Just the other day, while grocery shopping in the produce department, an avocado caught my daughter's eye: "What is that? What does it taste like?" When I suggested we buy one and try it, her eyes lit up. She carried that bumpy avocado through the whole store, and by the time she deposited it carefully at the cashier, this avocado had a name and distinct personality. It was several days before we could even consider using it as food.
When we did cut it open, the discovery of the soft, creamy, green interior and heavy, round pit set off more exclamations of delight. She scooped out the thick flesh and helped slice and dice it. We made a delectable dipping sauce that's delicious with corn chips, tacos or bean burritos (see recipe below). The pit and washed out shells went on to become lively characters and props at my daughter's outdoor wild flower restaurant that was serving up the latest in pine needle sandwiches and bluebell stew.
I had almost missed this opportunity. In my usual hurried way, in an attempt to get the shopping done, I had almost missed my daughter's curiosity and interest in something new. What I've discovered is that the old, mundane, and overlooked (to my adult eyes) is viewed in an entirely different light via kid vision.
Now, once or twice a month, I shop with an open-mind and encourage the kids to look for a new food they'd like to try-—we call it the new food of the month. We usually attempt to stay with the produce or meat and cheese department, forgoing the pre-packaged, refined, highly marketed items on the inner aisles.
And believe me, it's still a good idea to plan those marathon "we're out of everything" trips sans the kids. But on shorter runs, invite your kids to ask questions and pick a new food to explore only from these areas—-sometimes I limit it to just veggies or fruit-—and still have viably hundreds of selections from which to choose. It may be helpful to set the limits before you even enter the store-—say, something new from the produce department. Second, if you stick to the outer border of the store for kid-choices, you'll eliminate all those enticing, yet highly refined foods.
With the thousands of food choices available, the wide array of possibilities are astounding. And you may find yourself presented with an unusual food that you haven't prepared before. If that happens, never fear. The tool at your fingertips is just waiting to help you find the answers to your questions. A Google search can turn up a veritable treasure trove of resources on foods. Another excellent site is www.whfoods.org. And there's always our featured columnists here. Drop us a line, and we'd be thrilled to help you. And please feel free to share your comments and successes with trying new foods with your kids. You may just inspire us to try your new discovery also!
Here's hoping that once or twice a month, you head for unchartered territories and awaken the delights of culinary discovery. And, who knows, maybe your favorite food (or your child's) is just waiting to be discovered!
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