New Food Wednesday. It sounded like a great idea at the time. In my mind, this would mean that at least one day a week, Wednesday picked at random, I would only have to make one dinner for all three of my beautiful boys. I would be able to take off my short-order cook uniform, put on my “My mom is the best” apron, and make one meal for the whole family.
The one thing I’ve learned about being the mom of a picky eater is that there is actually something that you cannot blame on your mother-in-law. Son #1 eats nothing. Correction: He eats flanken. And sponge cake. He is all set to move into a nursing home. I never thought I would have picky eaters because when I was pregnant with these guys, I ate everything. I still eat everything. I thought that anything they encounter in-utero would translate into what they would eat out of utero. Sons #2 and #3 are pretty good eaters, but son #1 is his father’s child.
But I figured it out: New Food Wednesday. In my mind, this dinner was going to be a reasonably healthy one. It was not going to come out of a box or require a bowl and a spoon. It was going to make my kitchen smell delicious and we were all going to sit around the table and enjoy a lovely, nutritious, palate-pleasing supper together. No one was going to say, “Yuck, I am not eating this.” The magic of this plan was that it was a different recipe every week. If the majority of my progeny did not enjoy it, it would never be made again. All they had to do was eat their portion and weigh in with their vote. That was it. Yup, it sounded like a great idea at the time.
The first New Food Wednesday went pretty well. I made a meat and macaroni dish which was quite easy. Anything that only requires one pan makes me happy. I like to call them the “one dish wonders.” So this recipe was chopped meat (lean, of course, to make it “healthier”), tomato sauce (tomato is a vegetable, or a fruit—doesn’t matter because both have some sort of nutritional value), and macaroni (because what kid doesn’t like macaroni). I served it with some baby carrots and cut up peppers, which were optional.
Everyone like it. I patted myself on the back. I was the greatest mom ever with the greatest idea. Why did it take me so long to come up with this?
That would bring us to the second New Food Wednesday…
Week 2 and salmon was on the menu. Easy, delicious, and healthy. Two of my boys always ate fish sticks, so salmon was a fish without the stick part. Since week 1 went so well I was ready to congratulate myself again and write a book about how easy it was to feed my boys. What were all of those other moms complaining about?
I served the salmon. Son #1 and son #3 ate it. “This is delicious, Mommy!” Words every mother dreams of hearing. But then there was son #2. He was screaming. Loudly. “I AM NOT EATING THIS!!!!!!IT TASTES BAD AND IT SMELLS BAD!!” And there he sat, with his mom standing over him saying what we told ourselves we would never say to our kids because our mothers said it to us, “You are not leaving this table until you eat every bite.”
I wish I could say the story ends with my adorable son #2 coming to his senses and realizing how yummy salmon is, but, alas, it does not. He sat there and sat there and sat there with his big blue eyes welled up with tears. His brothers finished eating and went to play, and there he sat. After two hours I gave in. Giving in makes you both the greatest mom and the worst mom all at the same time. I got a big hug and an, “I love you,” he got to eat cereal and milk, and I also made him something from a box for good measure.
And thus, New Food Wednesday went the way of the horse and buggy and the 8-track tape player…
The short order cook uniform went back on, and I resumed making different meals for everyone. Bad mommy, yes; I know this is bad. Son #2 will eat almost anything but fish, to this day. Son #1 is still giving me a run for my money. I leave fruits and vegetables on the table for snacks when they come home from school. I caught son #1 eating celery and I took a picture as proof.
In a few years, hopefully, he will be his wife’s problem, and the circle of life will continue.