My sweet 9 year old spends every afternoon at his best friend's house. His friend's mom, Mrs C, is as close to a miracle worker as anyone I've ever met. She can get my pickiest eater to try anything. I've begged her to share her secret, but she just smiles and shrugs. "I just ask him if he wants to try a bit," she says.
There's no way it's that easy. I live with this kid and I know that he won't even try the aroma of new food without giving me a look that clearly says he's sure he's about to be poisoned. (For the record, I've never poisoned anyone that I know of. I'm pretty sure I would know that....right?)
I had no idea that she had secret super powers until he came home and said, "Have you ever tried calamari? Did you know it's squid? Mrs C fed me some and it was so good. Is that meatloaf for dinner? With mashed potatoes? I'm not eating that. It's weird."
A week later, he said, "Did you know that duck is good? I ate some at Mrs C's house. She fed us a snack of duck with a salad. Is that chicken with rice? No thanks. It's weird." (She feeds them salad for a snack and the kids love it. I tried that once. Nothing doing over here).
The next week it was shrimp that he'd helped to clean. Then she got him to eat sushi. He's tried alligator and moose at her house and loved them. (Her husband goes hunting all over the country.)
He returns to our house, lifts the lid off the pot, crinkles his nose at the perfectly normal and delicious dinner I've made and sighs. (I really am a good cook. Other people have said so. It's not just me.)
I wish I knew her trick. There has to be more to it than she asks him. I ask him too, but for me the answer is no. Maybe it's the magic air on the other side of the creek. Maybe it's that she is kind and nobody would ever accuse her of poisoning people. (I swear...I never have. What have you heard?) Maybe it's that....I don't know.
I just know that I'm sending all of my picky eaters to her house to eat, and I'm going to be peeking in the windows.