I Am Not A Short Order Cook!

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This has to be one of the all-time great lines of motherhood: I am not a short order cook!  And indeed, one of the most useful in preventing Picky Eating, if you learn to employ it, early and often.

 When I was conducting research for the book “My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything,” I was amazed at how often this concept – often stated in these exact words – was lauded by pediatricians, psychologists, dietitians, and very experienced parents.  If you want to raise children who are not Picky Eaters, it seems, one of the major forces is simply a refusal to prepare special meals for your kids.  What you eat, they eat, starting when they are very young.  And at each and every meal.  No exceptions.

 This means that if you are the cook and you decide to have chicken, peas, corn and mashed potatoes for dinner, then everyone at the table gets chicken, peas, corn and mashed potatoes.  I’m a firm believer that the Chef Rules in making the decision on what is served for the meal, and further, that it is a decision that should not have to be justified.  Maybe chicken was on sale this week, maybe corn is in season and looked terrific at the farmer’s market, maybe that’s the menu that you were in the mood for today.  Of course, everyone in the family can have their favorite dishes and can make requests from time to time, but there has to be a balance and that doesn’t mean that everyone gets an equal vote.

 And if the kids complain?  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics takes a hard-line stance on this one, saying “Don’t be afraid to let the child go hungry if he or she won’t eat what is served.  Which is worse – an occasional missed meal or a parent who is a perpetual short-order cook?”

 There are tips to avoid being a Short Order Cook in my book, “My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus.”  And I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, too.

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I’m looking forward to appearing this week in New York at the 2010 BlogHer Convention!  I hope to meet lots of other mom bloggers there.

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