• DC1 wanted a Swedish princess cake for hir birthday this year.  We had tried making Marzipan twice earlier this year and both times did not end up with something that would make a good cake cover.  So we decided to bite the bullet and buy marzipan.  Sadly the only local places we could get it sell it in tiny 7 oz tubes, so we had to get four of them and squeeze it out.  I know we have made good marzipan in the past, but we don’t seem to have saved the recipe.
  • Update:  we did not actually need to get 4 of them.  Three would have been fine and we probably could have handled just 2.  We have a lot of marzipan in the fridge now.
  • Swedish princess cake was AMAZING.
  • I know that some people are genuinely picky eaters and have processing disorders and so on.  But I do wish that my MIL and SIL would stop telling specific children that said children hate all vegetables.  Like, when I say, would you like some green bean casserole, they could just keep their mouths shut and let the kid answer rather than saying, oh, X hates all vegetables.  I didn’t like most vegetables until I was 15 or 16, but I kept an open mind and tried things.  If I didn’t, I’d never have known that my tastes changed.  It’s not just one kid, it is three kids (ironically the fourth kid actually does have a feeding disorder and eats lots of fruits and vegetables via purees).  My kids have different vegetable likes and dislikes, and with a few exceptions (DC1 has never liked tomatoes, and DC2 doesn’t like the concept of mushrooms), those likes and dislikes have changed through their lives.
  • DC2 actually really loves most vegetables.  I suspect this is connected to hir dislike of most milk products (zie likes ice cream and a very small number of cheeses– I also only liked a small number of cheeses as a kid and now I love everything except goat cheese, but I drank a lot of milk because the pediatrician was worried about me being small and skinny, which DC2 does not do).
  • DC1 tends to eat most vegetables only under duress, but (at age 15 minus a few days) noted that Brussels sprouts (covered in bacon sauce, which zie was obligated to try) aren’t so bad.
  • The in-laws had forgotten that DC2 likes vegetables– the first couple meals we had at their place were uniformly beige in color, though DC2 did eat a lot of mashed potatoes.  The Brussels sprouts came later on in the trip after they remembered.  MIL loves them, but doesn’t usually get to eat them.
  • It’s crazy to think that when we were DC1’s age, we were a year away from trying Thai food for the first time and several years away from Indian food and Sushi.  Home-style Korean didn’t come until graduate school!  Many of DC1’s favorite cuisines and almost all the healthy food that DC1 enjoys were things we didn’t try until we were older than zie is now.  Zie had hir first sushi (veggie/cooked) and Thai etc. before zie could hold a fork!  And I lived on Indian food while pregnant with DC2 because of the wheat allergy.  I wonder what other new foods we will get to try in our future.  I think Poke is our most recent new thing, and that’s from like 6 years ago.  Man I love food.
  • Because of my toasted C drive (more on that later– I bumped the post to a later week) I finally moved into DH’s hand-me-down desktop computer which is a lovely Alienware.  Lots of things that didn’t work before now just work and everything seems faster.  One problem is that the Alienware has a slanted top so we have had to put a box on its side next to the case to hold my external harddrive because it kept slipping off.
  • I do not like my BIL’s MIL.  The first time I met her, a decade and a half ago, she was making my BIL’s fiance (now wife) miserable with her stressing out about the wedding and her insistence on everything being a specific way even though she was paying for none of it.  I later found out that she’d promised to pay for the expensive wedding dress she’d insisted on but then didn’t and BIL and his wife were in debt because of it for a while (plus it took a while for her parents to admit it, so there were fees and interest tacked on).  This time she ended up sitting next to me at Christmas dinner and started complaining about poor people mismanaging their money and what Judge Judy has to say about them.  And she gossiped a lot about her extended family and how terrible they are at raising children and how their three year olds (!) are horrible and are going to grow up to be horrible.  When I said I didn’t like to pass judgment on how people who are worse off than I am spend their money because I can’t understand their problems, she said she could because she has been poor (and then we played the who had a poorer parent game– I think I won because my dad is 5’2″ and grew up in a literal warzone/the Depression).  I did not remind her of her poor monetary behavior in the past which DH later said was very good of me, though I did lecture a little bit about public finance and public policy which apparently Judge Judy does not understand AT ALL.  Fortunately when DH showed up she stopped having her comfortable coze with me and started asking him about his job and whether he was going to be doing all of the driving back.  (“No, we’ll be splitting it,” he said.  “It’s my car!” I piped up.  And then we noted DC1 will probably help with the driving next year if we drive.  She did not approve.)
  • But it could be worse– not a word about Mexicans (which was the big thing I was always correcting one of DH’s grandmas on, reminding her about their essential humanity, though she always accepted the correction and added on to it– she knew because she was a teacher and did remember that Hispanic kids are people– she had one of those racisms where she liked every individual she met and saw them as individual persons, but as a group she quoted conservative talk radio), and not a word about Trump or liberals etc.  Apparently BIL’s wife made her stop doing that in company ages ago.
  • I do like BIL’s wife quite a bit.  We have similar taste in reading.  She’s the one who I miss exchanging presents with now that we’re doing kids only.
  • That’s probably enough of me being catty about people I’m related to by marriage.  I wonder what they say when they gossip about me.  (Actually, I suspect I would rather not know!)

