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One of the first dishes we made was Moo Goo Gai Pan.

Now, that I have time to look back over our journey I realize what we have done.  Our children are now 19 (eek!) and 16. They were 10 and 7 when we started this journey. My son is Autistic and was on the path to eating only beige foods – chicken nuggets, pasta, french fries, and pizza. He had strong preferences but I thought if I could make it fun and stretch us all (I was a picky eater too) that we would all win in the end.

I was tired of burgers, hot dogs, pasta, and the like. But, how do make this better?

Then came the game. I would make a different meal every night. Trying not to repeat any meal for as long as I could. I could make the same dish with different components – macaroni and cheese, mac & cheese with vegetables, mac & cheese with chicken, etc…. It was easy at first. The family was excited and I was excited. They became more willing over time to try new foods. In the beginning our rule was you could ask for a “No Thank You” helping. In our house that was less than a quarter cup about 2 forkfuls. That was all you had to try of the non-preferred foods. Even I was taking “No Thank You” helpings of foods the kids knew I did not like to show them hat we were all in this together and all learning and growing.

But, as the years passed slowly the kids and I became fearless tasters. We would try something new which was almost unheard of before. My daughter went to Germany for her 16th birthday and of the 20 kids on the trip she was one of only two to try oxtail for dinner. All the rest of the kids ordered chicken. She was so proud of herself. My son now seeks out unique or different foods to try. He has tried bison recently and looks forward to trying alligator meat soon. Even I will choose items with lemon, feta cheese, goat cheese, and spinach that I would never even try before.

One of our most favorite dishes was Crostini with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts drizzled with honey. Yum!

Over the years the game has had to be adjusted but I still post pictures and recipes 5 days a week or so. I can now repeat recipes on special occasions – the kids wanted to choose special meals for holidays and birthdays that we had before. Also, I am going back and updating certain dishes (especially from the early years) that I was kind of vague on or took horrible pictures.  This is fun for us to revisit these dishes and remember where we were the first time we made them.

Pictures are still usually of my plate as we put them on the table. I don’t doctor them up with moving food with tweezers or special lighting. It is the plate I eat. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but usually I have to say the food is good!

I highly encourage you to make the dishes your own. Don’t like or have an ingredient? Work around it. Add more garlic, less Cayenne pepper it is up to you! Have fun and sit with your family at the table. That is the most important piece for this game. For years we ate in the car on the way to rehearsals or classes but we were together. We talked and we still do. Sometimes, it is difficult to do but we eat when we can together – breakfast, lunch, or dinner sometimes at 9:30 pm but we try at least 5 days a week to be together. I will continue this as long as I can because I know how important it has been to me and my kids.  Hoping you can join in and have fun!

13 Comments Add yours

  1. I always enjoy and like to try new foods and new tastes 😉 For kids I guess is really pretty amazing 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. I was a far pickier eater too but have grown so much through this.

      Like

  2. Erika Kind says:

    It is amazing what you achieved regarding the food habits of your family in general and the individual member. Your idea was great and I can imagine that it makes cooking and eating a lot more fun when still at times, it can be a challenge when time is rare. Big compliment, Marci!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you, Erika! It has been fun and wonderful to see how my family has changed its eating over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Erika Kind says:

        It must be a really good feeling to look back and see the progress 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your posts and how much your family life informs your writing. My family plays a major role in my own blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! They are the center of my life.

      Like

  4. pujakins says:

    You obviously love food and do a good job with it. Thanks for sharing your adventure, and for encouraging more adventurous eating. I had to feed my family on a strict budget and did what I could to encourage the same. We had a 3 bites rule, even for guests! Giggle. Best wishes, Tasha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      I love that you had it for guests! My daughter has friends who are super picky but I would try to arrange dishes I thought they may eat on those nights they were here. They are even planning a trip to WDW and have to schedule dining around 1 friends preferred foods.

      Like

  5. You are such a great role model. I can tell God is with you. Blessings. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you so very much! I try.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You have done a great thing for your family by teaching them to be adventurous with food. This will extend into other aspects of their life too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! I am hoping so. Both of my kids seem to be very hesitant and I am trying to get them to be bold.

      Liked by 1 person

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