The other day I got an email from Daily Candy telling me how to make sure my kids eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Have you seen Daily Candy? Its logo of a sticky lollipop is just right. Hawking $75 dresses for 2-year-olds, $200 knit necklaces for grown-ups, the emails serve a very specific purpose in my day (sometimes), but that purpose has nothing to do with health or balance. And yet, there I was reading the same old tips about offering new foods and not being a short order cook in Daily Candy and I was feeling badly once again. Because when it comes to feeding my kids, I've made all the mistakes in the book. When my kids stopped eating their sandwiches on whole wheat bread, I bought white (from Whole Foods! but still). They eat a lot of snacks that aren't carrots. When they ask for mac and cheese night after night, I often give it to them, from the box. (I've made the homemade kind to no great effect.) I make separate food for the grownups. (They're welcome to try it and sometimes do! Elliot especially.) And, yes, I've been known to be a short order cook from time to time.
Truthfully, the thing that gives me hope on the food front is the memory of my SUV-driving brother. He ate nothing -- NOTHING -- until he was maybe 11. Truly, I don't know how he stood on two feet. (He was quite spindly.) Then, he started to eat everything. Everything. Then he started to cook. And by now, the old gas-guzzler has spent the better part of his life on a big food adventure. So I can only hope that slowly but surely, my kids will try new foods. Eventually, I'll make meals the four of us can tuck into. Maybe my kids will try and like asparagus and not demand peas and probably if they do demand peas I'll tell them they'll have to wait until tomorrow. We'll all have learned our lessons by then.