Tuesday, 20 July 2010

3. Toddler Tasting Panel

How can I be so lucky/unlucky to have one toddler who will eat anything - blackberries, butternut squash, broad beans, you name it - and another who is suspicious of anything bright-coloured? The Tank appears to have her father's hearty appetite, whilst Magpie thinks new foods are part of some cruel maternal conspiracy.

She will eat most meat, fish and types of bread, and will happily munch her way through a medley of fruit as long as I taste each piece first (if the watermelon/pineapple/mango doesn't posion me, it won't poison her). This reminds me of having to taste my own breast milk at an airport (if I drink it, I can't be smuggling it onto a plane to blow people up). This was an awkward scenario. Especially as the security guard asked my hired help to drink it before I told him it was mine.

But I digress. So while Magpie is fine with fruit, vegetables are another matter. Occasionally she will eat a few peas laid out in front of her, but only if they are full-sized and not petit pois which would be my preference. If they are the diminutive version, Magpie will 'ping' them across the room like bogies stuck to fingers. Having one twin who will eat tenderstem broccoli in all its floral glory is pointless if the other one won't. I am not, I repeat, I am not, a short-order cook and will not serve different meals at two minutes’ notice.

If it's a 'cleaner day,' I will allow one of our dogs to come in and hoover up Magpie's vegetable rejects. This is because every time I offer her something suspiciously green, it usually ends up on the floor. I get tired of being on my hands and knees, and anyway the dogs can do the job standing. But while I remind myself that dogs are omnivores, I would rather that my daughter improve her five-a-day intake. The dogs get quite enough greens in the shape of Big Daddy’s ornamental grasses.

I have a finger food book that includes a recipe for lentil croquettes. I would rather pay somebody than make them myself and, shock horror, often do. This delegation of culinary responsibility is unaffordable (my lentil croquette creator, who does a few hours a week, is a brilliant ad hoc nanny who just happens to be a trained chef). Aren't I doing what's best for my girls? After all, the nanny/chef is creating something delicious that would otherwise be inedible.

Why oh why am I so lazy about cooking? My mother is the same.


1. She doesn't eat during the day.


2. She can afford to eat out every night.

We manage this about once a month.

I probably don’t cook because Big Daddy does, simple as that. And he likes it. Now he just needs to enjoy cooking for toddlers.

Any advice on Extreme Vegetable Aversion welcome.


  1. Your line about your hired help drinking your milk is genius you know, you should get a sideline in TV comedy and give Outnumbered a run for its money.
    I have conveniently wiped all memories of getting my girls to eat stuff clean, a bit like memories of labour. I *think* my strategy was "eat it else go wothout" -- a tried and tested formula from my mum before me -- looking at both of us now -- one hugely overweight (me) and the other a reformed yo-yo dieter (my mum) I can only hope my girls 'break the chain' and have a healthier outlook to food.
    Sounds to me like you have a brilliant outlook, good luck with it all.

  2. Thanks a mil Linda! I think your philosophy is absolutely right. It's the only way to stop one's children from running things. By the way, you certainly don't look fat in your photo! We must talk writing some time!

  3. Wow, that's my Alice. She's exactly the same suspicious little madam as your Magpie AND I have my own Tank too in the form of Bessie, a human hoover who scares me how quickly she will polish off the food in front of her and lift the plate up, upside down shouting out 'All gone' with a huge smile on her face.
    With Alice I continue to serve up veg and I eat with them at least once a day, each mouthful acompanied with very exaggerated 'Mmmmms' 'This is delicious' Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't

  4. Hi Mari

    Thanks for your comment and really sorry I haven't acknowledged it - I don't seem to get updates via email and since it's quite an old post...:-) Anyway, it's hard, isn't it? Magpie has suddenly decided that she wants to squash bluberries (like bubble wrap), instead of eat them. Great. They were my sure thing, not that she has much trouble with fruit. I'm going to check out your blog :-)