Choices and the Two Bite Rule

Now I stated in Friday’s post that when it came to making the girls try fruits and veggies there were choices. In all honesty, I brought the girls along on my journey. Our dinner table was an incredible contrast to that of my childhood. I put choices on the table so there would be no forcing the girls to “sit there until you eat your vegetables.” In fact, having dutifully researched the food groups, I decided that some nights a fruit was one of the choices. I mean, the food pyramid circa 1990 showed fruits and vegetables on the same ‘shelf’ right?

Before getting to the table, one had to shop for the food. Consequently, I took the girls with me to the grocery store. This was a new and, I discovered, wonderful experience. In fact, we dragged daddy along as often as possible. To this day I find grocery shopping a lonely experience if I have to do it by myself. I still coax Barry into joining me whenever I can!

The produce section became a playground for the palate. We would carefully buy the ‘everyday’ fruits and vegetables ~ lettuce (still iceberg), tomatoes, cucumbers (new addition), apples, oranges and grapes. Then there was the hunt for the unknown delight. This was the adventure. The girls would hunt for something they did not recognize. Of course, they were reluctant to point out anything that looked “Yucky” lest I would make them actually put it in their mouths. That meant that things like ginger root are farther down the road that is my journey. {smile}

Let’s get back to the girls and the beginning of some fun. I would send them on the search but we would decide together on just one new item per trip. We bought a number of new and exciting items over the course of the littles being little.There are a few that seem memorable. Kiwi, for example, seemed fun and Courtney thought it was cute and fuzzy. So kiwi came home with us, not knowing that I had no idea what to do with it. Poor Kiwi.

May I remind you of the time frame we are discussing, and thus the fact that I couldn’t Google the little fuzz ball and find out what to do. I hadn’t yet hooked into watching Food Network because when the girls were little our TV channels were restricted to channels 2 to 13 and we had no cable channels. Besides, we went out to play when chores were done. There was not much time spent in front of the box.

Here is what I knew. The grocery store wouldn’t sell it if you couldn’t eat it. I decided to use common sense. The outside seemed inedible. I cut it off. The rest seemed soft and there wasn’t a pit when I cut through the middle. Cleverly, like the cousin orange, the kiwi came to dinner in slices.

Now would be the perfect time to tell you that we had to decide next what to do about this new choice. The standard in our house became known as the Two Bite Rule. I believe that though you should not be forced to eat things you do not like, you should never close your mind to trying new things. I also know anyone could muster the courage to ingest one bite of an unknown and live to tell about it. You probably wouldn’t even taste it. The second bite is the true test. Already once through the lips, the second sampling sends the savory sensation to your …oh poot. You actually taste the second bite. There really is no getting around it. The second bite tells you whether or not you actually like the food you just ate.

The kiwi was a success for me and for Courtney. Tammy tells me today she still doesn’t like them. I believe when I mentioned them as a part of this discussion she referred to them as nasty. Daddy played it carefully, tried everything, and said it was all good. We girls knew, however, when he really loved something. Fresh pineapple was a big hit for daddy. It still is!

Star fruit seemed to have great promise but the memorable thing was that it was not memorable. As lovers of princesses, we had to buy the star fruit. Sadly, it was a falling star in our home; it did not impress. I have not bought one since. Perhaps, upon reflection, I should give it another go.

So choices and the Two Bite Rule were good practices in our steadfast rule of “Say what you mean and mean what you say” parenting. I could say you have to eat your veggies. And as soon as each girl chose one, they ate them. No sitting at the table for hours. Phew! And just to assure there would be no recurrence of my nightmare, there was always a palatable option for all. My journey, and the girls’, took many adventurous steps forward.

Frankly, the Two Bite Rule still gets called into play to this day.