Pica Kids’s Food: Is a Meal Spicy if You Don’t Tell Them It Is?

We all went out for an impromptu lunch today to a new Portuguese/Mediterranean joint in our neighbourhood.

The adults ordered the Pollo Piri Piri – a fiery little number involving bell peppers and red chiles…..boy was it good.

The Gastrokids split a plate of penne arrabiatta…..and yes, when I tasted it to gauge the temperature for my little one, it also had a bit of a kick to it.

Hence a dilemma. Do I tell my four year old that it might be a little spicy and have him decide there and then to claim he can’t eat it? Or do I just say nothing and see if he turns bright red and smoke comes out of his ears?

I decided on the latter form of subterfuge (also hoping my 18 month old wouldn’t burst into tears).

Guess what? They both ate it just fine……though my son did point out it was a bit spicy (but tasty too) while the only potest/commentary offered by my little girl was a deliberate hand sign request for milk halfway through the meal (seeing as she can’t be bothered to talk we’ve been teaching her sign language….it might make the teenage years more bearable at any rate!).

There. That’s my spicy confession. What they don’t know won’t hurt them I reckon.

- Matthew

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3 Responses to Pica Kids’s Food: Is a Meal Spicy if You Don’t Tell Them It Is?

  1. erin says:

    This post is so funny to me. When my daughter was really little, I used to tell her that certain foods that I didn’t want her to try (alcohol, chewing gum, etc.) were “spicy” so that she would not be interested in tasting them. This has obviously backfired on me because now she thinks that all spicy foods are foods that she won’t like. So she constantly asks me if things are spicy before she’ll try them. I think I’ll take a page from your book going forward and just say “no” when asked the inevitable, “is it spicy?”

  2. Stephanie says:

    I think the real question is does spicy=kids won’t like it? I don’t usually warn my kids that things are spicy, but do provide milk or something else for them to drink. They are now 9,7 and 4 and we live in upper mid-west… where the Scandahoovians think that ketchup is spicy. The fact that my kids will eat salsa is amazing to other parents. We also use dumb euphemisms like “this will make your tastebuds dance!” Pretty hokey, but I don’t want them to think spicy is bad or something that they shouldn’t like. My favorite thing as a kid was a clam spaghetti that my mom made with plenty of red pepper flakes in it, and now my kids love it when I make it.

  3. a. borealis says:

    I’ve thought the same thing…best to offer them anything their little palate should be able to handle and let them decide. It is amazing how dumbed-down “kid’s food” is. That’s why I love this blog so much. Thanks guys!
    [First-time commenter, too]

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