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When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:32 pm

My husband's son Barry and family are arriving tomorrow for a short visit. I wrote to Barry asking for specifics to help me figure out what to feed a 9 yr old and a 14 yr old. They're kids, so there's got to be a list of things they would consider weird or gross and all kinds of crazy exceptions. When you're a kid, that's your job. And I remember well when it was mine. To help prompt him, I made a list of all the things I wouldn't eat as a kid while noting that I was particularly distrusting of all food made by strangers. It was a much longer list than I realized:

eggs
all dairy products, including all cheese hot or cold except swiss--cold, and grated mild cheddar on tacos
frosting
mayonnaise
custards/pudding, cream pies and all that ilk
ice cream except vanilla in ice cream sandwiches
yoghurt
marshmallows
Jello (at this point you can assume: anything that wobbled)
ground beef, including hamburgers with the exception of taco filling
well done beef; pot roast, swiss steak, stew
mayonnaise, except as a binder for tuna salad
bologna
hot dogs in a bun, but I liked the meat part without the bun
cold meat sandwiches--I liked bread and I liked lunch meat but would not eat them combined
thousand island dressing
fish, except canned tuna and smoked fish
pancakes
waffles
maple syrup
anything involving liver
Coke
toast and jam
macaroni and cheese
pizza
eggplant
onions
refried beans
bean soups
gravy
chocolate

You will note that many of the things on this list are traditional kid-friendly foods. What spared me from complete parental annihilation was the fact that except for onions, eggplant and canned stuff, unlike most kids I loved the entire Produce department:
every fresh vegetable and fruit they put in front of me and was capable of preparing any of those for myself as a substitute for the family meal. I loved salad. I also loved raw stuff including things not traditionally served that way like asparagus and green beans--pretty hard to argue with such healthy eating habits, however inconvenient they occasionally were. I would spend my own allowance on fresh tomatoes from the corn farm. Too, I loved wholesome wheat and rye breads and would eat healthy unfrosted wheat cereals dry. As a baby my favorite snack was cold strips of green bell pepper. I loved ethnic foods: most anything Italian, Chinese or Mexican (but hold the beans and the sour cream). And I loved a lot of weird foods many kids don't or wouldn't like, like pickled pigs feet (my grammy made the best!) and braised dove (dad was a hunter).

So I had plenty to eat. But I'll admit it was hard for me to travel!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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John Treder

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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by John Treder » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:43 pm

Wow!
My list was short:
Bananas (I still don't like them)
Pickles
Avocados
John in the wine county
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:28 pm

Indeed, Jenise, it is a miracle you were allowed to grow up.
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Robin Garr

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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Robin Garr » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:41 pm

I don't recall anything that I absolutely refused to eat as a kid. I encountered some horrors at school lunch (long-cooked cabbage and other long-cooked greens, and sauerkraut) that smelled funny and seemed disgusting, but we didn't have those things in our house anyway, and I grew up to like them. I don't recall having any food taboos at home.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:45 pm

Let's see about me.
I wouldn't touch most green vegetables nor root vegetables except carrots.
No eggplant or cauliflower or cabbage. I would eat salads.
No liver, no beans of any kind, iffy on duck.
No pancakes or waffles but yes to French Toast.
No whole-grain bread.
No marshmallows.
No peanut butter and jelly, together or separately. (...and no Snickers, no Baby Ruth, etc.)
No creamed corn but yes to corn on the cob.
Shrimps and scallops OK, nix on other sea creatures, though maybe if heavily battered and fried.

My parents were only a little more adventurous so there really wasn't terrible friction on this frontier. Mom occasionally made liver and onions, and she occasionally made stuffed cabbage, but that was it for throwing up inside my mouth.

But I was picky about serving style. Some relatives once served corn on the cob without corn holders and I called them barbarians.

