Too spicy?: 8th-14th October

posted Nov 22, 2011, 12:02 PM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 9, 2012, 5:54 AM by Dinner Lady ]
I have been pleasantly surprised by the boys' food preferences this week. Saturday night's supper consisted of a smorgersboard of left overs: the paneer and pea curry, sausage casserole.  I had been steeling myself all day for dealing with the inevitable fight over the few remaining sausages, and the boys' inevitable competition to find the most offensive words to describe the curry.  At the mere sniff of pepper, The Naughty Knight whines "too spicy" at the moment, and slowly spits out the contents of his mouth, despite having relished Thai prawn green curry in his toddler years.  But as I dished up the said paneer and pea curry, looking rather sad and tired (the curry that is, not me!) after a couple of days in the fridge, Maths Geek's face lit up and proclaimed "Hey, I recognise this, we have had this cheese thing before. I like it!"
This is one of a few occasions where the younger sibling's need to copy absolutely everything their older sibling does pays off.  Usually it results in chaos, tellings off and tears. The more Maths Geek scoffed the curry, the more The Naughty Knight joined in, and soon the battle field shifted from the mundane to the exotic, and I was left with casserole rather than curry.

I am convinced of the positive effects of peer pressure when it comes to learning to enjoy food. From the earliest weaning days of mush and finger food, Maths Geek and his friends ate best when sitting together at the family table, watching each other and their more discerning adult friends. They saw that there is nothing to be afraid of when faced with a  little spice or a new texture and learned from example that food can provide sheer enjoyment.  This gave them the confidence and curiosity to tackle an increasing range of foods until they too fell in love with all things tasty.  Our home became the place that friends would bring their faddy babies, knowing that social eating would mean that the dreaded vegetables might even pass through their lips. The dining table is the heart of our kitchen which is the heart of house and continues to keep our bodies and souls pumping.