Picking on Picky People

I was a picky kid. There were a lot of things that I would not eat, and most of that can be traced back to my mother, who is still a picky kid (give or take a few years).

Sorry, Mom.

There were, of course, exceptions to the rule. I loved lima beans, peas, cauliflower, and other favorites from the frozen food section, but for the most part I toed the company line and stuck to the four basic food groups regarding the only things I would eat:

1. Breakfast (cereal, pancakes, waffles, bacon)
2. Hamburgers (only ketchup)
3. Tacos
4. Both kinds of cheese (Velveeta and melted Velveeta)

It was a diet of omission, and I was happy.

As I grew older I realized that the lack of taste in my taste buds was not doing me any favors. Fairly often my fear of the unknown or dislike of the familiar made for awkward dinner parties and jokes at my expense, so I sat out to overcome my ignorance of comestibles by forcing myself to face my fears—and then eat them.

To a large degree it has worked pretty well. I went from an obnoxious hatred of certain foods to an open appreciation of what they bring to the palate. Some items have moved so far up the ladder that I actually crave them. That’s progress, people!

And now I have kids. It’s all circular.

Luckily, they tend to be a bit more adventurous with the foods that they eat, and I can generally get them (see, force) to try anything once. In fact, some of their favorite items are rather surprising: hummus, exotic fruits, and any number of other foods that I never heard of until I left home (we didn’t have cable when I was a kid). Generally speaking, both of my boys are pretty good eaters.

However, it isn’t the extent of their finickiness that concerns me, but rather the core of it. The few things that they tend to despise aren’t random bites of this or that, but staples of our normal dining, like eggs and chocolate (Cadbury eggs are okay).

Technically, it is only one child that has an aversion to those items, but the effect on our lives is almost too much to bear, where too much to bear is mostly hyperbole created to increase page views. Still, who the hell doesn’t like chocolate?

It’s like I have failed as a parent.

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