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...if you had guests for dinner with one particuarly picky child?

55 replies

MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 17:37

It's a difficult issue which I'm considering at the moment as DS is reaching the age where his friends will come round to eat with their parents.

Some of our friends' children will eat whatever you put in front of them. Cooking for them is a delight. DS is the same.

My house rules are: (1) we always try food once (usually he ends up going 'mmm! can I have more?') (2) I cook one meal at a time and anyone who doesn't like it will have to lump it.

It works for us because DS eats everything; it also worked for me and most of my friends when we were kids. So what about DS's pickier friends? I do not see why I should serve 'plain food' for everyone just because one child will eat nothing but - why should one child dictate what everyone else eats? I certainly will not cook two different meals so that the picky child can have their plain food and the rest of us have a slap-up meal - and I've sometimes found that even when I cook what I'm told the child likes, they don't want to eat it - possibly because I cook it in a different way from their parents .

At the same time I want to be hospitable to everyone - and to not have children left hungry!

So what's a woman to do? Am I the only one with this dilemma?

By the way I am not talking about vegetarianism/ veganism here, as that's not what I call 'picky eating'.

OP posts:
Tortington · 16/12/2009 17:40

i think your rules are great - they are rules we have always adhered to.

try it - lump it eat when you get home.

d had a friend many years ago and her mum told me that she wouldnt eat food touching on her plate.

needless to say sausage mash and beans were served - all in a mushy mush - as is their way.

the kid was hungry and ate it all up - not a word.

Heqet · 16/12/2009 17:41

I suppose it depends what you are cooking. When I do rice, for example, I spoon out a bit for my youngest before adding stuff he doesn't like.

I think when you have a guest, it is hospitable to serve food they like, whether that guest is an adult or child. However, at the end of the day, if you offer food you have been told they like and they don't eat it not much you can do.

JJ · 16/12/2009 17:43

My son is super picky. I tell people not to worry about it, if he doesn't eat, it's fine with him and fine with me. The only thing not to do is give me advice on how to handle it.

fourchickens · 16/12/2009 17:45

My ds is a picky eater (despite all my desperate attempts to get him to be otherwise) I tend to just send him with food he will eat and is easy to cook then they dont have to worry about accomadating his fussy habits..... or tell them to just give him toast, I live in hope he will wake up one day and eat all the wonderful foods I like to eat!!!

TheFoosa · 16/12/2009 17:46

I'm with JJ, I always forewarn

it is really hard though, imagine having to cater for someone like that several times a day and not just as a one off

MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 17:47

JJ, let me take this opportunity tell you how to manage your son's picky eating, using my failsafe conceit-free I'mAGeniusMummyAndYou'reClearlyNot method...

I do think it must be hell for parents with picky children...I count my blessings. No advice from here, matey!

Heqet - I think your advice on hospitability has to have its limits...I know a grown adult in his 60s who will eat nothing but meat and two veg (when I say "two veg", I mean the same two veg) for EVERY BLARDY MEAL. I think he just needs a slap.

OP posts:
MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 17:48

x-posts foosa!

OP posts:
ChasingSquirrels · 16/12/2009 17:49

I HAVE a picky child (and am a picky eater myself).

Within reason I agree with your rules although I might 'soften' the food - i.e. wouldn't serve a curry or anything particularly strong, might offer to not add the sauce before serving or take out their portion before it is added etc.

wonderingwondering · 16/12/2009 17:50

Serve up whatever you are cooking, then if they don't eat it, offer bread and butter. For one meal while they are visiting, it won't hurt.

If I've got lots of children visiting with their parents, I cook the meal we'll eat and offer cheese, ham, tomatoes and bread. Much easier and less stressful than the parents trying to force their children to eat my cooking!

MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 17:53

wondering - the cheese, etc, thing is a good tip - I did a lunch like this recently with friends who stayed for the weekend, and we had no probs. Will make sure I always have them on hand in future...

OP posts:
MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 17:55

I've just recalled a non-Brit I know who lives here...he refuses to eat any 'British food' (i.e. food cooked by people not from his native country). I find this HIGHLY offensive (not least because I am a very good cook...)

OP posts:
TisTheSeasonToBeHully · 16/12/2009 17:55

I only ate three things for years as a child and lived in mortal fear of what tea would be put on the table. I still remember with humble gratitude a friend's mother giving me a list with three options so I could tick one and I could go to tea relaxed. Now I do the same for any visiting child so they can enjoy themselves and feel comfortable. It's not a big deal and it means so much to them.

