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Cooking for kids, and adults. Any ideas?

 
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roofermike



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Lynn, Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject: Cooking for kids, and adults. Any ideas? Reply with quote

Kids in general are picky eaters. My kids particularly are not, but between the 2 kids and of course us parents, I've found it difficult to find common ground. With kids, its not only the taste that matters, first it has to look good. Then it has to taste good. Plus, it has to have a texture that pleases them. Probably the same for all people. I love peaches but the fuzz sends shivers down my spine for some reason so I eat nectarines instead, for example.

So, my question is; any can't miss ideas on cooking for a whole family? I regret eating out so much now mostly because its hard to get my kids to try different foods. Everything I've made, they said they liked, but getting them to taste it at first is a battle not easily won. That they don't recognize it in their little heads equates to somethings wrong with it.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Cooking for kids, and adults. Any ideas? Reply with quote

roofermike wrote:
Kids in general are picky eaters. My kids particularly are not, but between the 2 kids and of course us parents, I've found it difficult to find common ground. With kids, its not only the taste that matters, first it has to look good. Then it has to taste good. Plus, it has to have a texture that pleases them. Probably the same for all people. I love peaches but the fuzz sends shivers down my spine for some reason so I eat nectarines instead, for example.

So, my question is; any can't miss ideas on cooking for a whole family? I regret eating out so much now mostly because its hard to get my kids to try different foods. Everything I've made, they said they liked, but getting them to taste it at first is a battle not easily won. That they don't recognize it in their little heads equates to somethings wrong with it.


I have 2 boys, 6 & 11. My first gut reaction is to cook for yourself, but leave out the chile peppers. This will be your common ground. It's worked for a handful of friends and co-workers. One of which was the executive chef at Chez Panisse for many years. A co-worker's son loves oysters right out of the shell. This method does work.

However, my downfall was leaving the boys with family. One of which fed them canned soup, Top Ramen and frozen pizza. And that my friend, was that. Since that day it's been a hell ride getting anything new down their throats. It's all about hamburgers, pork chops, mashed taters, kraft macky cheese, steamed broc and sometimes green beans. My secret weapon is butter and salt. Even that failed on steamed carrots though (I added honey too!).

Do the best you can, show them through example and be patient. It's only in the last year or so that the older one has been willing to try new things. His newest favorite is the marinated Mexican flank steak with bell peppers and onions in tortillas. The little one is content with buttered toast for dinner, no kidding. He's fine with that. Sigh.

Biggles
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:22 pm    Post subject: Let Them Eat Cake Reply with quote

My girls are 2 and 6, and are generally good eaters. But, unless I serve pizza every day, it's unlikely that every meal will fulfill the whimsical fancy of each tyke.

So, my tendencies lie in Dr. Biggles camp: I generally cook for the adults, without the chiles (they can be served as a supplement at the table). However, I do tailor our normal meals over the course of a week to make sure that each kid will have adequate opportunity to see some of their favorite vegetables or fruits. One likes steamed broccoli and frozen peas, and the other raw carrots and sweet peppers. And I will frequently include starches that both girls enjoy such as jasmine rice, pasta, or grilled bread. That way I'm sure they stuff some nutrients down their gullets and still fill their bellies sufficiently to keep them out of the snack pantry.

I don't think it's as important at a young age to hit all the vital food groups with each meal. I tend to look at their diets more on a daily basis (sometimes even a weekly basis) than an hourly one. And most importantly, I constantly place healthy meals on the table and pleasantly encourage them to be eaten. It doesn't always work out, and Cheerio's and peanut butter sandwiches end up on the table while my wife tries to choke down shredded brussel sprouts both kids refuse to eat (they were sauteed with bacon, she should have loved them). But at some point, probably when I'm too old to realize it, I am convinced the foundation for healthy eating will cement itself in place, and they too will try, if not enjoy, the brussel sprout.

Sometimes they are more willing to try new stuff that they have helped to cook. I don't let them near heat or sharp objects, but they love to measure (even if it's pre-measured), pour things in bowls, stir, and knead. And holy cow, if a button needs to be pressed on a blender, food processor, or microwave, fist-a-cuffs are possible. It adds a secondary interest level to meals that sometimes over rides their disgust for new adventures.

No success for me here, but some folks have success in recreating meals their kids enjoyed in a restaurant.

ps: I'm also with you on the peach fuzz. Wooden tongue depressers too.
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youngcook



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 97
Location: GA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find macn'cheese, sweet corn,and chicken to be our agreement point. Big smile
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Pickles



Joined: 19 May 2006
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a parent by a long shot, I would love to be one however but I digress

My nephew is a picky eater, an absolute pain in the ****, For his mother Smile
But for me he will try anything with the understanding that if he doesn't like it, he doesn't have to eat it. He scoffs everything down even eating more then me on many occasions.

I have found the same with all kids who come into this house. Try it, ya don't like it, you don't have to eat it, I can count on one hand how many things have been rejected.
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The Yakima Kid



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject: Feeding Kids: The good, the bad, and the ridiculous Reply with quote

I agree with Pickles.

Another important thing to remember is that children are more sensitive to flavors than adults; if you look back in your own lives you'll probably find that today you enjoy foods that as a child made your stomach turn.

A classic that many children will eat is good old canned or frozen mixed vegetables. Try slicing carrots and other vegetables before cooking in order to make them look less overwhelming on the plate. Stews and soups often go down well; Yankee pot roast without horse radish or with reduced horse radish is one dish many children like.

Experiment, and take the advice of experts with a grain of salt. One of the classics of school food service is to cut oranges into wedges because of the assumption that children will throw the oranges if given the whole fruit. Naturally, no one has actually tested whether or not the use of oranges as a weapon of mass destruction is actually a significant problem since this assumption is very well established and unquestioned. Meanwhile, many schools routinely serve whole apples without fear of their illicit conversion to weaponry. Obviously, the old rule of not comparing apples with oranges is taken very literally in food service circles.

The end result is that children don't eat the orange wedges in the school lunch since children are repulsed by the dried surfaces and are squeamish about foods heavily handled by people they don't know well. I've often thought that school districts could save money on labor by simply pouring the tax dollars spent on oranges directly into the garbage. Anger

I've seen parents take an entire gaggle of seven year olds to an expensive and elaborate restaurant for a birthday party and then be outraged when the children don't eat their food and express dislike. Considering how cautious children are about new foods; it seems only reasonable that expensive new foods in a new location are probably not going to be any more popular with the kids than inexpensive new foods are back at the house.

So experiment, and try whatever you think will work. Ask the kids why they don't like something; they can often be very expressive and if you listen instead of arguing you'll likely find some tips in the discussion.
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
take the advice of experts with a grain of salt


Worth repeating. On this topic, there is no such thing as an expert.
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