And I have total sympathy for Alan Turing, as depicted by Benedict Cumberbatch at the beginning of "The Imitation Game" when he said (of his school meal) that it wasn't bad except that the orange carrots and the green peas were touching each other.
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Jenise

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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:02 pm

LOL, Jeff. I remember my mom's face when she found me washing out a TV dinner aluminum pan because, I announced, I was going to use it as my dinner plate from now on so that all my food stayed separate. I didn't get away with that, of course.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:08 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I don't recall anything that I absolutely refused to eat as a kid. I encountered some horrors at school lunch (long-cooked cabbage and other long-cooked greens, and sauerkraut) that smelled funny and seemed disgusting, but we didn't have those things in our house anyway, and I grew up to like them. I don't recall having any food taboos at home.


Robin, that's just weird. Are you sure you were a child?

Btw, my older brother was just like you. Sure made it hard on the next three of us who were all picky in some way. My father's family nearly starved when his father died, Dad was only 11, and they lived on a rural farm in South Dakota. As an adult he thought the only reason he hadn't been eating and loving caviar and blue cheese since age 11 was that poverty kept these deluxe delights away. He never understood that children have palates that have to grow up along with everything else in their bodies.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Robin Garr » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:49 pm

Jenise wrote:Robin, that's just weird. Are you sure you were a child?

Btw, my older brother was just like you.

I wonder, seriously, if it has something to do with being the oldest. We grown-ups gotta stick together and show those babies how it's done, Mom and Dad!
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:43 am

Jenise wrote:custards/pudding, cream pies and all that ilk
ice cream except vanilla in ice cream sandwiches
marshmallows
Jello (essentially, anything that wobbled)
chocolate


Reminds me of two stories: First, a kid of my acquaintance who was allergic to chocolate. He ate carob instead. I tasted it, then, and it was sweet but it couldn't hold a candle to real chocolate. I felt very badly for him, which I remember because it was a new feeling for me back then.

Second, a story told by a friend of my Mom: When treats were doled out at school or summer camps, each child is given the same thing, whether a cone or a pop or a shake. But she didn't like ice cream so she always had one to give away. She was very popular with the other kids!

I also loved raw stuff including things not traditionally served that way like asparagus and green beans--pretty hard to argue with such healthy eating habits, however inconvenient they were.

I agreed with you on green beans (and carrots): both are way better raw than cooked.

As a baby my favorite snack was cold strips of green bell pepper.

Mine was green olives stuffed with pimiento. Among my first words.

braised dove (dad was a hunter)

I don't know whether I've ever had dove. I didn't even know people ate doves. Aren't they supposed to carry olive branches and communion wafers around with them?
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Rahsaan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:56 am

It's amazing how kids get these things into their heads, isn't it.

Most of my childhood aversions have long since past. There were various vegetables I did not like, but now prettz much devour them all. But the aversion to drinking plain milk, hard boiled eggs, and mayonnaise/tartar sauce of questionable origin has remained.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:30 pm

Jeff, yeah. I always scored big on Halloween. A free-range child, I knew everyhousehold within two miles of us who gave out what were then the 10 cent (big) chocolate bars on Halloween, and I'd make a point of hitting those on my rounds. I'd then trade them for the fruity chewy stuff I loved at a rate of about 5:1. :)

I loved those olives too. Really, anything pickled. Loved tart, sour flavors right off the bat. For instance, John above mentions bananas. I only like green bananas--fully ripe, forget it. (And underripe bananas = tannins. Clearly I was born loving tannins.)

Doves are quite small, about the same size as quail and maybe a tad smaller. But yes, dove hunters eat dove. Braised with mushrooms, sherry and rosemary they're delicious--but mostly, you eat the breast meat. The rest you just suck off the bones.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:33 pm

Rahsaan wrote:It's amazing how kids get these things into their heads, isn't it.

Most of my childhood aversions have long since past. There were various vegetables I did not like, but now prettz much devour them all. But the aversion to drinking plain milk, hard boiled eggs, and mayonnaise/tartar sauce of questionable origin has remained.


