JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A teenage guide to eating

When both the boys said YEeeeuuuuuuch to all my suggestions for lunch, I asked them to write down the all food they actually like eating. They both have a tendency to be fussy eaters - at one stage, Alfred (aged about four) would only eat pizza, but not if it had anything other than tomato sauce and grated cheddar. Horatio's always been prepared to be adventurous: aged about seven, he ordered and ate a plate of moules in a busy Brussels restaurant, and they've been a favourite ever since.

Here's the list. It's a little book. It took them half an hour. The second edition is due out soon, because they said they couldn't be put on the spot if they were expected to remember everything.

The big ambition of the title page gives way to - well, I leave that to you to decide (it's just that I wish they wouldn't make the yeuch noise when we are eating legumes as a side dish)

Meat is the thing they like to eat best, it's what they always request ... and they'd much rather not be fobbed off with fish, or vegetables. Pasta's okay, so long as it isn't too fancy. As you see, macaroni cheese is given honorary meat status.

The list of vegetables they'll eat is surprisingly long (and includes tomatoes, only Horatio is too pedantic to put them in this list). But they don't like any of these veg mucked about - it's no use thinking you could make guacamole, or that you might strip the corn off the cob to make, say, cornbread. Just plain, thank you, and preferably covered in butter.

As for fruit: well, I've never known either of them to choose to eat fruit, although they will if cajoled. Interesting that neither of them mentions bananas - not sure if they've been forgotten, or whether they truly are disliked.

I can (& frequently do) cook three meals a day for them, yet still come down in the morning to find the detritus of late-night cooking. This is a list of what they like. Microwave popcorn is never on my shopping list because of the horrible additives .... but they don't use their own money to buy it, they just complain that I won't (even though the kitchen is well supplied with old-fashioned popping corn).

The last two pages are lists of individual favourites. Alfred won't eat anything spicy hot, unlike Horatio, but he's very keen on making toasted sandwiches in a press.

I don't have any idea how typical this list is for teenage boys. What do your teenagers eat? Any tips for widening their palates? And lessening their dependency on processed foods and on meat?


TopVeg said...

Very interesting - I am sure someone (the FSA??) would pay you to do a more in-depth study!

Meat certainly is top of the list with all our boys - and chilli features - as much as they can get!- in whatever form they can get it in.

Potatoes are a must - anyway will do - but other veg consumption is minimal.

Fruit crumbles & pies always disappear - even more rapidly if ice cream is available!

Vicki said...

I'd say you're doing pretty good - my 13-year-old's list would consist of only instant ramen and Pocky!

Horatio said...

Did we mention that we hate chick peas?

Horatio and Alfred.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a wonderful keep sake!
When our youngest was 14 he announced he was a vegetarian and is to this day.
Mostly I'd say that time is on your side. Just keep putting it out there, one day they'll discover chickpeas.

Antonia said...

What a great read! I think it sounds pretty varied actually. I've met much fussier teenagers!
The bit about RAW carrots amused me. When I was young, I would only eat carrots raw. Even if we were having a roast Sunday lunch, I had to have my carrots raw alongside everything else. It sounds revolting now and I'm relieved that I finally saw the light!

Beth said...

Chick peas hey - that would certainly be on my hubbys list, but my daughter actually quite likes beans.