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Responding to my piece yesterday about the need for parents to do a better job educating their kids about food and broadening their palates, MNB user Richard Lowe wrote:

So when I was 7 my family moved to Singapore and 9 months later to Bangkok for 3 years . We had a Chinese cook in Singapore and a Thai cook in Bangkok - ate and tried many different foods. I have always been a lover of almost every food imaginable. When we came back in 1955 my mother continued to create a wide variety of meals and loved to experiment trying new recipes. My father's rule in the house was if you do not finish your meal - no desert - and we always had some wonderful desert.

I am appalled by fussy eaters big and small, for I like you consider food to be one of the truly great pleasures of life!

I guess that is why I winter in Mexico and travel as much as possible every year for another gastronomic experience.

From another MNB user:

Hi. My names is Brad, and I am a “foodie”.

From the moment my children were born I have seen it as part of my role as a parent to teach my children how to live happy/healthy lives which includes how they view, enjoy and deal with food.

We have always tried to expose them to new foods. We never made them eat anything they didn’t like, but they were always required to try everything. When dining out we encouraged them to try something they had never had before. As a result, my 17 year old daughter has always eaten just about everything put in front of her, although she isn’t a big fan of tomatoes based dishes or sauces. While my 14 year old son went through what I will call his “Beige Food Period” today he probably enjoys the greatest variety of foods of anyone in our family.

In addition to making my kids try all kinds of foods from all kinds of cuisines I have taught them to cook. As soon as they were able to stand at the counter or over the stove they were required to contribute to the families meals. This started out very simply with helpful prep tasks and expanded from there. As soon as they were able they were given responsibility for planning and executing one family meal on their own each week. Today my son is a really good cook in his own right and my daughter loves to bake. Tonight my daughter is trying a new meatloaf recipe, which will be ready at about the time my wife and I get home from work. Since my daughter will have cooked the rest of us will be responsible for the clean-up after dinner.

Don’t get me wrong. We are a very busy family with two working parents and two very active kids. We tend to make larger meals so we have left-over and believe me when I say we eat more than our share of left-overs. We order an occasional pizza for delivery or hit Chipotle on the way home now and again. However, since we prepare more meals at home, when we do go out to eat it tends to be a bit more special. Because it is infrequent we don’t mind spending a little bit more. These become occasions to talk and bond as we enjoy being served and eating a dish we may not have had the time to prepare ourselves or whose ingredients are unusual or harder to keep around the house.

These meal-times, both at and away from home, become the moments that stick in all of our minds as to what our family is; they become our special memories.

MNB user Theresa Ruppert wrote:

My nephew has never eaten jarred baby food.  He is not French, but his parents have put a lot of effort into expanding his palate.  He has always eaten what the rest of the family is eating.  At first they used a blender and later they cut it up into age appropriate bites.  They have also made a decision not to expose him to fast food.  The awesome result is a 2 year old that eats almost everything.  He eats salad, fruit, vegetables, meat, etc.  Sweets are extremely limited.  At his 1 year birthday party he ate cake for the 1st time.  He does eat cake now, but in very limited portions.  The unfortunate part of this story is that I know this story is an anomaly, but I am extremely proud of my brother and his wife.

MNB user Andrea Atripaldi wrote:

Love this piece on the fact that chicken nuggets and our belief that all kids prefer them is indeed cultural! I was fortunate to move my family to Belgium for work when they were 8, 10 and 12 years old. During that time they had to learn to live without the "children's menu" at restaurants; there usually isn't one. They had to learn that 10oz of soda (without ice) can last a whole meal.  They also learned that ice cream cones don't have to be three scoops to be good and refreshing; one will do!  We are back now for two years and I can count on my right hand the times they have asked for or said they prefer nuggets over trying something new on a menu.  I believe there is evidence to support the fact that we (our generation of working, frenzied parents) have created this myth that our kids actually want these fast foods without even realizing it because it  served our purpose; convenience. MNB user Jan Fialkow wrote:

I don't have any kids so I can't speak to the issue of daily food consumption, but I do play Auntie Mame to two nephews. The rule at my house was they had to try everything I served — and I did push the envelope beyond their comfort zones. I made trying new things fun. I had a stepstool by the kitchen sink and if they really hated something, they could go to the sink and spit it out — and make all the gross, disgusting noises they wanted while they were at the sink. When they came back to the table, they had to have good manners — and they couldn't decide they really did like the food. That last part was put in place after one of them spit out something new, made lots of yucky noises and then returned to the table to tell me he was only kidding.

The older one was a very picky eater and didn't like most of what he tried. The younger one astounded me with the sophistication of his palate —his favorite foods were salad and fish. They're grown men in the 30s now and have completely switched roles. The older one will try anything, the younger sticks to a small group of pretty pedestrian stuff. Go figure!

KC's View: