How to Survive Thanksgiving with a Picky Eater

How to Survive Thanksgiving with a Picky Eater
Note the nearly-empty plate, and the forlorn look on his face.
Note the nearly-empty plate, and the forlorn look on his face.

Yeah, we’re having one of those. Again. We’ll be celebrating the holiday with a handful of other food writers and their families, so it’s bound to be impressive—but also unfamiliar to Harry and, I imagine, intimidating. I expect my child to eat almost nothing from the vast array food on offer. I’m not stressing about it, though, since over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to keep our picky eater Thanksgiving legitimately enjoyable. I share eight of my best ones over at today. (#8 is my favorite!)

Meanwhile, though, there remains the question of what to cook to please a picky eater. My suggestion: Whatever the heck you want. At least in our case, there’s no predicting whether Harry will eat something he loved just yesterday, so it’s a waste to cook special dishes with him in mind. I look forward to Thanksgiving all year (seriously), so there’s no way I’m toning the whole thing down in the hopes it’ll please one person.

I’m still making my favorite, favorite stuffing recipe—but I’m making two trays of it. One’ll be vegetarian (no chicken broth or pancetta), with pine nuts in place of chestnuts to accommodate a food allergy. There’s an itsy-bitsy chance Harry will try that version. Cross your fingers, everyone!

Some of the more Thanksgiving-y recipes from Parents Need to Eat Too:

Spinach Salad with Maple-Roasted Butternut, Bacon, and Pecans
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios & Warm Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette
Pan-Roasted Carrots with Crispy Sage
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
One-Bowl Cranberry Cake

And to go with Picky Eater Thanksgiving Tip #7:

Pumpkin-Ricotta Gingersnap Pie
Flourless Double-Chocolate Cashew Bars

What’s your plan for Thanksgiving? If you’re lucky enough to be a fellow member of the Picky Eater Parents Club, I’d love to hear your own best tips—please share them over at, so others can learn from you, too!