I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead. ~Woody Allen
Discussing food and different tastes seems appropriate to talk about, since Thanksgiving is upon us. The day to over eat and mix a smorgasbord of flavors.
Kyles tastes are certainly changing the older he gets. Personally I love it! It’s neat watching him develop his own likes and dislikes for food and really expanding his pallet. My favorite is watching his new discoveries with specific edible items. Is this a new behavior for Kyle to try new foods? Nope! Not even close. Ever since he was little, we always encouraged Kyle to at least sample an unknown taste. Our deal was, if he tried it and didn’t like it, he would never have to eat the unfavorable item again and I would never say anything about his choices in sustenance. You know what? He lived by that deal. Sometimes he would turn his nose up to certain items or shy away from the sheer mention of a food, but when it came down to it, he always gave it a shot. Surprisingly, whether he liked the item or not, he was proud of himself for giving it the good old college try. Then, when he discovered a new favorite taste, he bragged about it and would go off on a tangent. He would even push the food on us to try it if he felt it was a new discovery. I was always content with Kyle just trying. My belief is, how can a child make a decision without knowing all the facts? I guess more people should use that belief with everything in life.
What really cracks me up about Kyle is his consistent behavior. Kyle is now eleven and he’s been like this for years. He has his “usual” at specific places. There was a time when he would never deviate from the “standard”. I mean, I know other adults who do this, but for a child? No one can say that I’m like that, not at all! I like to change things up, try new items, crave different foods. I like to explore the menu and try the specials. When Kyle only orders his previously established standard, set by himself, he reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He’s the uptight genius who has to have everything a certain way, being very consistent and particular, especially with his food. That’s Kyle. Well, maybe not that extreme, but not far off the mark. I will give Kyle credit though, he has a much better sense of humor and personality!
As I mentioned, for the longest time, Kyle had his favorite items at certain places. I say places because that includes mom and dad’s house, my house, his Aunt Nikki’s, plus different restaurants and gas stations etc. However, I’ve noticed he’s been trying new items and changing it up a bit. Not a lot, let’s not get silly, but subtle changes. Now indulge me while I outline a few examples. Instead of his “usual” items he gets at these places… he’s been introducing his pallet to new flavors and variations of the food.
Dairy Queen. Ever since Kyle was eating ice-cream he was known for eating a twist on a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles. Done! He only deviated on the different sizes. When we would treat ourselves for ice-cream, Dairy Queen was generally the place to go. If we did go to another ice-cream establishment, Kyle would order the same. Heavens forbid if they didn’t have rainbow sprinkles! It was like his world was crumbling into a pile of melted ice-cream. In fact, mom and dad would get him rainbow sprinkles and cones to eat his ice-cream at home. Way to fuel Kyle’s obsessive behavior mom and dad! Me, I’m the opposite, instead of catering to him, I would intentionally screw with Kyle to force him to try something new. I’m fine with the arguments and the kicking and screaming that accompany this situation as long as I was opening his mind. Not to mention, this fuels my nature to instigate. Our last few visits to the Dairy Queen included Kyle experimenting with different toppings. He has branched out to the waffle cone, caramel, hot fudge and nuts. Not that junk food should be promoted and praised, but it’s a start.
Once when we were at the TastyLand this past summer, he said to me “Aunt Heather I think I’m going to try a chocolate dipped cone instead of sprinkles.” That may not sound like a big deal to anyone else, but that was a profound statement. And you know what? He did and he loved it! Then he said, “I think this will be my new cone when we come to TastyLand.” Again, it’s a start.
Moving off of the important sweet tooth to something hardier. Let’s discuss Subway. Normally I don’t allow Kyle to dine at fast food restaurants. I try to direct him to eat healthier choices by making our meals, but there are those times when we’re running around on serious crunch time. In those cases, we try to eat a little bit healthy by hitting up the local Subway. His usual was a ham and cheese sub with lettuce and black olives. Over the last year he has branched out to include turkey, ham, pepperoni, bacon with his standard lettuce, cheese and olives, plus onions. Yes! Kyle has acquired a taste for onions. Not a lot, but a few mixed in his food are fine by him. I don’t know how that happened, but I’ve informed Kyle that onions are good for the heart and he seems pleased with his new staple. My sister always comments on how disgusting this sandwich is, not that I disagree. Sometimes I make Kyle omit the pepperoni or the bacon to cut down on the fat. Although, he never adds ranch or any dressing and he always gets a multi-grain bread. I can live with that!
