It all started with a lie.
Jan. 19, 2013 3:53 pm
Updated: Jan. 20, 2013 6:25 pm
Thirty years ago my mom proclaimed me the world's pickiest eater. I could count on one hand how many vegetables I would eat: 1) corn, 2) potatoes, 3) raw carrots, 4) cucumbers, and 5) lettuce. Then I got married and had kids of my own. The crown of world's
pickiest eater was transferred to my son and a new challenge began -- how to trick him into eating healthy when PBJs and Spaghettios were his Cuisine du Jour. As a parent, one can only lie so long before the truth of vegetables hidden in the casserole is discovered.
An added challenge is that my son has mouth sensitivity. If it's too squishy he won't eat it and if it has too much texture he won't eat it--let's call it a side benefit to high-functioning autism.
Over the past 14 years, the family has begun to know what my son likes and what he doesn't. He once proclaimed he was a member of PETA so that he would get out of eating the nice roast I cooked. I had to explain what PETA stood for and that he eats the
chicken nuggets at his school cafeteria. He told me that was because they tasted good, unlike my food. And then I found the recipe that changed our lives and the lies began.
. I wanted to know how to make the best meatballs for spaghetti. I found a recipe with ground pork, ground turkey, ground beef, Parmesan cheese, and
. Even I did not eat spinach but, it was worth a shot. As I prepared the meatballs, I drained the frozen greens and minced the living daylights out of the spinach until it resembled a fine green paste. I added it to the meat mixture and
baked until they were done. As I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven, I was overcome with a strong desire to taste the forbidden vegetable. I proclaimed the meatball satisfactory and the plan to get my son to eat the spinach was hatched.
Everyone knew but him. We were all in on it. We put the meatballs in the spaghetti sauce and served it on a nice bed of noodles. We sat around the table as he picked apart his food and said, "What's that green stuff?" Although I was unable to look him
in the eyes, I shrugged and said, "Oh, that's just the spaghetti seasoning." Nobody would look at anyone else and the silence was pronounced. Would he buy it? He took a bite and then a few more. The hard part was over.
We waited until he was done with his second helping and then the smiles came out. Someone even snickered. He asked what was so funny and we finally ended up telling him that the meatballs contained spinach. He threw his arms high in the air and shouted,
"SPINACH? I HATE SPINACH! YOU FED ME SPINACH?"
He was so distraught over this lie that the next day he had meatballs as the after school snack.