foodie (Websters) – noun – a person who enjoys and cares about food very much
I’m pretty sure foodies the world over would be insulted by the very suggestion that I’m in their league, culinary-wise.
Yes, I enjoy good food and trying out new restaurants, but I’m not exactly hard-core. I just like to eat, and (like most people) I prefer to eat things that are delicious. I’m willing to experiment if dishes sound appealing but experiencing food per se is not really a hobby I actively pursue, and I can count on one hand the number of wine tastings I’ve attended. (Sadly, the amount of knowledge gained from said tastings is negligible at best.)
So with an open acknowledgement that my taste buds are not the most refined, I still can’t help but comment on my kids’ seriously mundane nature when it comes to food. There have been many a restaurant meal that begged the question: Are you seriously telling us you want to order another cheeseburger or chicken fingers and fries?!
I understand these staples are on children’s menus everywhere because they’re a necessary evil. When the kids were little these were the two items they’d consistently eat, and nothing made me crazier than paying for food at a restaurant only to have them pass it up. (Not crazy enough to make them sit there until they ate it, but still…just trying to convince them to eat “just a little” wasn’t doing my blood pressure any favors.)
As they grew older they still stuck with these familiar standards. They’d occasionally branch out into pizza or mac and cheese, but they always returned to their old stand-bys: a cheeseburger or chicken fingers. Be still my heart.
I try hard not to make food an issue in our family – there’s really no way to win those fights since it’s not like I can force them to eat – but in the last year or so I’ve started to push back. If they’re old enough to go to “real” restaurants then they’re old enough to eat real food. I don’t care if it’s made in a nice kitchen, enough of this fast food crap.
Bear FINALLY succumbed to our pleas at the Mexican place and discovered the joy of chicken fajitas. T-man stubbornly sticks to the cheese quesadillas but hey, I figure at least it’s not their chicken fingers and fries. BrightSide keeps fighting the good fight, offering them bites off his plate to try, and T-man’s a good sport about trying them. Even so, we can never quite convince him to order anything other than that damn quesadilla.
You know what both kids have wholeheartedly embraced, though? Steak. Of course they have. Because why wouldn’t you start out with the most expensive section on the menu?! Sheesh.
I’m only mildly annoyed by the kids’ stubborn food orders locally, but my anxiety level increases exponentially in relation to our distance from home. You can bet a cheeseburger in North Carolina is annoying, but a cheeseburger in Mexico or Hawaii? Come on. Why bother leaving your freaking zip code if you’re going to refuse to order anything even vaguely influenced by the culture?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting them to try toasted grasshoppers in an empanada or the poke at a luau. Heck, I’m not exactly up for those experiences either.
But chicken in a teriyaki sauce? Puh-leeze! Bear loves chicken. And teriyaki sauce. But it still took us 15 minutes to convince her to order this off the menu in Kauai. Then it took her all of 30 seconds to fall in love once she got a taste, as T-man sat beside her eating (what else?) a cheeseburger. Sigh.
I keep telling myself be patient, keep trying, and wait for their adventurous side to emerge. I’m not looking for them to embrace sushi or steak tartare; I’ll be thrilled if we can just take some baby steps. Skipping past the fried chicken strips or beef that’s molded into patties and dropped on a bun? That seems like a good start to me.