In between bites, Graham says, "You know, I ate a worm once. It really isn't such a big deal"; and then resumed eating his dinner. Huh? OK, now I remember us eating all that other stuff, but for the life of me I couldn't remember ever eating a worm.
"Really? A worm? Where?" I asked.
"Oh, when Jack and I went fishing at the pond. We had one left over, it was little and pretty clean so I ate it. I think Katharine should eat that caterpillar. It's from our garden and it's cooked."
"No, I don't feel like it."
"I think you're chicken."
"Am not! I just don't feel like eating a caterpillar now. Leave me alone!" And so went our quiet dinner.
Since returning home we've noticed that Katharine has turned into a picky eater, refusing to even try some foods based on nothing we can figure out. And I'm not talking about anything weird either. Roasted or mashed butternut squash receives a big 'no way, no thank you' yet she loves sweet potatoes. Green peppers cooked with tomatoes (both her absolute favorites as individual items) gets a fork poke and a squint-eyed once over. We're not sure if this is a phase she's going through or not. Although we don't pressure her, we can't help but ask how she could lick up lemon ants and devour guinea pig ears yet refuse to eat cooked zucchini.
Was it travel and our pronouncement before we left that everyone had to try the different foods we would encounter—no wrinkled noses or "eeww" noises—that caused her to taste and eat everything? Was it her shear competitive nature and desire to beat her brother in everything? Maybe this return to picky eating is her way of taking back control? Maybe I shouldn't be so hung up about this. Maybe this is a control thing and I'm the one with the problem? If that's the case, tough cookies. I will continue being in control and cooking the foods she refuses (we harvested over 100 pounds of squash this year, what choice do I have?) and will continue giving her a few bites of each (minus the caterpillars, of course). I'm sure one day her taste buds will turn.
Which brings me back to dinner last night. Katharine came into the kitchen to help cook. I let her poke around the broccoli looking for caterpillars while I prepared the chicken that Andrew and Graham had butchered earlier. Katharine stopped searching the broccoli for a moment and looked around the kitchen, "Hey, where are all the feet? There should be 12, right? Is Dad grilling them?" she peeked outside to check. "Oh good, I'm so in the mood for some grilled chicken feet." Okay, I surrender.
For more on our family and food, visit our South American travel blog.