Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Relish Tray

Thanksgiving came and went. We survived. I mean, really, it's a fairly painless holiday. You eat and drink and eat and watch football and drink and eat and drink and eat and eat.

People talk about the Thanksgiving meal for weeks ahead of time. The proper turkey technique is debated, to brine or not, to stuff or not, to deep fry or not. Recipes are shared. Every morning show and cooking channel attempts to teach you how to prepare the easiest and tastiest Thanksgiving meal. Everyone has their favorite dish, the one aspect that makes it Thanksgiving dinner. For me it's a trifecta: mashed potatoes, stuffing, and dumplings. Without all three, it's just not Thanksgiving.

But, this isn't about me. Surprise, surprise...it's about Alice. Wanna know how much she liked Thanksgiving dinner? Wanna know what she ate? Pickles. And a roll. Not a roll with butter. No, she wouldn't try that roll. Just a plain roll. And approximately ten dill pickle slices. To say my daughter is picky is an understatement.

There were twenty four people seated at dinner, all of them piling food on their plates, the waist band on their pants stretched to maximum capacity. People helping themselves to seconds or thirds and Alice is only eating off the relish tray.

How is possible that my child will eat guacamole and hummus and gazpacho, but will not eat mashed potatoes? Or a roll with butter for that matter? When I was three years old, my mother walked into the kitchen one day to find me on the counter eating from a tub of butter. I was eating butter by the fingerful, but my child wouldn't eat a roll because of it.

I'm starting to feel she isn't going to make it in the world, survival of the fittest. She won't eat chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, or french fries. No hot dogs, or fish sticks, or grilled cheese sandwiches. I can't make her try tacos or lasagna. She's never going to be invited to any sleepovers. Her friend's mothers are going to talk about picky Alice. She won't try fish or crab or any other seafood besides shrimp, ergo it won't be long before my family will ostracize her. In no time, she'll be banished from society completely. And to think it could've been avoided if she would've just eaten Thanksgiving dinner when she was four years old.


  1. First of all, Alice- you're my hero! Rolls and pickles are the way to go! I don't butter my rolls either (lactose allergy.)

    Second of all, relax. She'll get over it. I wouldn't eat anything orange or blue until I was 6. I would pick out the offensive cereal bits, candies, fruits,veggies, etc. and not take a single bite until they had been banished. Usually to the dog. (Another great reason to have a dog!)

    I've got a policy with these girls that I learned from my aunt: the thank you bite. The basic idea is that everyone at the table has to take one bite of everything (allergies being excepted)and say thank you to whoever made the meal. You can start small. If there are 4 things that Alice doesn't want to eat, let her choose 1 to take a thank you bite, and let her determine how much goes on her spoon. Explain the idea in a non-threatening space, like while coloring or using the potty. That way she won't feel like you're springing this on her and forcing her into it. The most important thing is, once she takes the bite and says thank you, she doesn't have to eat anymore. She can, but she doesn't have to. This will give her a sense of control over meals and hopefully encourage her to branch out a bit. If it doesn't work, start looking at the pageant circuit and see if TLC is looking for Toddlers in Tiaras families!!

    1. We use "every good dinosaur tries one little bite" from the How Do Dinosaurs book series. It doesn't always work, case in point thanksgiving dinner.

  2. Haha, my little sister used to eat sticks of butter when she was a preschooler. My mom had to hide them from her. Now, at 17, she's a contracted model and skinny as a rail... Life's not fair. Haha.

    At least Alice ate! Gabe was too excited to eat anything. Trinity ate well (she loves turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, broccoli, fruit, and all the other stuff that we do for Thanksgiving). Simon stuffed fistfuls of mashed potatoes into his mouth like it was his job. And my cousin's son, who is exactly the same age as Gabe, devoured the food on his plate face-first, like the kid in A Christmas Story. It was hysterical. I figure if I got two of my three to eat, I did okay.

    And I love Caitlyn's idea of the "thank you bite!" My parents made us do something similar. We had to try a bite of everything before we could leave the table. If we hated it, fine, but we weren't permitted to get up until we'd tasted everything. I discovered so many foods I love that I originally turned my nose up at by taking those "single" bites. Another bonus is less food waste. If you like something, you can take more, but if you genuinely dislike it, you're not tossing out a full serving.

    1. Don't you love that one child at the table, eating everything making your child look entirely more picky than she really is?

  3. Oh dear! If she doesn't start building up her defences to preservatives and additives now, she'll never survive those turbulent teenage years of Pizza Hut and McDonalds takeaway!

  4. You make me laugh!!! I love your stories!