35 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Coree Says:

    When my son was about 2, we were staying in a hotel near my SIL. My husband had gone back over to spend time with his sister (who has since passed) and I went back to the hotel with kiddo. I got grocery store sashimi for me, and pasta salad for my son. I opened it up, and went to the loo to wash my hands, and came back to my child picking all the salmon out and shoving it in his mouth. Cuemy frantic googling “when can children eat raw fish?” In the UK, it’s all flash-frozen so it’s fine and he’s going to bankrupt me with his salmon and exotic fruit habits. At 4, he’s a decently adventurous eater and will try everything, interspersed with phases in which he’d prefer buttered pasta, tinned tuna, and sweetcorn for every meal. I could feel smug but I think it’s just personality.

    But in comparison to my lower-middle class suburban 90s upbringing, the amount he’s exposed to is incredible in our big UK city, with his sashimi and oatmilk babycinnos and vegan cheese. I didn’t eat sushi until I was a teenager, my town had Chinese takeaways, Mexican food, and hamburgers. My mom and I would go to this stripmall Japanese place one town over and feel very sophisticated.

  2. First Gen American Says:

    Our kids are big veggie eaters but their favorite colored veggies are green. They’d pick broccoli over carrots all day long. My husband was super picky and I give him credit for much of the try it mentality in our household because when he went to India in his 20s and couldn’t eat anything but naan and mangos, he realized being picky is a bad thing. (And he now eats a very varied menu.)

    When they were little, we had a rule that they had to have one bite of everything served but didn’t have to finish everything….but they could have more of certain foods if they want. Later we changed the rule to eat all but one. We usually have more than one variety of veg served. If it’s salad, you can only leave one thing in the bowl. Another side effect is it sometimes makes younger son motivated to make the salads his way and we get an extra dinner helper.

    The first time my 16 year old tried broccoli, he literally gagged on it. Now he eats everything and loves broccoli. The middle schooler is constantly changing what he likes and dislikes.. I suspect he’s like me and eats too much of something and then needs a break from it for a while. They always have the option if they don’t like what I am cooking, they can make dinner their way (provided it has some veg in it somewhere). I got a couple of calzone suppers out of that threat recently.

    I also noticed that kids will eat more things if their friends eat them too. Youngest’s two closest friends are very picky and now they’re eating sushi and curries with us at dinner. Their parents are amazed that we magicked them into it somehow but if their buddy is eating it, they’re more willing to try the same food even if it’s new.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds about the same as us as well.

      I did wonder if we had charge of the cousins for a long enough time if watching DC1 (the oldest cousin) eat sushi would be enough to get them to try it, but we did not have that chance.

