What my kids used to eat was peanut butter on crackers, pasta with parmesan, yoghurt, but only banana flavored. The dinner table was a landscape of beige.
I pushed broccoli for a while, saying, “You could pretend you are a T.Rex eating a tree!”
“T. Rexes are meat-eaters, Mom.”
“Oh, that’s right.”
Me again: “What about a Brontosaurus?”
“Who wants to be an herbivore?” They said. The dinosaurs were not on my side.
One night, after trying many different methods: the your granddad loves broccoli, the little Stevie across the street who gave you his old bike likes carrots, I became aggravated and blurted out, “You know, in this country called France, children eat frogs.”
That was it. I had them.
“What else do they do in France?”
“Well, it’s a very special place. People sit in their seats at dinner, even the children…and they have this thing called ‘conversation’ and they eat frogs and stinky cheese and the mashed livers of geese.”
“Stinky cheese!” They said in unison. “Conversation!” “Mashed livers of geese!”
“I doubt your brave enough to try it.” I angled.
“We are! We are!” So I went out and bought a big wheel of St. Nectaire and they were absolutely convulsed that it was as stinky as I said, and I said one of the things we could have a conversation about was other stinky things and we sat at the table talking for 15 minutes, a record for us.
“Let’s be French again tomorrow, Mom.”
“D’accord,” I said.
“Does that mean okay?
“That means okay, but the thing is the French love broccoli.”
They considered. Finally, they said, “Okay. We’ll eat broccoli…if we can have it with the mashed livers of geese!”
That night, my husband turned to me in bed and said, “That was masterful. Somehow you incorporated parenting, international relations, cultural relativism…and nutrition.”
“Really,” I said. “I deserve a bon bon.”
FnS Food Columnist Elizabeth Bastos is a SAHM of two under five. She used to work in corporate and foundation relations, and before that, as a writer for the Museum of Science, Boston. Now she moonlights, writing, and in her free time, she cooks complicated French pastries to tempt her children into doing what she asks. http://www.goodybastos.blogspot.com/