two and let them leave the rest if they don't like it.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I found that it actually led to more willingness to try new things, many of which were accepted and enjoyed, because there weren't any control issues involved. She always was and is a very adventurous eater, but her preferences varied with age and experience.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        Control issues are a baaad idea with food, aren't they? Especially girls, I'm guessing. At this point Lulu (almost 5) actually loves it when people come up to her in restaurants and praise her for being so adventurous.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Sounds like you both have it much easier than I did with my son. I don't believe it's gender specific boys or girls tho. Some kids, some adults are just fussy beyond understanding. In my sons case early on, no meant no...and although his eating habits are still evolving as he grows up, I'm quite willing to accept his food limits and focus on his overall well being. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Often that intense fussiness is due to texture issues, a not uncommon reason for food fussiness. I have a grown niece who, before college, ate nothing but bagels, cream cheese, mac and cheese, never a veggie, piece of fruit, meat... she now branches out a bit to chicken, but she has described the issue as sensory. Her aunt, my SIL, ate nothing but McDs (FIL would have to take her out for it before meals) or white bread or a roll and turkey with salt til after college, now she's an adventurously eating adult. The sensory issue is very common. I don't think it's got anything to do with parental issues or even food attitudes. It's how it makes them feel to put it in their mouths.

                                            And you're right to just respect his process and just love him. :-)

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              mcf, quite true about the texture aspect of food. Smooth or rough, our son has always mentioned the feel of food both in the hand and in the mouth was the culprit.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                I prefer to *cook* things whose texture I like. I don't much care to touch raw meat, so I don't cook it that much. I don't avoid it completely because there are things made of meat that I like to eat, but if I never had to touch it, it wouldn't bother me.

                                                Somehow, touching fish doesn't bother me, except for lobster and calamari.

                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                              My litte one use her first four teeth for calamari and garlic bread. :-)

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                calamari is a BIG hit, isn't it? Fried and tasty - what's not to like?

                                                I agree that a lot of people have textural issues with food - things like okra and eggplant can make some people very nervous. I personally love both, but I do get it. What I don't get is stuff like people who have to have only white or tan food on their plate. Now THAT, to me, is just weird. And I've seen it in action.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Calamari marinara or fra diablo, more like it, not fried. :-) Have you seen folks who have to smell every bite of food before tasting?

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    No, thank goodness. That must be incredibly gross to watch. Every single bite? You know, I probably do some weird stuff when I'm eating alone (I used to lick all my chips before eating them - why???). I hope I never carry that stuff over to public eating.

                                                    very good on the marinara or diablo! Lulu hasn't tried those yet, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem. The fried stuff is on her favorites list. Sushi (salmon roe with quail egg) and kalamata olives top the list though.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Impressive palate!

                                                      I think the licking is about the salt..

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Probably (the salt) but still, would never want to be seen doing it in public! I've stopped now but can imagine in a moment of stress doing it without thinking.

                            2. My husband hated bananas as a child, and his mother more than once added overripe bananas to pancake batter and served the pancakes to him, assuming he would not notice the bananas. Of course, she was wrong. Bananas are still an item on my husband's very short list of things he will not eat.

                              On a rather more grisly note, there a number of myths from various traditions in which someone kills his enemy's child and feeds the flesh to the unwitting parent.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jlafler

                                Bananas -- especially ripe bananas -- have such a strong, distinctive scent that it's almost impossible to disguise them -- that's why they use banana oil to test the fit respirators: because it's detectable and identifiable in very small concentrations (and harmless).

                              2. Whether it's your kid or a complete stranger, is it a good idea to deceive a person about what they are eating?
                                Wouldn't *you* object?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: blue room

                                  Exactly. My mom tried this trick exactly once. She used to make steak and kidney pie and I hated (still do) kidneys. So she would cut mushrooms into the same shape and size as the kidneys hoping I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. This only resulted in a huge mistrust of all these kinds of dishes for years much to her chagrin. And I turned out to be pretty omnivorous. Still don't like kidneys though.

                                  I don't think tricking people over food is good for your karma.

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    i think its a little different talking about kids vs. adults. Kids dont always know what is best for them (or at least not WHY it is best). adults have had time to hear it and make their decisions.

                                    i also find alot of times people (kids especially!) will SAY they dont like an item because they have heard everyone else say they dont like it (example: i "didnt like" brussel sprouts for the first 15 years of my life, but had never even tried them! those were just the example people always used of a gross food. tried them once: LOVED THEM!)

                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                      Yes Matt. And that's what I call a 'food prejudice'. Thank you.

                                  2. On another board I frequent there was a huge discussion about trying to trick ADULTS into eating foods they didn't like, started by a vegetarian who objected to her boyfriend of a year and a half's eating habits, i.e. not vegetarian. You'd be amazed at how many people were like "hide them in this!"