(Very emotional subject for me it appears..)

Marne · 16/12/2009 18:14

I would ask the mother what the child would like to eat a few days before they visit.

Dd1 is a very picky eater but i put that down to the fact she has Aspergers syndrome, her sister will eat anything. I wouldn't be too bothered if dd wasn't offered something she likes as i would feed her when we got home but it would be nice for the parent to ask me what dd likes to eat.

BelfastBloke · 16/12/2009 18:23

As an extremely picky eater as a child (who will now eat anything) I would say, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

I always wished the adults would stop going on about how difficult I was. I was PERFECTLY happy with toast, or cereal, and would have been relieved to have that at someone else's house, rather than being made to feel embarrassed about how 'bad' I was.

MerryXmasMrsHenry · 16/12/2009 18:30

BB - part of the 'fuss' is that picky eaters can often inspire problems in non-picky children - e.g. picky child says 'I don't like that', so you offer them other choices. Meanwhile your own children get pissed off because you don't treat them like that, and start playing up.

OP posts:
TheArmadillo · 16/12/2009 18:38

I have an extremely picky child. I'm with JJ on this one. I'll warn people he's unlikely to eat anything. Cook what you like - missing one meal won't hurt him adn there's a slim chance that he might try something new (ok very slim but still theoretically possible).

What I hate though is when I tell people not to bother putting themselves out as ds is incrediably picky and finds eating out/at other peoples houses stressful and finds plenty of distractions. He's unlikely to eat when out even if they spend time getting his favourite foods.

However then they ignore my advice, spend ages getting special foods adn then berate me that he wouldn't eat them after they went to all that effort - and I just think but I told you this would happen

74slackbladder · 16/12/2009 18:38

there's picky and there's picky. but i tend to agree that if a child is hungry enough they will eat and if they dont its up to their parent to deal with it. you cant be expected to cater to unusually picky kids at the expense of everyone else.

Lonicera · 16/12/2009 18:46

My extremely picky ds went on a 2 night residential school trip. He ate plain pasta for two nights. He survived. His choice


GrimmaTheNome · 16/12/2009 18:48

Cook what you want and certainly don't put effort into cooking anything special, but have some nice bread rolls (unbuttered, without seeds ) available. And/or put a glass full of breadsticks on the table.

As someone else said, a plate of cheese, ham, cherry toms, carrot sticks type of thing for kids to pick at might hit the mark.

CremeDeMenthe · 16/12/2009 18:55

I put everything in bowls on the table so the children can help themselves to what they like, and avoid what they don't like. Seems to work ok.

frogetyfrog · 16/12/2009 19:05

My child is extremely picky - always has been. We are not fussy at all and like all foods so have never worked out where it comes from. My other children are not overly picky, although slightly. I warn people to give her bread and butter or toast or beans etc as she gets so stressed eating out or at friends as plates of food she hates are placed in front of her by parents who seem to think it must be my bad parenting making her like she is!! She then vomits over the table, embarrasing herself, getting dreadfully upset by it and putting others off their food (she often vomits due to the smell or taste of most foods). They cant say I didnt warn them! Awful for her though. My advice is do what the parent suggests - if they say give toast, give toast for the poor childs sake. There are many reasons for picky eaters and there have always been picky eaters in each generation. It is not bad parenting.

pagwatch · 16/12/2009 19:06

I cook for all. Put it all out and then never make any reference to it again other than to tell the children ( if asked) they can have as much or as little as they like.
I try to do a buffet style meal whenever I can so that children can help themselves.

I think sometimes the whole pickiness thing becomes an issue when the host starts fluffing around and fussing about what said child has eaten or not.

They are seldomn going to be starved for the next 24 hours and can esat when they get home if need be.
DD is not at all picky ( although DS2 is incredibly so) but she often eats little when outside the home because she is so excited at playing/visiting.

I hate parents helicoptering over what children are eating in social situations

WillieWalsh · 16/12/2009 19:06

id not worry about it
even god eaters are funny atr others houses.
if they dont liek ti fine

moondog · 16/12/2009 19:09

'Picky eaters'
Even the phrase irritates me.
I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the concept.
Food is cooked.If people eat it, great.
If not,better still. More for me.

Hassled · 16/12/2009 19:09

As long as there's bread and fruit no one will starve. Maybe tell the fussy eater that those are the options first and that that's fine with you. DS2 (insanely fussy) is always fine with bread and fruit.

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