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Broccoli con Queso: Cooking with Junior

If you haven’t picked up on my subtle hints, my child has been blessed with a, let’s say, discerning palate. (And by “discerning,” I mean that his list of Won’t Eats is approximately 638 times as long as the list of Will Eats.)

This has been going on for close to two years now: I cook something new and exciting and delicious, and Harry refuses to taste it. I’ve stopped letting him see my disappointment (at least I think I have), because I’ve learned that the more I show him how important this is to me, the more likely he is to assert what little control he has. I make dinner for me and Stephen, and if Harry doesn’t like what we’re having he’s free to grab a yogurt or a cheese stick. Luckily his disdain doesn’t apply to fruit and he’s always good for seconds on pasta (olive oil only, no sauce, please) or meatballs, so he’s getting all his nutrients. And for the most part I’m ok with all this.

But every so often, I try to casually encourage him to expand his culinary horizons. This week, that took the form of a brand-new cookbook by one of his heroes: Dora and Diego Let’s Cook. I figured, if his Diego t-shirt, his Diego sunglasses, and his Diego backpack could motivate him to get dressed, perhaps a Diego-endorsed recipe might work that same magic in the kitchen.

Shockingly enough, the first recipe Harry chose to try was Broccoli con Queso. Yup, broccoli.

Here’s how it went:

First, Wall-E had to help stir.

And Harry didn’t want Eve to feel left out.

Each diner got his or her own bowl. Harry said that Wall-E and Eve both loved their food.

As for Harry, eh, not so much.

Incredibly enough, Harry insisted it was the cheese sauce that was the problem. He actually ate an entire (admittedly tiny) broccoli floret, plain. This is earth-shaking news, people. Earth-shaking.

I’m pretty sure he won’t eat another for quite a while, but I’ll take what I can get.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Joy Manning

    It may surprise you to learn that this totally omnivorous food editor/cookbook author/restaurant critic was tyrannically picky as a kid. At Harry's age, I ate only buttered spaghetti (no other pasta shapes, please), grilled cheese, chocolate ice cream and the whole family of fried corn snacks coated in powdered cheese. I never even laid eyes on a legume until the college cafeteria. And now I have the most varied diet of almost anyone I know. He'll change too.

  2. debbie koenig

    I love you for saying that, Joy. I wasn't *that* picky as a kid, but oddly enough I still don't really like most of the things I refused as a kid. Chiefly cheese (straight, not in a recipe), sour cream, yogurt, mayo–still hate them all.

  3. Liz

    I just can't believe how similar your son's eating habits are to my son's! (I have a six-year-old daughter who will try most things, at least, even if her favourite food group is chocolate.) Teddy's interest in food is similarly abstract. He can enjoy preparing food with me, enjoy shopping for it, enjoy watching food shows on the TV, but actually eating anything that's not potato-based? Nah. Not so much. I, too, reassure myself that he likes fruit and eats a great breakfast most days. And he's tall and clearly healthy, so why worry. I just want him to LIKE it, like I do!!!!

  4. debbie koenig

    Liz, from everything I've read, and from talking to a ton of food-writer parents, this is 100% normal. Supposedly they'll move on at some point, but that part seems to differ from child to child. Patience, grasshopper!

    But yeah, the desire to instill some sense of joy around food is pretty hard to tamp down.

  5. Sarah Caron

    That is so adorable that he had Wall-E and Eva help make the dish! So, is the cookbook worth purchasing? What did you think of the recipe? My kids love Dora and Diego …

  6. debbie koenig

    Sarah, the recipes aren't exactly gourmet, but for the most part they're healthy. Even the desserts chapter (which is the one Harry keeps wanting to re-read) doesn't go crrraazy, kwim? Lots of fruit & whole grains, except for the giant Dora's Castle cake, which uses boxed cake mix (WTF?). The broccoli/cheese recipe, for example, called for reduced-fat cheddar & low-fat milk. If you think your kid would be influenced by Dora & Diego to try new things, it couldn't hurt! Esp since it's only $12 on Amazon right now.

  7. Cindy Rowland

    The action shots of him running away are the best!

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