  3. xykademiqz Says:

    My eldest eats everything except bacon (!), and has since he was little. Middle kid was really picky, but now, at fourteen, he eats everything that he doesn’t have an allergy to (he is allergic to peanuts and related foods, like soy and peas); otherwise, he eats everything, and is actually the only one in the family other than me who will eat miscellaneous seafood or really spicy stuff or somewhat exotic (at least to the bland continental Europe palate of my spouse) flavor combinations (e.g., sweet along with savory). My youngest is by far the most picky. That child has never eaten anything with wheat (no pasta or bread ever), despite us nudging him to try it and him trying like a microgram of this or that many, many times. He eats some meats, some veggies, and all fruits. He’s also allergic to dairy. We offer him various foods, and keep offering various foods, but otherwise try not to make too big of a deal about it. We certainly don’t want anyone to develop an eating disorder.
    (Btw, I love LOVE cruciferous vegetables, but hubs hates them (talk about irreconcilable differences!). Roasted brussels sprouts with some sliced almonds are the bomb! Middle kid and I also like roasted cauliflower with chili powder + flakes (we make it pretty spicy) and also steamed broccoli with roasted sesame seeds + sesame oil.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Bacon is a pretty healthy food to dislike.

      DC2 also has had a bunch of allergies, most of them outgrown at this point (except red dye and caramel color, or possibly things concurrent with those).

      I used to hate brussels sprouts, but the new versions are actually good. Like they totally re-bred the veggie to make it good.

  4. ccerebrations Says:

    Like the other commenter, I was raised in a house of you don’t have to eat anything you don’t like but you do have to at least try it. I grew up loving vegetables and neither me or my sister are picky eaters. I would also be frustrated with your MIL and SIL’s approach to the situation too because they are depriving their kids of autonomy, they definitely should let them answer questions directed to them. Also they are setting the tone that it’s okay to not even try stuff and that probably doesn’t help the situation psychologically, like this sounds more like enabling than support. In Mary Roach’s book Gulp I learned that when we are younger things taste more intense but our taste buds chill out as we get older. But also that people will learn to like eating basically anything if they are just exposed to it enough. It’s a an extremely interesting book and I would definitely recommend it if that’s your cup of tea.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hungry Monkey is also a really great book and hilariously funny about the science of picky eating including the aging process. (It’s by a master chef or maybe restaurant critic who had a picky preschooler at the time of writing.)

      Plus when I was a kid, I hated broccoli and cauliflower, but I was fine with green beans (not my favorite thing to eat, but if I had to eat a vegetable, that was on my list). And the green bean casserole at Christmas dinner was really good! (Actually it was all really good– another reason to love BIL’s wife.)

  5. CG Says:

    We eat so many more things in my grown-up family than we did in my growing-up family. I was never a picky eater but not particularly adventuresome, either. My family ate a lot of meat and potatoes, literally. But my parents did incorporate a lot of vegetables into our diet–my dad had a garden and was obsessive about eating fresh fruits and veggies. The only “ethnic” food we were exposed to was Chinese, and we would each order a dish and eat it, rather than sharing around the table. DH’s family is Chinese and he thought that was hilarious when he learned about it. Their family ate a mix of “American” and Chinese food but are super meat-oriented and did not eat much in the way of vegetables. They ate things like canned corn as a vegetable. His mom is a great cook and has evolved on that over time, but to this day if you serve DH or his dad a vegetarian meal they will get up from the table afterward to go find some turkey or something. I cook more different kinds of vegetables than my parents did, and I am much more likely to roast or grill them because I tend to like them better that way. We had a lot of steamed green beans and broccoli when I was a kid and a ton of “kitchen sink” green salads, which I still don’t like. My parents had a three-bite rule for trying things, which was a legacy from my dad’s family and which my mom disagreed with. She thought no one should be forced to eat anything they didn’t like. We sort of have a one bite rule at our house. Our middle child would never eat a single vegetable if we didn’t make him. Our oldest seeks out new flavors and likes spicy food. He eats any and all vegetables. Our youngest is a good try-er but doesn’t actively seek out novel stuff.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DH’s dad is very meat and potatoes, but he’s really good at making meat and potatoes. He does venison a lot better than many restaurants. He also adds a salad or a steamed veggie though because that’s what you are supposed do in the midwest– all meals have meat, starch, vege (except not with the other grandkids).

