What’s for Dinner?

We thought we were being so clever: my Mom and I would rename food and my five year old daughter would eat it, no questions asked.

And before anyone mentions it, I have read the research. I know that I shouldn’t ‘hide’ food or trick my daughter in to eating it. Right. Because ‘she will eat when she’s hungry’. Well, maybe. But here’s the thing: I am SICK of cooking and having her not eat it. And guess what? She didn’t eat when she was hungry. She WHINED when she was hungry. And why wouldn’t she? What indiciation have I ever given her in her short life that I would leave her hanging? None. NONE. So what would make her think that I wouldn’t come up with a dinner that didn’t elicit a turned up nose and loud and well pronounced: “I’m not eating that!”? Nothing.

Plan B.

I renamed the food and added cranberry sauce. To everything. It’s the only condiment that she’ll eat.

I am lucky that she does like certain things that are really good for her: apples, avocado, edamame, tofu. Unfortunately, she also likes white rice, but entire countries cannot be wrong about that… So Mom and I built on what we had in front of us and went with the second MAJOR lesson I learned in business (after ‘Start as you mean to finish’, which wasn’t going to work with the stubborn-girl). It is: “Perception is reality”.

How so? Let me tell you. Stir-fried chicken breast became “Santa’s Chicken”. Why? Because she loves Santa. One could therefore deduce that she would enjoy eating the same food as Santa. One would be right. Her perception of eating the same food as Santa made my reality a lot better. Empty plate.

Quesedillas? “Mexican Grilled Cheese”. She loves grilled cheese sandwiches. I added a twist. Ta-dah!

Now how to add shellfish? Scallops. Panko crusted scallops.

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I borrowed from 80’s tuna fish marketing: Chicken of the sea. Perfect! It’s got crunchy coating, it doesn’t taste fishy; it was perfect. And I put cranberry sauce on it (oh yes I did).

Five bites in, Nikki looks at Grandma and asks: “How did the chicken come from the sea? Chickens don’t live in the sea.”

Damn. This kid is too smart for her own good. Cake. That’s the ticket. “Eat it, Nikki. There’s Mother’s Day cake at the end of it all.” Oops. Broke another ‘rule’ about feeding my child. Plan C.

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