Same here, and I even eat eggs (no runny yolk) now. But the milk/mayo/yoghurt/creamy stuff problem remains.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Rahsaan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:18 pm

Jenise wrote:Same here, and I even eat eggs (no runny yolk) now. But the milk/mayo/yoghurt/creamy stuff problem remains.


Sounds like you have a more advanced aversion than I do! I love eggs, and all the better when sunny side up with a runny yolk. (Somehow it's the different smell and texture of hardboiled eggs that takes them in a metamorphosis beyond my tastes). And yogurt and real cream I enjoy, it's the milk and mayonnaise variants I don't.

Everyone has his/her own complicated tastes...
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:18 pm

The problem with the yoke, Rahsaan, in the eyes of a 5th grader who is facing one about 18 hours after surviving 5th grade sex education is, THAT'S THE BABY. :oops:
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Dale Williams » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:33 pm

Wow, I guess my parents were lucky, There were things I didn't like as a kid (that I love now) like beets, asparagus and brussels sprouts (it was the prep- beets were pickled, asparagus was canned, sprouts were boiled). But nothing that I didn't eat. And no problems re touching- the best places for peas was nestled in mashed potatoes. Responses are interesting
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Robin Garr » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:41 pm

Dale Williams wrote:... But nothing that I didn't eat. And no problems re touching ...

Looking for patterns, Dale, were you either the first or only child?
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Barb Downunder » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:31 am

I don’t think being picky was allowed in my family! There were things I didnt much like but ate them because it was expected. Our diet was simple anyway. My brother didn’t have to eat curry (I liked it). We were both given chops when the parents had liver. Apparently my mum had a clear idea about where the lines were drawn.
If I never eat a broad bean again, insh’allah, and I won’t mind!
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:40 am

I had only one sort of food that I declined to eat - strongly flavoured organ meats (i.e. offal).

And it was nothing to do with the thought, as I have never had any issues with eating mildly flavoured offal like sweetbreads, or some liver. It was the strongly flavoured offal that got to me. I've had very mild heart, veal kidneys, gizzards etc. I had no problem with them. It is just the strong flavours that get to me.

Oh - and brains are normally very neutral but also rather uninteresting (Jenise once admitted that she'd never had any brains, but I think that might have come out wrong....) :twisted:
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:05 pm

Barb, you bring an excellent point. I do know people who would say they weren't very picky, but their mother made the same 7 kid-safe meals week in and week out, or were fed beans on toast or grilled cheese sandwiches while the adults ate something else. Didn't happen at my house. And many kids didn't eat out often in higher end restaurants--we did. And I'm so glad because I was exposed to a wide variety of things--all to the better as I learned early on about foods I loved that most kids never had a chance to turn down, like Abalone, lobster and meats in gorgeous French and Italian sauces.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Dale Williams » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:23 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:... But nothing that I didn't eat. And no problems re touching ...

Looking for patterns, Dale, were you either the first or only child?


First. But my brother is only a year younger and was also pretty broad

Jenise, when I was growing up a friend had an older brother whose mother made him hot dogs for dinner every single night. At least through jr high and HS.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:31 pm

I am also first-born. My brother ate a very limited diet growing up: pizza, chicken soup, and 2 or 3 other foods.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Matilda L » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:18 am

Let's see....
When I was a kid I wouldn't eat:
- green peas
- mushrooms (My mother cooked them one way only - sliced up and boiled to death in butter sauce, which looked, smelled and tasted like glue)
- spinach (Again, Ma boiled it to sludge.)
- brains and tripe (but Dad hated them too, so the kids didn't have to eat them either)

Our meals were strictly meat and three veg, nothing very adventurous at all. My mother was a good country cook, but meat was always well-done, and vegetables were either roasted in the pan with the meat, if it was a roast meal, or boiled for half and hour or more, just to make sure.