      We have a one bite rule at our house too. DC2 is really into it– zie watched the “Try it you might like it” Daniel Tiger video at exactly the right time and is willing to try basically anything because zie might like it. It’s been harder with DC1, but zie has been fighting it less as a teenager, especially since sometimes zie does like things. We don’t make them try raw tomatoes or any mushrooms (I was like, you get to choose one vegetable that you never have to try if you don’t want to) and we don’t eat a lot of things DH and I like because we try to have things that everyone likes, or at least don’t know they dislike, for the most part. (Though tomatoes and mushrooms occasionally show up, they’re not as prominent as they would be before we had kids. And DC2 sometimes eats tomatoes and DC1 likes mushrooms.) So we’re not total monsters.

      DC2 is starting to develop a stronger spice tolerance, which is nice. DC1 used to eat pickled jalapenos out of a jar when zie was little.

      I can’t believe I didn’t know about roasted vegetables until pretty recently. Roasting is such a game changer. Like, I’d had them at restaurants and WF, but never thought to make them at home until my sister who never used to cook brought them for Thanksgiving one year. They’re so easy! And so good!

      • CG Says:

        I grew up hating, HATING asparagus. Shortly after we got married, some neighbors invited us over and served grilled asparagus and my goodness, it was delicious. So many other things are great that way or roasted too (kale! broccoli! brussels sprouts!)!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I had a similar experience!

      • teresa Says:

        Similar, so many vegetables I thought I didn’t like or were just meh, and it was because I had only been exposed to them raw or steamed. Roasting is so quick and easy and delicious!

  6. teresa Says:

    There was a bakery where I went to grad school that had amazing princess cake. I got one at every excuse, and random slices for no excuse many other times. I really miss it- we have practically every kind of food pretty accessible here, but I’ve yet to find princess cake (except sometimes at Ikea, and that’s definitely not the same).

    I’m also impressed with how many different kinds of foods my nephews and friends’ kids eat. In 90s suburbia we had (suburban American versions of) Mexican and Chinese food and sushi/tempura places. I learned about Thai and Indian food in undergrad and everything else in grad school. The kids in my family have at least tried all the things. 9yo nephew has been eating sushi for about as long as he’s been eating solid food and will choose it over just about anything but still rejects anything “spicy” (meaning with any detectable heat whatsoever). His 2.5yo brother has yet to meet a food he doesn’t like.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s not actually as hard to make as it could be, especially if you can buy the separate components instead of making them each from scratch. Essentially it’s a sponge cake + raspberry jam + pastry cream + whipped cream + marzipan. Our friend who introduced us to them actually uses a vanilla pudding instead of pastry cream and makes it in a 13×9 pan with layers instead of the traditional dome. It’s still delicious but cuts down on the hassle considerably. DH made it the traditional way this time and from scratch except the marzipan and jam.

  7. SP Says:

    Mmmm, that cake sounds amazing! My kid is currently a picky eater and I just haven’t had the energy to figure out what (if anything) to do about it. She will often try something new, but almost never likes it. Maybe I will check out Hungry Monkey…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hungry Monkey is basically, it’s normal in preschoolers and often coincides with being more mobile AND learning how to categorize things. It’s a really comforting and highly funny book. (Not to say there aren’t kids with processing disorders and other medical eating difficulties, but for the bulk of kids there’s a normal pickiness phase that they grow out of.) DC1 followed the science exactly, refusing to eat anything green from like age 2 and 9 months to sometime closer to 4 (seriously, anything including green lollypops) though I forget when exactly. DC2 was never that dramatic.

  8. Matthew D Healy Says:

    I was a very picky eater as a child. I gradually became less picky in my teens, but much of what DW and I eat most frequently now we both encountered together as grad students (we met in grad school). Like most of our fellow grad students, we particularly liked Asian cuisines: Chinese, Indian, and Thai of course, but a particular favorite was a tiny hole in the wall Vietnamese take out place. Really good food, really cheap. We grad students had lots of informal scientific meetings at dinnertime, sometimes somebody talking about their own research and sometimes journal club. Usually about an hour before one of these meetings somebody would go from office to office with a menu from that Vietnamese place taking food orders and cash.

    Good times!

    I learned to cook during that period, and used Turmeric so frequently that all my Tupperware containers acquired a yellow tint.

