Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stages of Acceptance: Cold Chinese Pasta Salad, revisited

This post is to participate in Food with Kid Appeal's new "Big Words, Little Foodies" recipe swap. I know we've had more than a few moments with Abby like Big Boo's "Long Avocado," though rarely have they been about food!

Last night, I trotted out an old favorite for the kids - Cold Chinese Pasta Salad. I make this a lot in the summer and fall, but we hadn't had it in a while. Not wanting to go out and buy red pepper, I finally tried swapping in ribbons of carrot - with great success! I vastly preferred the thin ribbons of carrot (achieved with a simple vegetable peeler) to the bulky strips of red pepper. Even better - the kids preferred it, too!

Though she has had this dish a bunch of times, we still had to go through Abby's stages of dinner acceptance:

1. Initial rejection for imaginary, petty reasons

Abby: Mommy, what are you doing?

Me: Boiling the pasta for dinner.

Abby: Oh. I don't like boiling.

2. Visual inspection

Abby: Oh! These orange ribbons (the carrots) are so pretty! Like a present!

3. Continued petty rejections

Abby (who hates anything that is warmer than room temperature): This pasta is pretty cold.

4. Continued petty rejections, again and some more

Abby: This pasta is not getting on my fork! Mommy, it won't get on my fork!.... Oh. There it goes.

5. Acceptance:

(finally eats a piece) Abby: Oh! This is so yummy! I love it, Mommy!


Jenna said...

i love her description of carrot "ribbons". that's how i serve carrots on green salad, i did it for me though because i don't like the crunchy texture of raw carrots, shredded or in strips just tastes better! thanks for sharing. big boo just stared this year, but he now will see a dish i haven't served in a while, that i don't recall he was enthusiastic about and say, "this meal? i love this meal, i've been wanting it." ?? the acceptance over time is actually working for things he didn't love when he last had them!!

MaryAnne said...

So, how do you get Abby to have stages of rejection? With Emma it's either she loves it or she doesn't, and once she decides she doesn't like something it's a lost cause...

Kara said...

Jenna - that's something for me to hope for! Abby still meets absolutely everything on her plate (except for plain noodles) with extreme suspicion... I long for her to just say "Oh! I love that!"

Mary Anne - just about every meal starts out with rejection. We have really pushed Abby (through various measure, up to and including bribery) to try one bite of everything on her plate, which she is finally willing to do. She often doesn't get past that first bite, and I don't push it. If it's something like this pasta salad that I know she will like, I push harder.

Abby says "I don't like xyz" to just about everything that lands on her plate before she even sees it, so I suppose I've become immune to it. We just made it a rule that she has to try bites. It's only paying off now, at 4 years old - she used to really fight those one bites, but now she just does it (and then tells me she doesn't like it, sigh).

C. Beth said...

Your description of her monologue is great! Chickie tries to come up with reasons she doesn't like something (not always food) and sometimes makes up words ("It's too floofy.")