What’s for lunch? Either humble pie or egg on my face

(actually an old picture of my son slurping up his (former) favorite noodles)

(actually an old picture of my son slurping up his (former) favorite noodles)

I learned a lesson the hard way last night. You might remember that I thought of both my kids as egg eaters—I even sort of bragged about it in this post. Egg lunches—either hard-boiled, or cheese scramble for my daughter and over-easy for my son—were in the regular rotation. But I’m not immune to all the things that moms complain about all the time—routine sets in, you’re pressed for time, you go to the tried-and-true because you don’t even have to think about it. And it was only last week that I realized they have been eating the same two lunches for weeks now: sandwiches or soba noodles (and I only realized it because my son, long a die-hard fan of the noodles, asked me for a break from the noodles. I panicked. Wait, what will they eat? I wondered).

Last night seemed like the perfect opportunity for an egg dinner. My husband was at a work dinner, so I didn’t want to make anything elaborate. I had just enough corned beef and potatoes left over from St. Patty’s to make myself a hash, and eggs on top sounded just right. So I set the table with cheese scrambled eggs for my daughter and an over-easy for my son. Deep down, I did have misgivings: it had been a few months since they’ve eaten eggs this way.

My instinct turned out to be right: My daughter immediately said, “I don’t want those.” (And she’s two, so of course, it was followed with a dramatic push of the plate; and a Lady-Mary-style “Take them away!”) Across the table from her, my son looked warily at his plate. I mentally held my breath as he seemed to weigh whether or not to dip his toast into the yolk or raise a stink.

Fortunately, he dipped. But I would not call it a complete success—he declared himself done after two slices of toast dipped in yolk; in the past, we had also cut bites of the frizzled white to top bites of the toast with. It was completely clear at this point that I had dropped the ball on feeding eggs to my kids.

They say that you have to continue exposing your kids to a new food over and over—up to 13 times, according to some experts, but I know from my own experience that it’s a whole lot more than that. I was a super-picky eater growing up, and I must have watched my parents eat those things I found repulsive—stuffed squid, broccoli rabe, pesto, for example—hundreds of times before I ever ventured a taste, and even more times before I decided for myself how delicious they actually were. But those quoted studies never mention that it’s not just about new foods. Kids need to be exposed to a wide variety of foods regularly, or even foods that they accept readily will turn right back into something foreign, and you’ll be starting all over again.

So now, I’m making it a point to get eggs back into the weekly routine. I remembered too late that on the tail end of our egg phase, even my daughter had gotten into dipping toast soldiers into the yolk, so I’ll start again with a weekly over-easy for both, and take it from there. It might not be easy, and there will likely be a little whining involved—but such is parenthood.

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4 thoughts on “What’s for lunch? Either humble pie or egg on my face

    • Oh, the pickiest! I have written about it before, both here and at gourmet.com. My theory (supported by my trusted expert Ellyn Satter) is that the single most important thing for getting kids to be good eaters is having parents who are good eaters (definitely the case for you guys), but the getting there can take a loooong time for some—I’m talking 13 to 16 years!

  1. ana has always refused scrambled eggs – until they made “green eggs and ham” at school. Yesterday, much to my disgust I added 2 drops of green food coloring in her scrambled egg at her request, two bites later she told me it was ok but not as good as her teachers.

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