The Game We Play and What My Family has Gained from It


I only wish I could cook like this!

I have quite a few new followers (thank you, thank you, thank you) and thought it was time to update everyone  about the  dinner game I play with my family and what we have gained from it.

Almost four and a half years ago I was tired of cooking. I didn’t want to cook dinner anymore. We were stuck in a rut of hamburgers, tacos, spaghetti, and hot dogs. I had given up. My son is a person with Autism and was very picky about what he would and would not eat. He had texture aversions, smell aversions, and was heading towards the beige food only way of eating. I wasn’t much better. As a child I never had to try new foods so I never had broccoli until I was in my junior year of college, hummus until I was in my 30s, and grape leaves until I was in my (gulp) 40s. I love all those things now but because I never had to try anything new I had a tough time trying them as I got older because in my mind they were “yucky.” I didn’t want my children to be like me.

So, I started a game and a blog to hold me accountable. When I started the rules were very strict:

  • No repeating dinners for one year.
  • Post a picture the next day no matter what the meal was
  • Give a recipe, review, or information about the meal

We started off really well. The kids were really into it. We would research countries or ingredients for meals. The kids wanted to try different things especially when they were in on the planning. We made center pieces for themed meals or dressed up for special meals (complete with my son in suit and tie). Everyone was trying new foods including me! I gave them control by allowing one food each that they did not have to eat or taste. My daughter chose onions, my son ricotta cheese, my partner chose tuna noodle casserole and I chose peas and strawberries. I hate peas and had a bad incident with strawberries when I was young so I got two.

I also made the serving of new foods a tablespoon to start with making sure there were plenty of other items on the table that they would eat. They did have to eat the one tablespoon before they could get more of the other items they preferred. Most of the time once they tasted the dish they wanted more but occasionally they only ate the one tablespoon before asking for more salad, potatoes, vegetable, etc…. To set a good example I ate the tablespoon of non-preferred items to. I found out I liked so many more things than I thought I did or would at least tolerate more items. Raw vegetables are still not my favorite item but I can eat more of them than I ever did before.

Then I helped the family with words that are appropriate to use when critiquing food. We made this into almost a network food show. You cannot say something you taste is “yucky” or “gross” while you are at the dinner table. We talked about texture, taste, plating, and temperature of the food. Appropriate things to say could be – “I don’t care for the texture of the meat it is too tough, chewy,etc…,” “The casserole is a bit bland and needs more salt, pepper, garlic, etc…,” or even “I don’t know how to make this better but it is okay and edible.”

Then life happened. We moved 2 times within one year. One of those moves was 600 miles away from every one and every thing we knew. It was tough. We tried to keep the game going as best we could but for about a year the game was put on the back burner. But about three years ago we finally hit our mark.

We modified the game a bit because the kids missed having their favorite meals again and wanted traditional meals on their birthdays or holidays. So, we made the game that we would try to serve different meals on weekdays.  We could revisit family favorites on the weekend if they wanted. I would get better about adding recipes to the blog so we could remember how we made a meal in case we wanted to make the meal again.

Well, after four and a half years my family and I have blossomed. I have two fearless tasters. When my daughter went to Germany last year she was one of the two students to try the ox for dinner one night. My son has turned into a little foodie. We have to sometimes tone down his critiquing but I love that he uses the words and ideas we have given him.  I happily eat grape leaves, feta,  gyros, and moo shu. These are items I would not even have entertained eating before. I think my blog helped all of us.

Now my blog is about my family, keeping our game going as much as possible, and the adventures we have along the way.  I can’t wait to see where it takes us in the future! Thank you to each and every one of you who follows along. I hope you know how much I appreciate your comments, questions, and likes that we have received along the way.

 

 

 

29 Comments Add yours

  1. This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing this. I’m going to try this with my family. My other half is a chef and he will enjoy this very much 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! It has really helped my kids and me experiment more with food and combining new ingredients with those we know we like. Have fun with it!

      Like

  2. What an awesome idea!! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!

    Happy Sunday!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! Also, make them your own by adding or adjusting ingredients to your taste!

