Cooking for small people

Is it just me or is there nothing more annoying than trying to prepare healthy food for people under 4 foot tall? Seriously, I didn’t even really try to learn how to cook until I was home all day with small people. I had a few core dishes that I made with certain aplomb, delighted in the knowledge that I did those really, really well. But since neither of my kids will touch shrimp creole, my talents are largely wasted on them.

Zach was such a good eater, at first. I remember dropping spinach leaves on the tray of his highchair and he’d just devour them as if they were chocolate pie. The same could be said of grilled chicken, or roasted acorn squash.

Now? Yeah, not so much. Now he walks into the kitchen, smells what’s cooking and declares: That smells YUCK. I’m not eating it.

Based on his new-found food snobbishness we have a house ban on garlic, bell peppers, spaghetti sauce and homemade macaroni and cheese. Nevermind that he’ll eat an entire tomato like it’s an apple, spaghetti sauce cannot touch either noodle or pizza crust. Nevermind that I make his hummus with garlic–I have to go all Secret Agent about it lest I risk his second favorite food hitting the reject list. And though he’ll eat the Kraft box stuff, homemade mac and cheese is an abomination unto pasta in Zach’s mind.

Earlier this week he informed me that he no longer likes chicken. To which I replied, “nuggets are made from chicken”. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “no Mom, they aren’t.” Which, though technically correct, was not exactly my point.

He’s killing my cooking creativity, because even though I was never a cooking type person, I find myself bored to death with eating the same thing every single week and trying to select more adventurous recipes. Eh, cooking meals that require more than 4 ingredients is harder for me, the only benefit is when the food is enjoyed by those I’m cooking for. At this point new things are met with disgust my little food critic and I refuse to make separate meals–we aren’t going there in this house–thus my quandary.

I can’t complain much about Elliot right now–he eats most of what I put in front of him. I see him eyeballing Zach though and making plans to reject the black beans he loves so much in the near future.

I know it’s normal, I know it’s a control thing, but none of that knowledge lessens my annoyance at their refusal to just taste it. I can accept not liking something (hell, I despise okra–fried or otherwise) if they would just taste it first.

I also realize that not caving in to the noses wrinkled in disgust will be to my long-term benefit. But in the short-term I am putting the cabash on food that comes in paper bags. Yes, people, it came out of my mouth, not once but twice this week, so now I have to stick to my edict of “no more eating out for the small people”. Say buh-bye to your precious chik fil a nuggets and when you will eat real food like a sane person we’ll reassess the situation.

On the bright side, we’ll save some money. On the dark side, I can already here the strident tones of a seriously PO’ed 3 year old as he stages his not-so-silent protest of my decision.