Whenever I say something to someone about one of my kids not liking something I make for a meal or snack, I get reactions like, “What?! Your kids are picky eaters?” No, no. I say. All four of them shout, “YES!” and do a fist pump each time they look over and see what has been prepared for them to eat. They give me a loving squeeze and pick me up off the floor (because three out of four of them can do that now), swing me around, and offer to do the dishes after we eat. They eagerly dig into each prepared dish, helping themselves to seconds and thirds – no matter what I have fixed. I’m four-for-four on every single breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack item I prepare.
The truth is that if I ever happen to prepare a meal that all four boys like without making any adaptions, it’s an amazing feat. They aren’t brats about it (usually), but shucks if two of my boys don’t even like corn. One won’t eat peanut butter. One hates bananas. One likes just about anything…but he’s not a big fan of anything with pumpkin unless it’s pie. One will only eat green beans if he has ketchup to dip them in. Only one boy will eat a fresh tomato and it’s beyond me why one of my cute blondies won’t eat a sweet potato fry because it’s orange and you know, tastes a little funny.
Do I baby my kids when it comes to food? Only in my spare time. When one of my boys hesitates about the food I’ve made, I remind him that I have not made anything weird or gross to eat, that I’m not going to make anything else for this meal, that most of what I make they do like, and they are to be grateful for the wonderful variety of food we always have at our house. They always have to eat some of what I make. If it truly makes them gag, they are on their own to find something nutritious that is less disgusting to them.
Hey, I get it. I don’t really love bananas either. We all have different tastes and preferences. But we don’t get to whine or complain, and we do need to be tough and thankful. Why yes, I have given that lecture a few (hundred) times.
All that to say, last week I decided to make Raspberry Oatmeal Bars for breakfast. When I mentioned my plan, one of my boys said, “Okay, but I like apricot jelly better than raspberry.” To which I replied, “And I like summer better than winter, what’s your point?” Not really. Although I do…like summer better. But it occurred to me how easy (and tasty) it would be to make the oatmeal bars half and half. Not always can I run with the taste preferences in my household, but for this? Sure, why not?
I doubled this Raspberry Oatmeal Bar recipe. I pressed the mixture into a 9×13 pan. I spread apricot jelly on one half and raspberry jelly on the other half. I sprinkled the oatmeal deliciousness on top, I baked the bars, and we all had a breakfast we loved. All six of us. Even the one who didn’t really think oatmeal bars sounded good that morning. To which I answered, “This is what we’re having for breakfast. And don’t forget to drink your milk.”
Next time, instead of making them half and half, I think I’ll make them like a checkerboard – each piece a different flavor.
In my spare time.