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Food on trial: acceptance v. squash

December 1, 2010
 |  by Krista

Food on trial: acceptance v. squash

Question: What do squash, green pancake batter, and Asian and Polish food have in common?
Answer: An initial “Yuck!” response from my kids.

It was a week of culinary testing in our household. We dove into the Fun with Food idea called “Understanding Cultural Differences.” The kids never knew what was going to be on their plate at mealtime! One night, we made an old Polish seafarers dish of corned beef fried with onions, then mixed with mashed potatoes. Pickle juice was added for a bit of tang; then it was crowned with a fried egg. Now, let me assure you that we also had regular mashed potatoes and meatballs prepared because we didn’t really expect the kids to love the “test dish.”

At first we were met with wide-eyed “You’ve got to be kidding” stares. You know the look. But with a bit of prompting, they each accepted “just a taste” to try. Jessica insisted on dousing hers with ketchup. Rob and I were delighted when Benjamin’s response was, “It’s kinda good.” He even had a few more bites before diving into the meatballs. Jess was a little less forthcoming with, “It’s not my favourite, but it’s not the worst either.”

Then came spaghetti squash night. Again, the preliminary response was a screwed up face and hands over their mouths. It did help that the vegetable was in the shape of one of their favourite pastas. They both ended up eating a few tablespoons worth without too much fussing. Hmmm . . . this was going better than any of us expected.

Toward the end of the week, Rob and I took the kids to one of our favourite restaurants, a Vietnamese place. We ordered several dishes, one of which was a type of noodle with chicken – a shoo-in for kids, right? Wrong. Neither liked it. So we tried them on beef with snow peas (a veggie they normally feast on). It also got a thumbs down! Jessica firmly declared that the plain white rice was her favourite part of the meal. Ben asked for a bowl of cereal when we got home.

The final acceptance test came when Rob did the “Water and Oil” (Science with a Twist) experiment. I wasn’t there to see it, but he reported that the explanation about the Holy Spirit bringing harmony and peace to help the water and oil “accept” each other went well. Jessica, however, was absolutely repulsed by the green batter. But once she had a bite of the freshly fried pancakes, she raved about how they were the best she had ever tasted (next to her grandpa’s!).

In each instance, Rob and I encouraged the kids to keep an open mind. Thankfully, some of the food tests went over well and we were able to teach about not judging by appearance. That transitioned into a discussion about how we need to really get to know people before we form too many opinions about them. The need for acceptance is starting to sink in.

Related Lesson: Acceptance