I have a very fussy 2 year old (extremely frustrating when both me and her Dad are really into our food!) and I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for good cookbooks with recipes for the little ones. I have a couple of Annabel Carmel cookbooks ( UK) but any other suggestions would be very welcome - thanks!
Hi Ania - I had several of the Annabel Karmel books when my kids were young and I felt there was lots of variety within them. There are 82 listed on her author page (though some are different editions of the same book).
I'd also suggest taking a look at Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton which is part memoir/advice book and part cookbook.
I would like to give you advice based on my mistakes - my kids were also fussy eaters (inherited from their father) and rather than get into a row every night after a hard day's work, I would feed them kid food. Then we would eat "adult" food later. Now they are 16 and 18 and eat the same meals I cook for myself but they are so fussy, I find that my own choices are severely limited. So I'd say, if you can stand the rows, then try to get your 2 year old to eat the same food as you are having now, to avoid many years of limited options for yourself. Good luck!
I second the suggestion about Hungry Monkey. I found it a lot of fun (even though mine were teenagers by the time the book came out). The recipes are terrific, too.
When my kids were young, we enjoyed Mollie Katzen's Pretend Soup. Plus, it's vegetarian.
I warmly recommend Charlotte Hume's The Great Big Veg Challenge. It arrived about 30 years too late to help me with my daughter, but I have high hopes for my grandson.
My daughter has Asperger's Syndrome, and she NOW (age 20) eats everything. I am including black pasta made with squid ink, blue cheese, and rare liver. My rule has worked well. I never expect a child to eat food with lots of hot pepper seasoning in any form. But for everything else, they must eat (not try) one bite clearly visible with the naked eye. It has to be the first bite of the meal or else the seasoning hunger adds to flavor will be masked by satiation. Then I offer sincere sympathy that they will have a less than complete meal if they refuse more.
If the main dish is too spicy for me to offer it to the child, I considerately offer an alternative reheated old cold leftover. I have been known to give a child peanut butter on reheated white rice when they refuse our dinner. So be it.
The hardest thing to do it NOT engage in discussion or drama about someone else's preferences. I just happily lap up the food myself, and eventually, all are converted. My neighbor's picky son (age 7) ate the required bagna cauda pasta single fetuccine noodle last week with his mother looking anxiously on. She had implored me to separate out plain noodles for her son. (She lives steps from me, so starvation was unlikely.) I calmly informed him of the rules of our house requiring a bite. Two bowls of mildly flavored bagna cauda pasta later, he smiled and told me I was a good cooker. And had home made Cherry Garcia ice cream for dessert.
So try a bite first and see if you have finally tasted something enough times to like it. I believe a good cook will make such great food others will come to relish it. Ask my daughter, queen of I'll try anything and once very hard. BTW, 6 cup cupcake pans are great for feeding toddlers. Put in wee bits of healthy anythings and offer. Replentish what they eat more of.
The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kid's Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine is another book in the kids genre. It might also work for adults mired int either fast food or meat and potatoes.
For any children (and those who have aged but never grown up! ) who are fussy with food, or adventurous with learning to cook, I can recommend the Roald Dahl range of Revolting Recipies!
These books contain recipies for the horrid and fun foods in his story books, My personal favourite is 'Bruce Bogtrotters Chocolcate Cake' from Matilda.
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I'd recommend the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook (even if you're not doing baby-led weaning). It has recipes that are intended to be for adults and a baby, and has a variety of dishes that my 1-yr-old usually likes. I've been using its recipes since he was about 8 months old. He has particularly liked the spinach and cheese muffins, a vegetable risotto with eggplant and zucchini, and a red-lentil quiche (which is much better than the recipe title sounds), and my husband and I like these dishes too. I also really enjoyed Hungry Monkey, and have liked the recipes I've tried from it.