Honestly, my older son is probably going to be vegetarian as he just naturally doesn't eat a lot of meat. I think you can control it some by what you actually serve on a regular basis but mostly I think it is teaching your kids about nutrition and not worrying too much on the special ethnic meals.
I have some food issues here in that it's very common for people to give food to kids without checking with a parent. In a market, on the street, in the playground etc. It's not a huge big deal as he's 3 and has no allergies and so on but most of the food is stuff I wouldn't want to eat myself and it just seems wrong to know he's eating/eaten it. A lot of times now he says 'no thanks', so it's getting easier. If I see and decline they all say stuff to him like 'oh, your mama is so strict!'. Eh.
There are some things I don't eat that my boyfriend eats, like the feet of chicken, or some weird beetles / bugs whatever they are, and pieces of tiny little birds that are full of bones, I guess I wouldn't mind if my child would end up eating stuff like that, as long as nobody expects me to eat it, too.
Japanese food has some stuff that is pretty darn different from what I ate as a kid. Most notably, slimy foods. I myself am sick of having people ask me what I can and can't eat, and having to have the slimy foods discussion, so I have no intention of passing my inhibitions along to our kids. But that is just me, and is coming from someone who is expecting her kids to have to prove their Japanese-ness to others. It may not be an issue for you and your family.
I try not to put my dislikes on to my kids - easier said than done especially as dd is quite a picky eater - especially with something like tripe - just the smell haunts me to this day - so I guess I'm abit in your boat!! DS will try anything but he's only 2.5 so I'm sure he'll go through a picky moment or two!! I remember when dh sat down with a Chinese friend of ours to eat a calf's head myself and our friend's Italian wife tried to look the other way!! Just passing the butchers here is a bit of a difficult one with pigs ears and trotters widely on display that I find particularly difficult to look at. I try to vary the diet of my kids but invaribly turn to 'Feeding the Whole Family' as a bit of a guide to healthy food, however, if my dh or the kids want to try something I wouldn't like I try to support them in their choice but it's certainly not something that's particularly easy to accomplish!
There are things that I've cooked that DH doesn't care for (not for lack of trying so I really appreciate that about him) but DS and I eat. So it's not so much of an issue.
I just make sure that whatever ethnic foods I give to DS are age appropriate and clean (like if it's organ meat, I make sure I clean and cook it really well). Of course I have the same standards for the food I eat myself so again, not an issue.
DH and I like the fact that DS seems to be showing a wide variety of tastes.
Our daughter eats whatever she wants, and we give her everything.
Haggis is really tasty. It's the only way I'll eat organs.
We eat things like ackee, flitters, plantains, saltfish, fried dumplings all on Christmas for brunch, in particular. Tatum eats all of it and usually likes the meats in particular because of how they are seasoned. He hasn't had them all too often yet because he's only 19 mos, but I hope that he continues to like everything. On a normal basis, we usually just eat over dh's grandmom's house to get a taste of Jamaica - but its normally regular foods like beef, chicken, turkey, rice and peas (beans) and greens or broccolli - but all seasoned the SAME WAY ALL THE TIME. Neither dh or I cook like that here in our house, but we can get it whenever we want, so hopefully ds will be exposed enough to enjoy all flavors and varieties of foods.
I agree with Paddington, though. It really matters to expose them to healthy foods for the purpose of teaching them nutrition. Just include variety and be positive about all cultures, not just yours and dh's either. Well roundedness is important, I think. And fun!
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There is one particular dish we all avoid, as it involves raw beef. It is a speciality there, but dh is a nurse thus is leary of it himself.
I really would like my children to develop a taste for Ethiopian food because it is soooooo much healthier than most American fare, with a whole grain bread used as a base and lots of veggies and red pepper. American food (even the semi-healthy stuff I make), I feel ready to eat again almost right away. Ethiopian food fills me up for a long time.
That said, whenever we get the opportunity to try new things, I go for it and encourage LO to do the same. Toddlers in other countries don't seem to have the same relationship to food that we do, so I don't worry too much about whether or not LO is old enough to try x, y, z. She's free to refrain from trying it or to try it and dislike it; I just want to expose her to variety so that she can make her own choices.
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we eat a lot of japanese food but i'm vegetarian so nothing is truly authentic and i suppose a lot of the 'strange' or freaky foods are off the list for us seeing as there are no animals on our table!
but yeah, i try hard to encourage our daughter to eat and LIKE traditional japanese food mostly because i don't want to give people reason to pick her out as not being japanese (if that makes sense). slimy foods included!
I cook the West indian dishes I know and we rely on Grandma and Aunty to provide the rest
I do like dumplings though...and I've never been so happy as I was when we got married in Jamaica and I ate fried plaintain every morning for breakfast
My DD likes "picy" food too!
BTW, my children like to eat different things. I'm just in awe of them when the pick up a whole squid and chomp down
I make *much* different dishes than MIL but dh usually loves my cooking, he doesn't tend to like many squash dishes and that annoys me sometimes.
At potlucks with MIL's family we do have moments of "what are you feeding me?" but so far no mishaps.
My kids are big spicy eaters too, as am I. Since we don't eat meat, we eat at home most of the time, and there is always something in the oven or on stop top. I feel like my kids are very versitale and willing to try any vegetarian food. I try to change the recipes up, but when tired I always fall back to dal, rice and veggie recipes.
I'd love some Ethiopian recipes as i love vegetable wats and the injera. I'd love to make some of that. I bet I could make the wats. Some of the spices are the same as Indian spices.
We eat a lot of Japanese food. We love sushi! I'm trying to make it myself but I need a few more tools and lots of practice.
DS eats nori in strips like crackers and both kids eat tofu right out of the package. We make Japanese style curry a lot. As for things that I have a hard time with, it's more related to his growing up on Guam. DH LOVES spam. He fries it up and puts it over rice. When I was preggo I made his grill it outside because I can not stand the smell of it. He also eats Natto. I can't eat it. I've tried. Other than that I've really become more adventurous eater in the last 11 years we've been together.