                                    When I was a kid the only foods I actively disliked were beets (still don't like them) and seafood (I've gotten better with that but there's still some I don't eat). Mom didn't fight on the beets but we were Catholic and we got into some epic struggles because Mom insisted on serving fish and I tried to point out that you just couldn't eat meat. Finally Mom threw up her hands and taught me how to cook pasta and everyone was happy.

                                    1. Some people have food prejudices- opinions without ever having tried the food. In that case, it's ok to trick them into trying it.

                                      My niece was like this growing up. One time we made homemade mac & cheese and put tuna in it. We all commented on how yummy it was. She piped in 'and the chicken in it was good'. We all kept mum.

                                      Another time we weaned her and her brother off whole milk by rinsing out the whole milk carton and pouring in 2%. After a while we just put out the 2% milk in its proper carton. When they balked, we told them they'd been drinking it for weeks without noticing so...

                                      19 Replies
                                      1. re: pdxgastro

                                        Still not ok. Especially since it seems like the entire family acted in concert to lie to this girl. Once she figures this out, she's bound to wonder - and with good reason - what else you're lying about.

                                        1. re: small h

                                          Gee, dramatic much? She got better. At college she was shamed into trying new foods by her peers. Today she is a 30 yr old who not only eats but cooks a variety of foods.

                                          1. re: pdxgastro

                                            I wasn't going for drama, actually. I just don't see why people feel the need to trick other people into eating things, especially in such an elaborate fashion, and one which sets up an us-against-you situation. That just seems cruel.

                                            I get that it's a pain in the ass when kids won't eat what's offered to them, but we all have our likes and dislikes, and we're entitled to them. My college roommate was an insanely picky eater. But I would never have dreamed of "shaming" her into trying something, because that's not what friends do. And if it took your niece 'til college to expand her culinary horizons, it seems like her family's efforts didn't quite have the desired effect.

                                            1. re: small h

                                              +1, on all points. What is the deal with folks who'll stoop to trickery to get something into someone else's body?

                                          2. re: small h

                                            Like Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy...

                                            I'm anti-santa myself, but parents lie to their kids, period.

                                            1. re: sommrluv

                                              Not a good analogy. Kids remember those fondly and love passing them along to their own kids for that reason, but not so with the sort of trickery involved in what we're discussing. Been there, done that, learned never to trust the adults around me.

                                              1. re: sommrluv

                                                I'm Jewish, so Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny didn't figure into my upbringing. And I caught on to the Tooth Fairy thing early, because I'm a light sleeper. Plus, my parents were (and are) generally straight shooters - they didn't lie to me when I was 6, and they don't lie to me now. But that's neither here nor there. Telling kids cute stories that they can one day tell their kids is a charming way to preserve a tradition. Pretending one food is another food does...what, exactly? Makes the pretender feel smug about getting one over on the pretendee? I honestly can't see the upside.

                                                1. re: small h

                                                  "is a charming way to preserve tradition"

                                                  and convincing kids to eat traditional dishes/foods with a similar (and much less elaborate) lie is somehow different? if you're gunna be against lying to kids, you have to be against the holidays-are-often-based-around-this-lie and the i-only-wanna-lose-a-tooth-for-tooth-fairy-money type lie before you are against the that-food-you-like-isnt-chicken-but-something-similar type lie! one can ruin an entire time of year for a child (and talk about distrust! NO SANTA??) vs what?

                                                  at worst, the kid doesnt like the dish swap, so you tell them you just wanted to see what they thought of it, and wont do it again, and at best, the kid likes the new food and 1) has expanded their horizons and 2) has often started liking a healthier food! (cuz really... do we ever sneak non-healthy foods in?)

                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                    <and convincing kids to eat traditional dishes/foods with a similar (and much less elaborate) lie is somehow different?>

                                                    That's a strange idea. Let's say your family traditionally serves sweet potatoes with marshmallows on Thanksgiving, and one of your little nieces says she hates sweet potatoes. Does everyone else at the table start calling the sweet potatoes something else? Does grandma run back into the kitchen to hide the sweet potatoes in a batch of brownies?

                                                    Also, convincing is not lying. Convincing involves arguing in favor of, say, sweet potatoes. Lying involves pretending sweet potatoes are not sweet potatoes.

                                                2. re: sommrluv

                                                  Well, actually, my parents never told me any of those things were real. They felt very strongly that to say "___ is real" when it wasn't would be a lie.

                                                  They never hid food from us either. Deception, even for a good cause, is still deception. And with kids, what's the point? Just a risk-benefit analysis out to put you down on the side of not sneaking it in. If the Nazis are at your door asking if you're hiding Jews, then lie for sure -- the good outcome (and the potential negative outcome) far outweighs the deception. But is it really worth using up your lifetime quota of lies just to sneak a couple tablespoons of butternut squash into your kid's stomach? In that case, the potential positives (largely the nutrition -- but again, we're talking a couple tablespoons, max) don't come close to balancing out the fact that you're intentionally deceiving your kid. Give 'em a vitamin, put the broccoli on their plate, and move on.

