Chronicle of a Picky Eater

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Regular readers know that at GK HQ LA (translation: Gastrokid headquarters Los Angeles) we’ve got two very different kid palates to satisfy: a 7 year old omnivore with vegetarian leanings, and a 4 year old brownivore with brown-food leanings. After many witnessing countless shifting states of culinary druthers at the dinner table, we’re at a point where we’re back to customizing meals to sustain nutrition and family meal happiness. There’s a certain 4 year old in our household who requests his cereal milk heated prior to the addition of dried cereal. He adores strawberries one day, then rejects them the next. Is it a 4 year control issue? Is it a palate issue? Who knows. A well-fed caveman is less disruptive to the balance of a happy family than an underfed caveman. Be he 4 years old or 39 years old.

Which is why my wife and I were thrilled when 4 year old Desmond requested turkey and peanut butter for lunch. He’d had a cupcake at a school event, and afterward wisely yearned for lean protein and good fat. He asked for turkey and peanut butter. We obliged. He ate it up. The glycemic crash of the cupcake was balanced. And saturday commenced peacefully. We thought: that’s not unlike any number of poultry/nut dishes of the world. Mexican turkey and mole. Thai chicken satay.

And then several days later he rejected the simple roast chicken (organic, pre-cooked, whole foods), and requested, again peanut butter. But this time with the sriracha hot sauce I’d put on my plate. Along with the kewpie mayo (Japanese, MSG to the right degree, cute bottle) I’d put there too.
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And we obliged. On bread. An amazing sauce of Momofuku complexity. Of satay delightfulness. And we learned a lesson in inventiveness from a picky guy who somehow expanded our culinary horizons in his pickiness. All he wanted was good food. No rules but the rules of general yuminess. He had instincts. We had the ingredients. He was well fed. We didn’t fight. Much.
—Hugh

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