Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Balancing favorites

Last night my husband was out of town for a meeting so I took advantage of his absence to make one of my daughters' favorite meals, which also happens to be one of my husband's least favorite meals. What is the meal, you ask? At our house we call it "chicken in the oven". This is probably one of the easiest recipes you'll ever find. Take a whole cut-up chicken and place the pieces in a baking dish. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and bake for an hour at 400 degrees. My husband can tolerate, but does not enjoy, this meal. It is rather boring. But the kids really love it; my pickiest eater even took seconds. Maybe because it's simple. Maybe because they enjoy the rare treat of crisp chicken skin. It's not my favorite meal, but it does bring back some favorable childhood memories of similar meals made by my mom.

My point in writing about this is to highlight the idea of favorite foods. Sometimes as parents we cater to our children by always serving them their "favorites", whether that's mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, plain pasta, whatever. When we limit what we cook and prepare to what we know the kids already like, we limit their opportunity to learn to like new foods. We may avoid a battle and/or some whining and complaining in the moment, but in the long run we're setting ourselves up for more enduring sruggles over food. Everyone should have the chance to have their "favorite" sometimes, but no one should have their "favorite" all the time. Learning how to be relatively pleasant in the face of non-favorites is an important skill for all of us to learn.

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