  9. rose Says:

    I still remember the 3 year old who explained carefully to me that “We don’t eat leaves” about green veggies. Clearly a lesson about what does not go into mouths when walking outdoors!

  10. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I’m so happy to have discovered Swedish princess cake. I had to go look it up after reading this post and it’s so PRETTY. What makes good marzipan? I feel like I’ve seen it used and always avoided eating it because it seemed like fondant which I don’t like (can’t do that much sugar).

    I strongly dislike the adults speaking for kids thing too! My dad pulled that well into my 20s even, trying to tell PiC who I was by drawing on memories 8 year old me and ignoring the fact that I was 18+ years away from that child. Ugh. Who we were as kids is not the template for who were are forever FTLOG. And it happens so very frequently around food things.

    PiC and I were just musing about all the foods that JB has eaten with us that we hadn’t discovered until later in life. My first sushi was when I was in college. My first authentic non Taco Bell Mexican was in my 20s after college. My first Korean was probably in the past decade. My first Ethiopian, same. And here is JB who has eaten all of these foods before age 7. How fun and strange (for me, strange to be able to afford to give my kid all these experiences but not bad strange). Same goes for travel. My first international travel was when I was fairly young but it was a BFD and my parents went deeply into debt for it. JB’s first (and second) intentional trip were paid for in cash, and they were happy to go off with only PiC on that second one and leave me behind. (It was a last minute trip and I had to care for Seamus.) They missed me but they had no fears about it. I STILL feel like international travel is a BFD from my earliest memories.

    Your BIL’s MIL sounds a real treat. I have a relative that was a teacher with those racial biases too and it made us froth a bit as we scolded her for making sweeping and ill informed judgements. I also have similar side eye dislike of people I’m related to by marriage, I know they talked about me behind my back a lot and intended for it to get back to me because they gossiped to mutual friends. Or they’re just stupid / don’t care that I would find out. Either way, dislike.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t know what makes good marzipan but I do know our two attempts this year would not roll out well. It is better than fondant, but definitely sweet. Overall the version we made of the cake was not that sweet—the marzipan adding most of the sweetness. But it will depend on what you use for the individual components.

      I think I first had Ethiopian/Eritrean while traveling after grad school.

    • teresa Says:

      IMO good marzipan is not overly sweet so you mostly taste the almond flavor and not grainy in texture. I’ve never tried to make it myself though.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We might do better now that we have a new food processor. (Our 20+ year old one was in pretty bad shape and we had to wait until after Christmas for new models to come back in stock.)

  11. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    My kids were all super picky toddlers and we *definitely* all have a serious texture Thing going on! The older two have branched out a lot in recent years; the oldest will eat anything that’s not squishy, and the middle kid will try everything. The youngest kid is reluctant to even taste what’s for dinner, leading to a lot of conflict, but I am hopeful she will eventually grow out of this frustrating phase.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Such a frustrating phase. DC1 goes in and out of it. Hopefully at 15 it’s over. But who knows.

      • First Gen American Says:

        I remember 5 being a tough age for pickiness with my kids. They went from eating absolutely everything to near nothing for a while, but they both outgrew it, thank god.

      • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

        The baby is 7 but stubborn like a piglet. Still, maybe one day!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        7 was the most oppositional time for DC1– I think we have a post or two (or maybe RBOC comment) about it somewhere in here. IIRC, at the time Wandsci said she’d seen a poster at her pediatrician with ages and stages and apparently that is normal and to be expected for ~7. Since then I’ve heard from a lot of people IRL about their ~7 year olds being obnoxious. (There was another oppositional time sometime during freshman year, but it got nipped in the bud when one of DC1’s friends talked about their abusive home life, which made DC1 appreciate us and realize at least we’re trying.)

    • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

      Oooh I still have a serious texture thing! I force myself to eat yogurt because I think it’s good for me but I have to concentrate really hard on not thinking about the texture or else I can’t do it.

      • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

        Tomato soup, pureed almost-anything, and anything with a wet texture is a hard no for me, so I am very sympathetic to the children’s dislike of squishy! It’s… a thing.

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