Lisa says: Poll! Eat what I put in front of you…or?

She’s talked about her clan’s eating habits before but a new issue surfaced last night at Lisa’s dinner table

By Lisa van de Geyn
Lisa says: Poll! Eat what I put in front of you…or?
So there you have it. That’s what I made for dinner last night. It’s Chipotle Turkey Chili with Apples and Cheddar (from the October 2011 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray). And, if I may, it was phenomenal. (Maybe there’s still hope for me to be a food editor without doing the culinary training. I mean, look at that masterpiece!) I’ve been inspired recently by my friend and colleague Sandra, who shares her Sunday dinner menu on Facebook every week. (Usually I feel guilty. I’m futzing around the kitchen making grilled-cheese sandwiches while she’s fixing braised chicken and sausages with apple, steamed rice and peas. But I digress.)
Anyway, like I said, my chili was delicious – or so I thought. Turns out Peyps and me were the only ones who enjoyed it. For probably only the second time ever, Addy (who eats everything) announced that she didn’t like what was placed in front of her for dindin. (Parents of picky eaters – please don’t get upset with me. I know some of you go through this each and every meal. My heartfelt condolences.) Less surprising was Peter’s displeasure with the dish. (My guess? It wasn’t nachos, ground beef, onion and loads of cheese under the broiler like he wanted; this recipe has cilantro, apples, cinnamon sticks, sweet smoked paprika, organic cider, ground turkey and more. You know, some healthy stuff.)
I’ve written about the need for Peter to expand his mealtime repertoire before. (I’ve even pureed veggies a la Jessica Seinfeld and hidden squash in French toast, carrots in pizza sauce and cauliflower in mac and cheese.) If he doesn’t like something, that’s fine. But living off of fast food isn’t going to cut it in front of the kids. Last night I had to give him credit; he ate much of his dinner and mmm’d while he spooned his chili into his scooped nachos (the multigrain ones).
Addy sat scowling. “I don’t like this.” “I don’t want this.” “I don’t wanna eat this, Mommy.” I was at a loss. Do I force the kid to eat her dinner? Do I jump up and make her something else to eat? Do I tell her she doesn’t have to eat it but Mommy’s not making another dinner? I admit I was a bit clueless (and felt a bit bad for my mom when I’d tell her I didn’t like her gross recipes). Pretty sure we were told to eat what was in front of us when we were kids. And I’m quite confident I remember my mother saying that the kitchen wasn’t a restaurant and she wasn’t a short-order cook.
Addy ended up having a couple bits, ate some of her scoops and that was that. I tried to guilt and bribe her into eating more, but gave up. (Rookie mistake.)
So I thought I’d do a little poll. Be honest! (We could use the help!) 
When your kid doesn't like what you’ve prepared for dinner do you:
a)    Force it. Tell her you’re not making another meal – this is it. Eat it or go to bed hungry.
b)   Cater to her. Tell her you’ll make her something she fancies when everyone at the table is finished their meal.
c)    Give in just a little. Tell her she needs to try what's in front of her but doesn't have to eat it if she doesn't like it. That said, you’re not cooking anything else. She can have a piece of fruit but that’s it.
d)   Something entirely different. You tell me.
This article was originally published on Nov 14, 2011

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