Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miss Little Picky Eater

(My four-year-old daughter enjoys deconstructed beef & vegetable soup because she does NOT like soup)

Dining with a four-year-old is a form of torture. In fact, if you peruse the Geneva Accords, it's listed right after waterboarding as a form of torture prohibited by civilized countries. At the family dinner table, my four-year-old daughter tests my patience and pushes me to the brink of insanity. Her turned up nose and a constant string of comments/questions burrow under my skin:

  • Why can't we have chicken nuggets?
  • Do I have to eat everything?
  • This is too spicy.
  • I don't like grill marks.
  • What's this speck on my food? Is it a spice or herb? What is thyme? (I actually don't mind these questions, but they're often used as a diversion tactic)
  • It's too hot!
  • I'm waiting for my food to cool?
  • I'm not hungry.
  • Do I have to it?
  • How much?
  • What's for dessert?
  • If I don't eat my dinner, can I still have dessert?
  • But I want dessert?
  • Can I have some more milk?
  • Do I have to eat it?
  • How much do I have to eat?
  • Then can I have dessert?
After being barraged with my daughter finickiness, I have to push myself away from the table, so that I'm not tempted to grab a fork or knife and poke my eye out in effort to end my misery. I exercise restraint because I know that this would traumatize my daughter and an eye patch would look unbecoming on me.

Of course, I'm exaggerating my daughter's dinner table antics a bit. She's actually not a terrible eater. When it comes to eating vegetables, I never have to fight her. In many ways, she's an ideal diner to cook for because she sincerely appreciates a good meal, and like me, an anticipated meal can be the focal point of her entire day. Sometimes she breaks into an impromptu song and dance that praises an impending meal. Shouldn't all good food be greeted with song and dance? When she experiences a good meal, she lavishly praises my efforts. She's a kinder, gentler, esteem-lifting version of an Iron Chef judge. As you know, it's enjoyable to cook for someone who appreciates a good meal.

A few weeks ago, my daughter lifted my spirits after I prepared the Fried Apples in Bourbon Caramel Sauce recipe that Sarah over at Fritter posted. After tasting the apples, she set down her spoon. Her eyes widened, a mega-watt smiled beamed across her face, and she said "Mmmmm! This is quite delicious. How did you make this?"

As we enjoyed the last of our apples, we talked about the recipe and made plans to gather at the stove soon to cook as father and daughter. Tomorrow I'll share my experience cooking with her.
Try a little tenderness,


Marianne said...

She's adorable. I miss my picky eater, Logan. He made me a better chef.

muddywaters said...


Thanks for the comment. You're right; someday I'll long for the day when she was my Little Picky Eater. I just need to shift my attitude.

Also, you're right about cooking for a picky eater. It's making me a better cook. I'm learning to utilize vegetable in more creative ways.


Kate said...

Adorable. The whole post made me laugh. Your patience is admirable. I remember sitting at the table until my food was cold as a kid trying to see if I could last longer than my parents. Especially when spinach was on the plate.