Last night babygirl ate pesto pizza and broccoli for dinner. The night before that she ate a Spanish stew of
chickpeas garbanzo beans, spinach and chorizo. Why did I give her such bizarre meals? Because that’s what we were eating and babygirl doesn’t do baby food. She turns her one-year-old nose up at pureed food in a jar and begs for whatever the grown folks are consuming at the table. She sits with us at meal times, so she eats with us too. Mama meltingpot doesn’t do baby food either. Really, I have neither the time nor the energy to make separate organic baby food for my daughter. But I still want her to eat well. And since I make healthy organic meals for my family, I figure she might as well just eat the same thing. It’s a win-win situation. I don’t have to make two meals and babygirl grows up as an adventurous eater, just like her brothers.
It occurred to me though, that some people (Hi, Mom) might find it odd that I feed a one-year-old, food that is heavily spiced with smoked paprika and cumin, and liberally flavored with garlic and onions. But I always rationalize my baby food choices with the knowledge that these spices and flavors are utilized all over the world where bland, jarred baby food doesn’t even exist. In fact, some American journalist just became famous for ‘discovering’ that the French don’t make separate kids’ meals and their children are better/more versatile eaters than their American counterparts. And it goes without saying that the parents are happier too.
Well, I’m not French but I am a happy parent when it comes to meal times. I’m happy that I can take all three of my kids to any restaurant (or country ) and not be worried that if chicken fingers and fries or mac & cheese aren’t on the menu, that they’ll go hungry. Or worse, that they’ll throw tantrums.
At the end of the day, I think picky eaters are made not born. My kids are all very versatile eaters, because I’ve been a lazy parent since day one. I’ve never made separate meals, so they never got the idea that the grown-up food wasn’t meant for them. In fact, the concept of grown-up food is a completely foreign concept in our house. And I’ve never, ever bought into the idea of hiding complex flavors into kid-friendly food ( I’m talking to you, Jessica Seinfeld). What is the point of sneaking spinach into brownies? Then your kid never learns how to appreciate vegetables. Babygirl has been eating collard greens since she was nine months old. She didn’t seem to mind the slightly bitter taste. She gobbled them right up. I didn’t do anything special. I just gave them to her. (And yes they were stir-fried with garlic and olive oil). She has no idea that American babies are only supposed to eat green beans and peas.
So, what about you dear readers? Are your kids versatile eaters? What goes down at your house during mealtime? Do you hide vegetables in the brownies? Are picky eaters born or made? What do you think?