By Kim Severson
A WEEK’S worth of dinners for young Fiona Jacobson looks like this: Noodles. Noodles. Noodles. Noodles. French fries. Noodles. On the seventh day, the 5-year-old from Forest Hills, Queens, might indulge in a piece of pizza crust, with no sauce or cheese.
Over in New Jersey, the Bakers changed their November family vacation to accommodate Sasha, an 11-year-old so averse to fruits and vegetables that the smell of orange juice once made him faint. Instead of flying to Prague, Sasha’s parents decided to go to Barcelona, where they hope the food will be more to his liking.
I learned it from watching you, dad. I learned it from watching you. How could they get it from me? I like crazy food. I’ll eat wasabi encrusted, pickled eel tentacle just like that. This kid won’t even take down a plate of meatloaf unless we pretend he’s a pig. Though child psychology experts may not like her methods, we sort of dig where Jessica Seinfeld is coming from. Sometimes kids have to be tricked. Sure, it doesn’t get them eating the good foods of their own volition and may make them grow to distrust you, but isn’t that part of growing? Aren’t we forced into doing a lot of things we don’t like? Aren’t we tricked into being good so that Santy Claus, Hanukkah Harry, and the Easter Bunny hook us up during the holidays? On rare occasions, parents know what is best for their kids and have to get them on the same page whether it’s through bribery, willpower, brute force (note: we are not particularly in favor of corporeal punishment), or subterfuge. Show them who’s boss.