Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pass the Chicken, Please

As a child, I can remember coming upstairs in the kitchen for dinner every night and thinking to myself, "I hope we're not having chicken again." It's not that I didn't like chicken, or even that we had it so often, I just would've preferred to have a lot more pasta, instead.

Fortunately, that is not the case at my house. My kids will eat chicken for every meal, every day of the week. They just love it. In fact, they think they eat chicken pretty much every dinner, every day of the week.

At about two years of age, my older two children started to really vocalize their likes and dislikes at the dinner table. The mushed up concoctions I had been serving them previously, were no longer acceptable. I found that unless the main meat I was serving was in some sort of chicken dish, they would vehemently declare that they didn't like it. I couldn't understand it because my niece and nephew, who were the same age, had palette's like Wolfgang Puck. They ate fried calamari like they were potato chips. My children's taste buds just couldn't handle these complex flavors. I had to devise a plan.

I came up with a plan because my husband and I got tired of eating chicken nuggets, fingers and patties every night. I called the plan, OPERATION MEAT SUBSTITUTION. It was very simple and went like this: Any meat entree I made, we would replace the name of the meat with "chicken." So, our dinner menus began to change, and instead of the usual chicken dishes, we had things like, "chicken sticks, chicken chops, chicken and chips, chicken loaf...etc." You get my drift. And the great part was, it was working!

Not to say the plan went along with out any snags. Remember, children are very smart, especially mine. So, when you're serving something like sausage or steak, you'll need to tailor the acceptable meats name, to fit the shape and color of the actual meat. Sausage becomes "hot dog" and steak, well, that's easy..."hamburger."

Lastly, just like with every aspect of parenting, for it to be successful, you have to be consistent! What's "hot dog" for one meal, has to be "hot dog" the next.
(Note: I do not in any way, shape or form condone nor promote lying to anyone, especially your children.)

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