How do you combat fussy eating? OPINION
AND SO yet another summer holiday draws to a close; the only downside I notice as I get older is that it seems to go very quickly indeed. It feels like just last week we were sitting around the Christmas tree, and now here we are at the end of January. It goes in the blink of an eye.
It's a fact that you never know how many friends you have until you buy a house near a beautiful beach; the best friends, of course, are those that come to visit in the cooler months.
Family, it goes without saying, come at all times. I'm more than happy to welcome them all; we all lead such busy lives and, because I have chosen to live a long way from my relatives for the past 17 years (and you can read into that what you will), it's actually good to have time together and catch up on the family goss.
But then, there's the issue of ... food.
As I've mentioned previously, I grew up in a family of fussy eaters. I was a culprit back then; I lay the blame squarely at the feet of my mum, who never stood her ground and catered to our every petty food whim and dislike. As Catholics, we were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays and I can remember Mum picking bones out of my adult brother's fish dinner with a pair of tweezers; he had (and still does, I think) a morbid fear of choking to death while munching a flathead fillet.
So it's always with a modicum of trepidation I welcome my sister and her kids here.
I love cooking, but it's navigating the minefield of what each person will not eat that causes stress. I'm more than happy to cater for vegetarians and I can even knock together edible vegan meals. But my sister will not eat any fruit or vegetable that was not commonplace in Australia in the 60s, and quite a few that were. So, no eggplant, zucchini, avocado, broccoli, mushrooms, "frilly" lettuce, asparagus ... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture. And any meat has to be cooked to a consistency whereby she could resole her shoes with it.
Her daughter (my favourite niece), Ms Oh, I Eat Anything, a mega-smart and very successful career woman, doesn't eat prawns, oysters, baby octopus (but the big ones are fine), dried fruit, apricots, and a few from her mother's list of no-nos. And her boyfriend won't eat anything his Greek mum hasn't served at some point in his past. We did eat a lot of baba ganoush, but I had to lie to my sister about the eggplant.