Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Do Kids Refuse to Eat Some Foods but Accept Them as Adults?

It's funny how things connect. I did the previous post because I had the encounter with LM on Saturday and it carried into Sunday. The next couple of days I've encountered instances where I engaged in conversation or overheard conversations with others about foods. Not just about food, but about names of foods, types of foods, tastes and preferences in preparation. So I'll fill you in on them.

So, Monday I went to the cafe at work to eat lunch that I brought from home. This is rare for me. I usually just grab something from a restaurant in the area. I sat with a colleague who usually brings her lunch from home. She was eating a dish with items that she said she disliked as a child when her Mom made them; a Chinese potato which she disliked, and a type of greens. I had fish with corn and seasoned rice - herbs and butter. We both complimented each other on the look and smell of our lunches. It was so tantalizing that we exchanged tastes of our food. Hmm, so good! Our ensuing conversation centered on how/what we eat as adults and the way we prepare it as opposed to our mothers or grand mothers who were the cooks.

She, like me, prepares some items that we disliked as children. Now we buy them and prepare and enjoy them at home. We had a good laugh remembering the times when we had to sit at the table for hours until we finished the item(s) that we refused to eat or scarfed it down just to get it over with. We even had a hearty laugh at the level of anguish and frustration of our parents during those extended meal times.

We've learned from those days and experiences and fashion our behavior with our children accordingly. We'd hate to deal with the frustration and anguish. What we prepared, served and insisted that our children eat is what we've come to understand that they liked and will eat without much fuss. We found ways to camouflage the other things that we thought they should have so it was easier for them to accept. My way of 'mothering' when it came to food was much to the chagrin of my mother. She thought I was giving myself extra work for no reason, to get the kids to eat. I didn't argue with her when she would comment, but I knew that I didn't want the frustration she had forcing us to eat certain things. It was really punishment for everyone when we had to eat the things we thought was horrible.

As adults, we eat and enjoy some of those same ole horrible foods, but 'our way'.

Today I had a meeting with a group of other folks than my lunch companion. The folks arriving at the meeting early, before I got there, were engrossed in a conversation about food. Again the issues about food choices came up. This time how ever they were more focused on taste; eating spicy or flavorful foods.

One person said she's never eaten any spicy or highly seasoned foods. In fact she said that she's only recently eaten onions and garlic on her food. She had never eaten hot sauce or pepper on her food either. Some one else asked, "no Tabasco on your food?" She said, "oh no!" She told us that her mom always prepared her meals separate from the others as she would not eat what or how the others ate. Perhaps she will graduate up to hot sauce or pepper since she is now enjoying onions and garlic.

The morale of this story is this. As we grow older and become wiser, I guess, we appreciate, well mostly appreciate, foods that we disliked as children. Is it because of wisdom, acquired taste, keeping up with the Joneses or the maturity in knowing that we need a variety.... Perhaps the preparation of the thing is a factor, or maybe the kids wanting to match wits with Momma or they really just dislike a flavor, texture or taste.

The question still remains.
Why do kids refuse to eat some foods but accept it as adults? Is food preparation - the way it is prepared- a cause for the refusal? Or is it all about preference, choice, taste/flavor. Did we grow into the taste?

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