Admittingly, I do like the Sheetz Tomato Basil panini sandwiches and the one with Pesto. Kyle tried them and surprising was not turned off by the hot sandwiches. This, coming from the boy who has proclaimed his dislike for tomatoes a time or two over the years. He said “Umm it’s ok, maybe without so many tomatoes.” That statement actually put me in shock! His comment was almost unfathomable! That’s the first I’ve ever heard Kyle speak of tomatoes in any positive manner, not including sun dried tomatoes Cooking With Kyle – Aunt Nikki’s Hors d’oeuvres. These are all positive steps!
Even his usual Egg Sandwich Spectacular! has been pushed to new limits. He asks for different vegetables to be added to the mixture. That’s very amusing since he still won’t eat most cooked vegetables, let’s not even discuss the raw ones. The other day Kyle went into a dissertation on why he thinks he is going through a growth spurt. You see he is at least a head and a half shorter than all the kids in his class. Let’s not even discuss that he’s the only one with baby teeth, half of them to be exact. His height has been the topic of many of his conversations, brought up solely by him. So when he turned to me and said, “I think I’m growing Aunt Heather. I think I’m going through a growth spurt. Maybe I’m going to be tall like my dad.” I quickly shot back, “Maybe, your dad was around six foot, but I know you won’t grow right if you don’t start giving your body what it needs, like fruits and vegetables. Your body needs those minerals and vitamins to grow properly.” He looked at me almost horrified and then said, “But I eat meat and that’s protein for the muscles! I eat fruit!” To give him the big picture I said, “Yes, but it also needs other nutrients, the ones found in all the foods. Even the ones you say you don’t like.” I could tell he was thinking it over but didn’t say anything else on the subject.
Speaking of foods he claimed to not like. One root vegetable that I have never understood his disgust for is the potato. I love potatoes! Mashed, parsley, baked, home fries, french fries, scalloped, you name it, I eat potatoes. For the longest time Kyle would never eat the tuberous crop. Really? Yep, except french fries, naturally. He wouldn’t even eat mashed potatoes. Who turns their nose down to a bowl of mashed up starch with butter, milk, salt and pepper? Especially at Thanksgiving! Let’s not forget the potato cakes made from the left over mashed potatoes. YUM! It wasn’t until a year or two ago that he started eating mom’s potato cakes. In fact, every now and again he’ll say, “Gigi can you make some potato cakes?” They are really good! I love them really, really crispy!
Since the discovery of the potato cake, Kyle all of a sudden started eating mashed potatoes. What? After all these years, he’s acquired a taste for mashed potatoes? To be honest I think it was the mashed potatoes he initially tried that made him turn away from the side dish. I don’t ever remember Kyle eating mom’s mashed potatoes until he was asked to by mom. Then like magic, he was a big advocate of mashed potatoes!
I know tastes change but everyone should follow Kyle’s example. Give everything a little try and don’t be turned off by something, even if at first it’s not to your liking. Give it another go. Maybe it was made differently or your pallet has matured. I don’t expect Kyle to eat everything and it’s really not that important to me, but it is important for Kyle to give it go. That’s with everything. If he has an opportunity to try something I don’t want him to assume he doesn’t like it or worse, afraid to go out of his comfort zone. I also don’t expect Kyle to be like that alone, everyone in my family lives by the “try it” rule, well within moral reason.
For the record, I eat oysters and muscles. I especially love muscles! I don’t care how they are prepared, whichever way desired by the chef. In fact, I love seafood! Just like my dad most everyone in the family. There are very few foods I will not eat. My pallet is a lot like my dad’s. Although sometimes I wish I was disgusted by sweets and pastries.