                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                    <Give 'em a vitamin, put the broccoli on their plate, and move on.>

                                                    You could slap that on a t-shirt and make yourself a fortune.

                                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                                      I don't have kids, so I guess my opinion in this particular matter don't count. But I basically raised my nephew for the first half of his life, and his sole diet when he was not with me was mcnuggets and fries.

                                                      So, anything that wasn't salty/fatty/breaded he refused to it. I did lie to him many times to get him to eat something like baked butternut squash, telling him it was french fries cooked a little different. I know I did it with other things but I can't remember.

                                                      Which does make me a hypocrite I guess because I don't believe in lying to kids about Santa, but sometimes you do things for a child's own well being.

                                                      But I would usually tell him at the end of the meal..."Did you like that? Well, it was this and it's better for you, will give you the energy of superman" etc whatever. It was never a problem.

                                                      I'm also not one of those people who believe in making five different meals for a family because the kids are "picky eaters". They eat what's in front of them, or they go hungry. period.

                                                    2. re: sommrluv

                                                      My parents told me the truth right from the start about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (oh, and their belief that there was no God). Do I respect this decision? Mostly I just wish I'd had a year or two of thinking there was some magic in the world. I don't carry it around a lot though.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        I think there's a way to be honest while still preserving the magic of childhood -- and my parents, bless 'em, found that way. They didn't teach us to believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy as real things, but they taught us to pretend and imagine them as fun, silly games -- like fairy tales or Aesop's fables or story books -- that were just part of how they demonstrated their love for us in a hundred different ways. IOW, we don't just love you when we're being solemn, or when we're in "the real world," we love you when we're playing "let's pretend," and when we're wrapping up presents from Santa and making baskets from the Easter Bunny and hiding notes in your lunch box and putting new pajamas on you while you're asleep just because.

                                                        I think it's good to have a general principle of not lying to your kids, but I think there are more and less harsh ways of telling the truth! :)

                                                      2. re: sommrluv

                                                        My friends thought I was crazy to be anit-santa.... what a LIE! And never tried to fool the chow pup into eating anything. He loved salad, pickles and broccoli as a 3 year old. He tried everything with no problem. Now 25 years later, he eats everything.

                                                    3. re: pdxgastro

                                                      Whole milk is much better for kids than two percent. That aside, I agree you shouldn't lie to kids--or adults for that matter--about what you're feeding them. Also consider that it might not be the food itself but how it's prepared. For example, if you give me cooked mushrooms or onions I'll scarf them down. If they're raw, no way. I know people who are the opposite, love them raw, hate them cooked.

                                                      1. re: MandalayVA

                                                        Deception is just too much effort.

                                                        I won't make accommodations for a kid. He eats what the family eats or goes to bed hungry. He can pick out the onions from his salad himself, but he's eating the salad!

                                                        There are too many adults who never grew out of the phase. It's scary. I know a few people who won't eat anything healthy and will flick tiny pieces of carrots off their plate.

                                                        1. re: david t.

                                                          I don't generally make accommodations for my daughter, but I try to be humane about it. Luckily, she is not a picky eater and actively likes vegetables. If she doesn't like something after several attempts, I try to remember not to cook it for a family meal again -- just as I don't serve my husband eggplant or bananas, or insist that my sister eat soft-boiled eggs.

                                                    4. Disguised or not, I still don't think you can force anyone, young or old, to try food they don't want to try or eat certain foods they don't want to eat.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I think alot of times its not actually a matter of something that people dont like, but maybe havent tried or are wary of. most times when i am "disguising" something that i am cooking for someone, it is more because they are a little wary of trying to. for example, tuna in mac n cheese was discussed above. if someone told me "i dont like the idea of eating fish!" then i probably wont start them off with a piece of sashimi and expect to change their minds! i might start them off with tuna mac (something they dont know about presented with something they are familiar with) to sort of ease them into the idea of eating fish

                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                          m, I can relate to the part of offering someone something new to try that perhaps they don't normally try or haven't tried for any number of reasons but disguising the food in order to fool them, or get around the drama, or because you believe (meaning any of us) if your friend would just TRY it they would be reborn by it's deliciousness is not for me. I can't do that to someone even if their food habits drive me batty. It's not my nature to force, trick or surprise someone into liking food.

