Monday, February 22, 2010

Toddler in the Kitchen

It's a known fact that toddlers are picky eaters. They are often hesitant to try new things. Lucky for me, Linus has been a really good eater trying and loving everything from tofu (foe-fu) to roasted broccoli. Lately, though, he's begun to become more skittish about new foods. Yes, he still eats foods he's been eating all along, but offer something new and he's likely to turn up his nose.

After re-reading the article "6 Food Mistakes Parents Make" from the New York Times, I decided to enact one of the data-backed suggestions. That is why tonight when I was making Pierogies with Sauerkraut and Mushrooms, a meal I was sure he'd refuse to eat, I had a 2 year old sous chef.

To say cooking alongside a toddler was easy, would be a lie. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as scary as I'd anticipated.

The meal started with making homemade sauerkraut. I'd already cut up the cabbage and added the ingredients before being inspired, but I quickly called Linus in for the stirring. We pulled a chair up to the stove. I firmly explained that the stove and pot are hot and showed him where to put his hands. Latching on to the pot handle and wielding a big plastic spoon, Linus managed to toss the top layer of cabbage around a bit. He was thrilled.

Feeling confident, I allowed Linus to get more involved. For the sautéed mushrooms, Linus was the one who poured the olive oil in the skillet, added the onions to the sizzling oil (yep, and he did so without incident), sprinkled on salt and pepper, and, once the onions had softened, added the mushrooms. Once everything was together, we set the timer and went off to play cars. It was a distracted round of car playing, as Linus had one ear listening for the timer. And when that timer did go off, he sprinted for the kitchen ready to dig into his creation.

I wish I could say that because Linus helped prepare the meal, he ate every last bite of the sauerkraut, but I can't. I can however say that he did actually have a few bites of it and even declared the mushrooms, a previously abhorred food, yummy. When compared to my original expectations for this meal, I'd say the experiment was a success though not one we'll repeat daily. Instead, we'll save this for days when I have lots of patience, a calm child, and a meal that might result in a boycott, and I'm actually looking forward to it.


Midwest Mom said...

Good for you! The sooner Linus gets to experience new tastes, the more adventurous an eater he may become. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! :D
- Julia

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ugh. I have kids who love to help cook, but they still won't eat it! They help me shop, but they still won't eat it! They help me plant & harvest, but they still won't eat it! It's such a process.