Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stick It to Me

My son, for some inexplicable reason, is not a fan of meat. He will occasionally deign to eat a hotdog, or a few chicken nuggets, but in general, any kind of meat will be left on his plate. He picks the ground beef out of his shepherd’s pie, he eats around the chicken in chicken pot pie, he leaves a little pile of pork when he eats pork fried rice, he ignores the “and meatballs” part of spaghetti and meatballs.

So last week, when we were at Costco, my husband and I were absolutely amazed that he happily ate several meatball samples and a few pieces of chicken breast. What was the magic? Was it merely the allure of Costco that makes everything taste good? Was he just so starving that he would eat anything? No, the answer was simple: a toothpick. The samples were all given on a toothpick. Apparently, a toothpick makes anything palatable.

We tested this hypothesis at lunch today. My husband and I took both kids to lunch at Friendly’s. He and I both ordered sandwiches that were served skewered with a frilled toothpick, and we ordered my son a hotdog with macaroni and cheese and a side of Mandarin oranges. When his food arrived, my husband cut the hotdog into pieces and then we both oohed and aahed over how “yummy” and “scrumptious” his lunch looked. My son busied himself with his magical color-changing straw and ignored his food – until Daddy took the toothpick out of his sandwich and stuck it in one of the hotdog chunks.

You’d have thought that my son hadn’t eaten in a week. The hotdog was gone in about two and a half minutes. And the oranges were gone in about four more. (They would have disappeared faster, but they were slippery enough that he had to slide them to the middle of the toothpick, and it took him a while to master the technique of putting the toothpick in his mouth sideways and then sliding it out while keeping the orange in his mouth.)

I’m pretty sure that this will open endless new food vistas for him. As long as I include a fork, a spoon, and a toothpick with his place setting, I can dish up calamari, filet mignon, swordfish, rabbit, pheasant, and duck a’l’orange and be assured that he’ll eat it.

Heck, I’ll be happy if it means he’ll eat lasagna, meatloaf, and chicken with rice.

Bookmark and Share