                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                          No, but you can persuade kids. When I was small (early 60s) our next-door neighbor's family was welcoming their 5th or 6th baby and there were some complications that kept their Mom in the hospital for a couple weeks. Two of the boys who were friends of my brothers stayed with us until she came home, I think they were about 6 and 4 at the time. The younger one was food-phobic and had eaten almost nothing but hamburgers and carrots for the past year. My Mom (psychologist) told him he had to try one tiny bite of everything we were having, if he didn't like any of it, she'd make him his burger and carrots after we'd all finished, and if he did like it he could have more. She'd put one pea or one tiny bit of broccoli, one tablespoon of whatever meat we were having on his plate and let him get on with it. Breakfast, a shred of bacon and a tablespoon of scrambled egg, or a tablespoon of oatmeal or cereal with a little sugar and milk. I think there were a bunch of times at the beginning when she did make the burger and carrots, but by the time they went home he was eating just about everything she made. Mom was a really good cook, so that helped, and I'm sure seeing all of us tucking in and enjoying the food lessened his anxiety.

                                                          1. re: pasuga

                                                            You had a nice, patient Mom. And, I'm sure this scenario happens quite often and I'm also sure disasters abound. So, good on your experience but I can tell tales of my younger son who was the worst of eaters in a house of food lovers.

                                                            As a child, he would go to great lengths to avoid foods he deemed awful (like telling his friends parents at a Halloween party that he was allergic to pumpkins because he didn't want to paint one fearing he'd also have to eat one!!) He was five years old. The Mom came running out of the house to apologize, not realizing my son had an allergy...and guess what he didn't! The scene goes down in the history books as just one in a long line of food avoidance examples that will forever be my younger son.

                                                            Today he's in college, fixing his own meals, heading to dinner with friends, shopping for himself and still avoiding a list of foods he's still not comfortable eating. He's old enough to make his way in the food world and he doesn't expect anyone to make special meals for him, he would have a hard time with anyone trying to force or trick him into eating foods he prefers not to try and he doesn't deny that it's a PAIN IN THE ASS for most people.

                                                            But, that's how he rolls and disguising his food wouldn't have worked at five and it most certainly wouldn't work today.

                                                            My family and friends know this has been a real WTF moment for a food lover like me, but that's how life goes. You don't get to make all the decisions for the people you love.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              >>>>Today he's in college, fixing his own meals, heading to dinner with friends, shopping for himself and still avoiding a list of foods he's still not comfortable eating. He's old enough to make his way in the food world and he doesn't expect anyone to make special meals for him, he would have a hard time with anyone trying to force or trick him into eating foods he prefers not to try and he doesn't deny that it's a PAIN IN THE ASS for most people.

                                                              Would you mind sharing what he *will* eat?

                                                              I have a brother who is, and was, the same way. The only foods he would eat growing up were bacon, grilled cheese (but never with bacon), PB&J, pizza, and two soups by Campbell's, Vegetarian Vegetable and tomato. That was it.

                                                              In high school, he managed to add hamburgers to his list of edibles, but only fast food hamburgers, and only plain: the burger and the roll; no ketchup, no cheese, no nothing.

                                                              He didn't get much better in adulthood. He'll actually put French fries with his hamburger, eat steak, and he'll eat pasta now.

                                                              I always find the specifics interesting with people like that.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                Ah, today he eats mainly fresh fruits, many vegetables (usually raw), chicken breast only (off bone) plain pasta, some dairy, plenty of salad meals, one particular cut off beef. Rice, potatoes only if there is no other choice.

                                                                Ironically, he loves spicy flavors. So-there is no common thread in his choices.

                                                                He's never tried fish, hamburgers, egg dishes....very particular about how food is prepared and in what combination. When it comes to condiments, sauces, toppings he is the most particular. Something about mayo weirds him out. Ha!

                                                                Growing up he was the child who had garlic bread or peanut butter for dinner while we enjoyed the full Thanksgiving dinner. Thank goodness he has no allergies.

                                                                Oh, he LOVES bread. And, something new I just noticed recently, he eating two meals a day. First around 11am and second around 5-6pm when he's cooking for himself. If he's going out to eat (& that is rarely spontaneous) the times change a bit. Both meals involve generous portions but I believe it also cuts back on the process of having to deal 3x's a day with a food plan. He does dislike having to think about food too much.

                                                                Oh how the brain works.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  >>>>Something about mayo weirds him out. Ha!

                                                                  Mayonnaise weirds me out, too. Once, when I was a child, and we were having a picnic in our back yard, someone put a silver spoon in a dish of Hellman's and this turquoise goo formed where the mayo met the spoon. I've never quite been able to put that image out of my mind when I see a jar of mayo.

                                                                  I love it when I make it myself. Whole 'nother food.

                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    Great example of making a no a yes.

                                                                    My son is full of surprises. And, as he's gotten older, a see strides. Foods he enjoys now were once on the "no" list but he got their on his own with no help from me (and I have no issue with that. What matters to me more is that he's comfortable, healthy and figuring out what works for him).