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January 31, 2008



I feel your pain. Sam eats fairly well (for a toddler), but still it's hard to reconcile everyone's tastes some nights. For now, our strategy is to alternate between dishes we all like and dishes only some of us like. On nights when Sam's not super keen on what we're having, he gets bread or toast (with peanut butter or whatever) and/or cheese and/or yogurt. We're trying not to fall into the "short order cook" trap, especially with another kid on the way, but we'll give him easy alternatives.

Oh, and we usually eat fruit later on in the evening, as a late dessert. That seems to go over well and it helps mitigate any guilt I might have over the fact that my kid ate toast for dinner.

Thank god for multivitamins is all I can say.



You are not alone!



Older women love to chide moms like me who also play "short-order cook." True, it's born of my trait of not liking to see anyone unhappy. My children are chubby because of my self esteem issues, I guess.

Now add a relatively picky husband. Take tonight: I made heavy duty garlic bread with sauteed garlic, like the cooking show said to (and I liked it, and the kids did, too). But my husband pretty much won't talk to me right now, and won't come upstairs where the air is still garlic scented. So, I have pissed him off by using garlic, and probably won't try making that garlic bread again. Since we always eat dinner together, I'm doomed to boring cooking in the name of family harmony.

Someday I'm going to show up at your door for Big People dinner.

I think it's a nice idea to switch off between family dinners and the old way. Do whatever works!


I'm glad to hear it -- and not just for the sake of "misery loves company"! I keep hearing (yes, from older women), "If your kids are hungry enough, they'll eat whatever you give them, and that's how they'll learn to eat a variety of foods." It's probably true, but I'd prefer it if my kids enjoyed what they eat. I would not like it one bit if I had to eat something I found revolting (or even just plain yucky) just because it was my only choice. I encourage my kids to try new foods, but if they're gagging over a new flavor or texture, far be it from me to force them to eat it!


It is very challenging!! I also used to do short-order cook duty. Now I try to make one familiar thing that I know they like for dinner. For new things I put one little bite on their plates -- if they like it, they can have more and if they didn't care for it, we chalk it up to a brief adventure for their taste buds. We have gradually added some new foods that I know they like (including roasted broccoli!!).


It is so hard to find something for all to enjoy. I try to do a favorite of each kid once a week, but that quickly descends into a merry-go-round of tacos, steak, and chili.

I will say that when mine are truly hungry, they do tend to eat whatever is on the table, but only the dishes that faintly appeal to them and are familiar ones at that. It's certainly not the best solution to get them to try new things.

Last night, both ate well without complaints. Baked chicken and rice. One of my least favorite meals, of course!


Once again, you've thankfully reminded me there's no one perfect answer on the dinner issue.

Sometimes it's a short order cook night; others, we eat the same food and talk together. Some nights we eat at the same table but we agree to bring our books and read to ourselves!

When we look back on these years, I think we'll remember a sense of togetherness and family, no matter what happened on any given evening. And that's what's important to me.

Diane Neer

My son won a bet with my husband and got to pick what we eat every day this coming week. I was thrilled to see that he chose some of my good dishes...French Dip from my oldie goldie crockpot recipe book, Pork Tenderloin from p. 14, 2002 Cooking Light cookbook...oh, and dinner at the club Thursday night. He knows the chef there is better than his mom!


not having kids, I cannot pretend to understand this predicament. However, as a frequent babysitter to my young nieces and nephews I have never had an issue with the "eat what's before you rule". My sister and I (43 and 40 respectively) grew up in a household in which we all ate together and ate the same meal without exception. I think not having had the choice set the expectation early on that we were part of the family, and separate catered options were only for those occasions when we ate out, and only then. My young charges have the same outlook, and even if they don't like something, they don't dismiss it out of hand. Hard to go back though I'm sure and with marketing, peer pressure, harder still I shouldn't wonder. Those Cooking Light treasuries are a godsend to be sure!

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