      Like

  3. Henrietta Watson says:

    A very good post . The food looks so good. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you!

      Like

  4. Onceuponalife says:

    Our family plays a game at dinner too! However it is not anything like this. We are sworn to secrecy about it but it is very fun and passes time. Your game is really cool and shows variety in food

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Lol! Thanks. That is awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely post, Marci. I really enjoy your posts and have tried a few of you lovely meals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you so very much. I want people not to follow them verbatim but to make them their own. I don’t follow anyone recipe and just play with food I hope others will too.

      Like

  6. Fabulous road to take. Now that you’ve caught my attention I’m going to branch out my own menu. Since the kids are grown and have families of their own you have kicked me in gear. This cooking for one can be taken to a new level. I’ve gotten really lax about variety. Now I can pop over to your blog and get some new ideas! My palette thanks you!! K

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Yeah! Thank you. Take the food and flavors you love and make it into something new. I have been known to snap pictures of menus for inspiration too. Have fun!

      Like

  7. This is a fantastic idea! And good on you for going back to it! I love how much effort you’ve put into all the details too. Keep up the good work, you must feel so proud of yourself and your family

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. I am very happy. It has really changed our views of food and what is “good” food the farther we continue this.

      Like

  8. Wow! I want to try, but no repeats for a month would be a challenge…a year is amazing!! Well done you! As a newbie I look forward to seeing more. Anna x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      I repeat dishes with different meats or sauces and spices. One thing to do is sit down and think of 28 different meals your family really likes and see if you can fit them on the calendar. For me I have slow cooker or casserole Tuesdays and Thursday evenings (because we are not all home until late), some kind of pizza on Friday and a fancier meal on Sundays (when I have a bit more time). See what works best for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, we did bacon-wrapped chicken in a bun this evening…. haven’t done that for a while. Think it went down well 😁 thanks for the encouragement x x

        Liked by 1 person

  9. terrepruitt says:

    No repeating meals for a year! That would be so difficult. I couldn’t do it. When my mom was dying, all I was cooking was ground turkey. It is so easy. I would just add any veggie we had then add the mixture to rice or pasta. My husband finally said said he wanted something other than turkey . . . I let him know he was welcome to make anything he liked. 🙂 The turkey thing is so easy and I just didn’t have the brain power (or anything else) to make much else. 🙂 It is still my go to meal. So easy. I applaude you all for the broadening of your horizons! Cool game!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Yes. I would be the same way. But, other than moving twice when I stopped the game because I was so stressed out we have been very fortunate and my family has been helping more and more as the kids are getting older.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. terrepruitt says:

        Wow. I couldn’t do it. No same dinner for a year. I don’t think I could go a month!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. koolaidmoms says:

          Thank you. Once we got going it wasn’t so hard. It was fun. The hardest part for the kids was they had dishes they really liked and wanted again but because of the game we didn’t have them. So, now we ate going back and revisiting some of our favorites to update pictures and recipes if needed.

          Like

          1. terrepruitt says:

            Exactly . . . there would be dishes I would want to cook again . . . plus it is just easier to cook what you know. Super challenging!

            Like

  10. bschinz22 says:

    This is a marvelous idea! I have one child that will eat basically nothing and one that would probably eat the dog if we let her put some BBQ sauce on him… This sounds like a great way to get him to try new things and let her explore her palette without me having to make multiple meals!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. My mom did the multiple meals a night (4 to be exact), every night. I didn’t want my kids to continue on my path. It takes tons of patience, lots of time, talking, and giving them appropriate words to use in discussing the food but my little family is far better for it. Hope there are some pieces you can try!

      Like

  11. Elizabeth says:

    What a great idea to get the kids (and you) to try new foods! I always had one rule with the kids when they were young. “You don’t have to like something new but you do have to TRY it before you decide.” I knew someone who regularly claimed she didn’t like this food or that food and then she’d reluctantly admit she’d never actually tried those things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! That was me. I didn’t like the way some foods looked or smelled so I wouldn’t eat them. I was 25 before I tried sour cream because of the name! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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