Raising a toddler has taught me one thing for sure: Most kids don’t like “weird” food. Almost any aspect of the food can offend; the color, the texture, the temperature, or even – horror of horrors – the dish’s very name. Try serving your child headcheese, a specialty European sausage made with gelatin and meat from the head of a pig and you’ll soon be out of business. Even without knowing this popular cold cut’s contents, it doesn’t take much imagination to come up with some pretty disturbing assumptions.
So what’s a parent to do who wishes to feed their child a varied and interesting diet? Thankfully the “kids don’t like weird food” rule, as with every rule, has an exception. Children will take a chance on something unusual if they are already familiar with some part – even the smallest part – of the recipe. Froga is a great example. This popular brunch dish from Malta, a tiny, 122-square-mile island floating in the Mediterranean, is a whimsical mixture of eggs and angel hair pasta. Just a few minutes in the oven, froga bakes up into a delightful frittata.
If you still aren’t sure, try getting your child involved in the cooking process. By letting your child mix the pasta with the eggs, they’ll come to understand what it is they are eating. Even the youngest chef can sprinkle cheese and parsley into the bowl. Chances are they’ll have fun and the associated happy feelings will make them more likely to sample the goods.
Speaking of fun, never underestimate the power of adding different fillings and toppings to add instant customization and adventure to an otherwise disinterested diner. Froga, for example, is particularly good with any combination of chopped ham, garlic, crumbled bacon, spinach, green onion and even an assortment of cheeses.
Finally, when in doubt, I suggest you tell your child what I tell mine: “If an entire country eats it, how bad can it be?”
Sasha Martin is cooking one meal for every country in the world. Her picky husband and baby girl are along for the ride. Join the adventure for recipes, reviews and more at www.globaltableadventure.com.