I started eating peas when I was at boarding school and found they were harmless after all. Mushrooms had to wait till I was in my late teens and not eating at home, spinach likewise. As for brains and tripe - still off the list.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Ines Nyby » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:21 pm

Wow, this hits close to home for me as I've just offloaded our two eldest grandchildren who've been with us for a week.
These are the ONLY foods they would eat:

girl, age 8:

Grilled cheese sandwich (but only with Kraft American sliced cheese) made with a white hamburger bun or white bread
buttered noodles (any shape was acceptable)
bacon cooked till crisp
strawberries
Cheese pizza from Domino's
shredded Mexican style cheese from Costco
Frosted mini-wheats cereal with whole milk
French toast made with brioche bread, sprinkled with sugar
chocolate chip granola bars
ice-cream, pretty much any kind
quesadilla made with flour tortillas and Mexican cheese from Costco
potato chips
goldfish snack crackers

Boy, age 6:
Trader Joe's party meatballs heated in plain tomato marinara sauce
buttered noodles (any kind)
froot-loops cereal with Lacose free milk
chocolate chip granola bars
quesadilla made with flour tortillas and Mexican cheese from Costco
strawberries
goldfish snack crackers
kosher hot dog (no bun)
scrambled eggs
Talenti raspberry sorbetto
French toast made with brioche bread, lots of syrup
Frozen Eggo waffles, toasted, with lots of syrup
cheese pizza from Domino's

Neither one of them will eat anything green (except for the green froot-loops), and strawberries are the only fruit they will eat.
They claim to eat chicken and steak, but when I put those items on their plates, they remained untouched.
They are skinny, active, smart kids, but their pickiness continues to be a real challenge for me.

As for myself, I would try most anything as a kid, but according to my Mom and Grandmother, I ate very little of anything, so I was also a skinny, smart and probably annoying eater as well.
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Re: When you were a kid, how picky were you?

by Jenise » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:23 pm

Ines, you have me laughing!!!!! I can't believe the children of YOUR children are that limited. Doesn't seem possible! By comparison that makes child-Jenise pretty easy. For all that I didn't like, at least I truly loved most adult food (even lamb) and at dinner it was easy enough to pick my way around the things I didn't like.

For all my terror and dread the granddaughters were wonderful to feed. They ate most of the salad and vegetables I served, as well as trying most even if they didn't end up loving it. One day I made tacos for lunch--spicy ground turkey and rice filling. They each cautiously took one, then both went back for two more apiece. I grilled (cedar plank) a whole side of fresh Columbia steelhead one night swabbed with a sesame-terriyaki kind of sauce and both had seconds. And one night I made a Chinese dinner with glazed sweet-n-sour pork ribs (I used a low sugar strawberry spread, worked great, but 'sold' it by the other name which I figured they'd understand better), fried rice, and two vegetable dishes. By then I knew the ribs would be a slam dunk but after I made the rice I cursed myself for adding a whole head of bok choy to the fried rice--I love it that way, but it would probably be too weird for the kids. No problem though: the older one ate three helpings and the younger one who initially pushed the green bits away finally cleaned her plate including the green bits and ended the meal at five helpings. And these are skinny kids. They loved the fruits I put out and even before-dinner snacks like mediterranean mixed olives, edamame beans, the the like. Fruits worked, especially cherries. For an outing we went to a UPick farm and brought home nine pounds of raspberries. Snacked on those all afternoon and the next morning, raspberry waffles for breakfast.

I was warned in advance that probably the only no-go would be identifiable large pieces of onion and, for the older one, hot/melted cheese. But I was prepared for much worse, since my flavors and cooking style would be so foreign to them. Turned out not to be an issue at all--as the youngest one hugged me goodbye yesterday, she made sure her mom wasn't close enough to hear and told me, "You are THE BEST COOK!"

Considering the healthy lifestyle mom (breakfast every day was an almond milk and spinach protein shake), I was surprised that they not just were allowed to but pretty much expected to eat ice cream every afternoon and, after dinner, something chocolate. For them it's a family thing and the parents are as into it as the kids.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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