For breakfast, I like to have eggs on toast. Sometimes I poach them, sometimes I fry them over easy, but I like to put them on toast, break the yolk and let the toasted bread soak up all that yummy yolk. That’s not so weird you say, but wait, there’s more….
Ever since she was little, my daughter has liked to eat her eggs on toast as well. One day she asked, “Do you think I could make a sandwich?” I said “Yes, your Poppa liked to make fried egg sandwiches. They were one of his favorites.” So, following in the footsteps of her Poppa, my dad, she tried it and loved it, and was hooked. Still not weird enough, you say?! Well, hold on, our descent into weirdness begins….
It all started, many years ago, when my daughter decided to try Cheetos on her sandwich. I’m not sure if she saw someone else do it, was acting on a dare, or what, but she tried it and she liked it. Thus began her experimentation. She tried potato chips on her sandwiches and then sour cream and onion chips on her sandwiches, Fritos, Doritos, and so on. Not only do they add flavor but also crunch to her sandwiches, she says.
Of course, the next logical step was to add hashbrowns to her fried egg sandwich. I mean, wouldn’t you?!
One morning, while making our usual weekend morning breakfast of hashbrowns, eggs and toast, she noticed we were out of bread. She grumbled that she didn’t want to wait for a loaf from the freezer to thaw. My son gamely suggested using frozen waffles instead of toast and, well, you know… she loved it.
Her latest version (pictured), made just last weekend in a cast iron skillet, includes a frozen waffle, a layer of honey-nut cheerios, a layer of hashbrowns with sausage and bacon, a slice of Canadian bacon, 2 scrambled eggs, topped with another waffle.
So, is this weird enough for you?!
How did we come to this?
Well, I have to admit that it’s entirely my fault for encouraging her. Whenever she would wonder out loud what something would taste like, no matter how strange it sounded, I tried to cheerfully respond with, “Why don’t you try it and find out!” I mean, it’s only food. Right?
Often we discourage our children from trying something new without even realizing it. We make a funny face or a frown. We say, “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” or “I’ve never liked that.” When we do that the child forms an opinion before they’ve even tasted it and even when they do taste it, their tasting is “flavored” by our opinion.
So, how have I encouraged my children to broaden their palates?
I have tried not to let my personal food dislikes influence my children. Just because I don’t like peas doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try them and judge for themselves. So we served peas one night with dinner (and I was forced to “try” them again and I did so cheerfully) and my kids liked them and now we eat peas on a regular basis and you know what? I like them now also.
I have encouraged my kids to try new foods multiple times because, as we grow, our taste buds develop so something that we didn’t like a month ago, we might like today. The rule in our house is: You can’t just try a food once, declare you don’t like it, and never touch it again. You have to keep trying it.
Experiment with how foods are prepared. I never liked asparagus because I had only ever eaten it boiled. A friend of mine grilled it once and I have loved it ever since. So, just because you don’t like a food prepared one way, doesn’t mean you won’t like it prepared another way. Different cooking techniques can enhance or ruin the flavor of many foods.
And, whenever one of my children has wanted to try something new, no matter how strange it sounds to me, I have always tried to be positive and encouraging.
I am proud to say, that my two teenagers are now amazing eaters who will eat just about anything. Even while growing up, while their taste buds were developing and maturing, I would never have classified them as picky eaters.
So, encourage your children and grandchildren to try something new or to try again a food they didn’t like the last time they tried it. Try it with them (even if you don’t like it). You both might discover you like it!
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