The Food Paradox

by Idaho Dad on February 24, 2012

What kid doesn’t have some food they just absolutely won’t eat?

For most kids, it’s foods like liver, spinach, and cauliflower that cause dramatic wailing and gagging at the dinner table. No amount of persuasion and bribery can get them to eat that stuff.

My own childhood culinary nightmares included squash, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms. Those three items just happen to be the last holdouts from a long list of foods that I eventually grew to appreciate.

Tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cabbage, olives, broccoli. Hated them as a kid, love them now. At some point, perhaps in college, my tastebuds grew up. I’m actually kind of surprised at the wide variety of things I’ll eat these days. Pretty much anything, except for the still-hated squash, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms.

My kids aren’t any different than others their age. They have their “Will Not Eat Even If Starving” lists. Neither of them will touch a mushroom, and I long ago stopped wasting asparagus on them.

But there is a strange paradox with their likes and dislikes.

They’ll smother everything with ketchup, but they shrink in fear from the tiniest bit of tomato.

Onions are despised, while onion rings are a delight.

I’m so thankful both kids love broccoli, but only when steamed. Never raw.

On the other hand, raw carrots are a favorite daytime snack. But cooked carrots are tasteless mush.

A spinach salad gets pushed away, but at Subway they ask the sandwich guy for extra spinach on their turkey subs.

Iced tea is a summer treat. Hot tea is a foul concoction.

Breakfast sausage is a great way to start the day, while Italian sausage is a great way to ruin a pizza.

I point this all out to my kids, but they just shrug their shoulders at the contradictions. I don’t worry about it. They eat well, and what they won’t eat now I’m sure will appeal to their palate as they mature. It actually took me many years into adulthood before I would willingly eat a tomato. I mean, it was just a few years ago that I stopped picking them out of my sandwich. Now I love them.

My kids can keep hating brussels sprouts, though. Those things are nasty.

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