Food Education at Home

I have two little boys (ages 3yrs, Blaise and 15 months, Calvin) and so far, to date, there’s not much they won’t eat.  Now, I don’t claim to be a parenting expert.  Actually, quite the opposite.  My 3 year old still isn’t potty trained. I’m sticking with the “late bloomer” excuse.  Every kid is different, right?  Regardless, food is a point of passion in our household, so sharing it with our kids was inevitable.  They have been known to scarf down the same meal that my husband and I are enjoying.  Sure, they eat chicken nuggets and pizza from time to time, but they also eat an inordinate amount of avocado and green beans.  They both tried and liked sardines in harissa a few weeks back.  I suppose to some extent they just didn’t have the option to be picky eaters, or maybe they were inspired by the foie they enjoyed in utero.  Or maybe, the real answer is that we’re just crazy lucky.  In general, I don’t think parents make their kids out to be picky eaters.  We just lucked out and got two little boys who love food and are privileged to have parents with access to a wide variety of ingredients and familiarity with global cuisine.  We also have a relentless ambition to expose them to foods multiple times at multiple stages, knowing that their palates are developing.  Just because one didn’t like cantaloupe last summer doesn’t mean he won’t devour an entire melon if given the opportunity this year.

Despite their varied diets, we’re always trying to incorporate more raw fruits and veggies because, you know, that’s what parents are supposed to do, right?  I recently discovered that this crazy world of Restaurant Live can help my parental cause.  My husband caught Blaise with his Playskool camera at the breakfast table, capturing the morning light cascading across his French Toast.  Aside from completely cracking us up, it made me think that giving him the opportunity to engage with his food and participate in “foodie” culture might be a way to reinforce his interest in trying new foods.  Food worth photographing, discussing on a podcast or reviewing is surely worth trying. For example, the folks from Ruby Rocket’s sent me a few boxes of their fruit and veggie pops.  Certainly, these popsicles were no stretch for a three-year-old who is obsessed with anything sweet and cold.  But, his enthusiasm mounted when I had my audio rolling and asked for his official statement on these frozen treats.  Listen in to Blaise’s thoughts on Ruby Rocket’s.


Another example, after a recent visit to Marcellino Ristorante and interviewing owners Marcellino and Sima, they gave me a bottle of their basil infused olive oil.  When I got home, I showed my little buddy and made a big deal about this special Italian gift.  That night, I mixed it with a little lemon juice and sea salt to dress a simple salad of baby kale, apples and cucumber.  Even though the kids eat a lot of green veggies, salad hasn’t been a successful venture in the past.  But, this time, he tried a few bites, and lo and behold, was a fan!  I asked him what it tasted like and what his thoughts were on it.  I treated him like a pint-sized food critic and he happily munched through the baby kale.

Like I said, I’m no parenting expert, and perhaps I’m creating a mini monster that will designate himself as a food-snob someday, but at least in the short term, it’s keeping him loaded up on Vitamin C.