Sigh. By now my battles with my youngest son (aka Mr Picky) are legendary. Even my most hard-core “helpful” relatives have quit giving me advice on my picky eater.
Let’s put it this way: If you can pin it, I’ve tried it.
I’ve got a full library on the subject.
The boy is sensitive to textures. He’s also strong willed. It’s not a fun combination at the dinner table.
Our latest battle was over soup. Chicken noodle soup to be specific.
My youngest son begs for chicken soup, particularly when he doesn’t feel good.
I wish I could say he craves his mommy’s from scratch chicken soup. I make a great soup that starts with roasted chicken meat and a long simmered bone broth.
Instead, Mr Picky wants me to open a can of chicken and pasta soup. To him, the different shapes all taste different. Cartoon characters are fun, but the tiny little stars are still his favorite.
(When I was his age, I had a fondess for the exact same soup. I can’t blame him.)
But as his mom, I know my homemade soup is way better. Mr. Picky won’t normally eat vegetables, but he’ll gobble up the little flecks of carrots in the can of soup.
I decided to “fix” that can of soup thing and make it a little healthier.
Step one: Add chicken
I added a small undrained can of organic white meat chicken to a can of soup. The only ingredients were chicken and water. I’m guessing it doubled the amount of chicken in the bowl.
No, canned chicken isn’t gross. The can that contains ingredients *OTHER* than chicken is gross.
Mr Picky didn’t notice. Two points for me!
Step two: Add carrots
In addition to the extra chicken, I tried adding some extra little flecks of carrots. I managed to find a single serve container of cubed cooked carrots that looked almost identical to those already in the soup. It probably tripled the vegetable content in the bowl.
Mr Picky didn’t notice. Two more points for me.
Step Three: Add pasta
I decided to push my luck. In my mind, I was only one step away from being able to replicate the canned soup experience. I was only lacking the pasta. So, I bought the tiny star shaped pasta at the store. I over cooked it in some store bought chicken stock. Then I added that to the soup. That made enough soup to feed both kids and have some left for me.
Mr Picky didn’t notice. One more point for me.
(It would be two points, but I took one point off for all the extra work I was causing myself.)
Step Four: Stock Swap
Then I repeated the same steps (canned chicken, canned carrots, overcooked pasta added to a can of soup). The only difference was that I cooked the extra pasta in some homemade chicken stock instead of the store-bought stuff.
Mr Picky didn’t notice. Two more points for mommy.
For variety, I tried it with some leftover roasted chicken instead of the canned stuff. He still didn’t notice.
Step Five: Drop the can.
Five weeks into the experiment, I decided it was time to go for broke. I tried leaving out the canned soup altogether. To fake my kids out, I still got the can of soup out of the pantry when they were looking. The resulting soup was yummy and it looked identical to the previous version.
Mr Picky noticed.
He refused to take more than one bite. There was no WAY he knew I’d left out the can, but he still refused to eat it.
I added the can of soup and tried again.
Mr Picky ate it. One point for Mr Picky.
(That sound you hear is ME – beating my head against the pantry door.)
The final soup score.
Mr Picky (1) Mommy (7)
In a logical world, this would mean that I won, right?
All I can do is keep trying.