My parents had some good friends that I will always remember and think of fondly. One family, in particular, we got together with often and our evening usually centered around a meal. We had barbecues, picnics, and dinners with them every few weeks or so. Since neither family had relatives in the immediate area, we also spent Thanksgivings together. Where I had a sister, their family was two sons. Most people would have assumed that being boys, food was first and foremost in their thoughts. They would be wrong.
According to their mother, the only thing the boys would eat were plain hamburgers, rice, and some peas. She claimed they got sick from eating other things when they were toddlers, so this was what they always agreed to eat. Whatever we, or anyone else, was serving, knowing they would be included, those items were made for them. I am sure there must have been other foods they ate, but none were disclosed. Even at Thanksgiving, their plates did not include any of the traditional items.
I don’t know about you, but growing up in my house, that would not have happened. My mother was an excellent cook, but I know as a youngster I did not like everything that was put in front of me. I wasn’t made to eat everything, but I was expected to at least give it a try. I learned that looks could be deceiving when a vegetable I was sure would taste awful turned out to be one of my favorites.
My own children learned early on that I was not a short order cook. They were presented with many different vegetables, meats, and fruits. Some were received better than others, and the ones that obviously met with their disapproval were not offered very often. Of course, as they aged, even many of those were eaten without a fuss.
It has been enlightening to watch my grandchildren going from baby food to toddler food to basically anything on the food spectrum. My daughters were presented with many more options to feed their babies and toddlers than I had when feeding them. They had recipes for baby food using only organic produce. They spent hours making and freezing different vegetables for their infants. Different organic options became available in stores which went from infant through toddler meals. There was rarely something they didn’t like – even though some of the combinations sounded dreadful to me.
Their tastes seemed to change as they aged. Suddenly, their menus were limited to a small assortment of main dishes and virtually no vegetables – unless you count French fries. I was a bit concerned with their eating habits until I realized that they were getting vegetables and fruits without knowing it. Food manufacturers must have children of their own to have developed so many different ways to get these nutrients into children and adults alike. It is a win-win for everyone.
I have also noticed that as my grandchildren age, their food choices have also matured. Our 13-year-old granddaughter loves sushi and other Asian foods along with most everything her parents fix. She is also becoming a wonderful cook. Her 10 and seven-year-old brothers have also expanded their food horizons. I am sure their younger cousins will follow suit and start to enjoy new foods and taste experiences.
I am not concerned with their nutritional diets. They are all healthy and growing. Their parents don’t have to deal with temper tantrums over food because they know they are getting what their bodies need. It would have been wonderful if these options had been around for my daughters’ generation and mine.
As for my parents’ friends’ sons…my mother met up with the younger one while on a visit back to Virginia. They had lunch together, and Mom reported that he no longer ate just hamburgers, rice, and peas (as we all assumed he wouldn’t.) He showed her a picture of his older brother and, according to her, he wasn’t either!