Monday, September 5, 2011

An experiment worth noting

Awhile ago I read this post and was inspired to try the same thing with my son. It never occurred to me to give him money at the Farmer's Market and when we did I fully expected him to come back with bags of Kettle Corn and chocolate pastries. But instead he has blown me away with his thoughtful purchases and willingness to try new foods. Every week he clutches his money, works the booths and inspects various vegetables and fruits. He asks how much things are and does subtraction with his fingers. I never knew that he would get a math lesson out of this, but he is really doing it.

The first week he eagerly took his money and walked around, taking our advice to look at everything before buying. He peeled off one dollar for three honey sticks and graciously gave one to his sister. Then he spied a basket of strawberries for $4, thought about it for a moment and then walked on. He asked where the fish monger guy was and headed in that direction. I quickly told him I'd happily buy the fish for him, but he had already moved on. He settled on a trio of red and yellow raspberries with a basket of blackberries for $7. I am not sure where the remaining $2 went. But who cares? The kid was hooked.

The next week we were on vacation in Sonoma and we went to the Sonoma Farmer's Market, where we again gave him $10. He immediately spied the Kettle Corn and bought a bag, sharing it with all of us. Then  he saw a bread baker with his own fire pit oven on wheels and mentioned he wanted to get a loaf of the XX. He passed by folks making fresh doughnuts, vendors with ice cream scoops teetering on cones and he persevered... the dude was on a mission. He found a cheese table and parked himself in front, sampling every single cheese the vendor had to offer and then he pulled out his money and asked to buy an aged block of Gouda. Seriously? I couldn't believe it. The vendor looked around and asked "Whose kid is this?" and we raised our hands. He smiled, shook his head and said, "Your kid has great taste!" and wrapped up the hunk of cheese. Then, with purpose, my son walked over to the bread guy and bought the loaf he spied earlier and declared that the bread and cheese were to be eaten with dinner.  Amazing! Is this seriously my kid?

This past week he took his $10 and asked a vendor what the prickly vegetables were on the table and she explained they were artichokes. He was sold. He bought three ("So we can all have one" he said) and then bought three honey sticks (again he gave one to his sister), cherry tomatoes and raspberries. Two years ago we tried to get him to eat artichokes, but he hated them. We will have them in the summer, but he always passed on them. As I steamed his artichokes with our dinner, I thought this was going to be the one that didn't make the cut. I set them on the table with a plate of lemon slices, salt and mayonnaise and he got to work. He inhaled an entire artichoke in one sitting!

Thank you, Jenny, for inspiring us to try such a great way to get my son to eat new foods. He is hooked and so are we. I think I am going to get him involved with meal planning next, letting him pick out some dishes in a cooking magazine like Everyday Food.

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