2017-08-13 / Family

Did I pass down my food fussiness?

By JANINE TALBOT
Columnist

A couple of times in past columns I’ve mentioned that Second Born was a bit of a challenge when it came to her fussy eating habits. I don’t know where she got it from. I swear when I was a kid, I ate everything on my plate. Uh huh. Sure, I did. 

Recently, we were talking about how far Second Born has come with trying new foods. Though she was a late food bloomer, her eating options are far healthier than they used to be. Funny thing is that our recent conversation about the changes she’s gone through from her original three food groups (sugar, cheese, and sugar) had me remembering my own fussiness over most fare. When I was a child, I hated any type of beef, which made growing up in a meat and potatoes home difficult at times. On steak night, I would sit at the kitchen table chewing a piece of meat for 10 minutes until it was a disgusting mound of mush. My mom would finally give up in frustration (probably because she was feeling slightly nauseated just watching me drag this whole process out), and I was usually allowed to spit the offending piece out. There was nothing pretty about my steak consumption in those days. 

Then there was the time we were on a cruise. I was 10 and still not in an adventurous stage with my cuisine choices. We were on a Greek ship. There was seafood (not a chance), flaming shish kabobs (like I was going to touch that), and goats’ milk for cereal (seriously). This was going to be a long week. On one evening in particular, I had skipped dinner because it was just too sketchy for my young palate. Three hours later my stomach was rumbling. My dad, upon finding me wandering the ship teary-eyed, took my hand and tracked down someone with enough clout to dig up some fruit for me to munch on. Normal fruit. Fruit that I recognized.

Maybe what we choose to chow down on is based at least a little bit on our genetics. My side of the family is not what you’d call adventurous when it comes to dining, while Spouse’s side is game for just about anything, even anchovies on pizza. To my great relief, they order them on the side. Spouse could never be accused of being a fussy eater. He eats anything and always has, unless it has raisins in it, which is exactly how I feel about olives (yes, and anchovies).

First Born was semi-fussy as a child. As an active toddler, she had a habit of turning down what I put in front of her, but she ate at least half of what was on her dad’s plate as she sat in his lap when he came home from work each night. I know it went beyond a meal — it was also an important father/daughter bonding time, so I was happy to add a little extra to his plate for them to share. It was a win-win snacking situation. 

When Spouse and I were dating, I had to get used to a new way of eating due to a plethora of fresh vegetable choices from his family’s garden. I’m not sure you can still call it being fussy when you’re used to dining on canned green beans over garden fresh.

Remember the days when you sat at the table and weren’t allowed to leave until you ate every bit of your meal, even if it meant trying to disguise that big hunk of broccoli with a mound of mashed potatoes? That was my generation and I survived it … but if I had known I’d be told to eat less red meat as I got older, I would have had a lot more steak back in the day.

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