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Ann Landers' contributor offers a picky eater solution.

I always read Ann Landers; she's my favorite maven.  Her expert advice almost always hits the nail right on the head.  Her contributors often have great solutions, too.

In her column today in The Miami Herald, she published a letter:

"Dear Ann:  Regarding that granddaughter who was a picky eater, here's my story:  My 16-year-old sister-in-law moved in with me for 18 months.  At the time, she only ate specific things - peanut butter (not chunky), spaghetti, rice with gravy, tuna, no fruits and no vegetables.  She also had a mother who catered to her every wish.

I did not insist she eat anything.  I kept on hand frozen or packaged foods that she liked.  I then cooked whatever I wanted for my own family.  I told her she could eat what I cooked, but if she didn't want to, she could prepare something for herself.  After two weeks of cooking for herself, she decided to eat what we were having.  Lo and behold, she discovered that all the things she had been avoiding actually tasted wonderful. 

Happy Sister-in-Law"

Ann's answer:

"I'll bet she's happy, too.  Being out of the loop is no fun.   Now that her eating habits are more conventional, she no doubt feels better emotionally as well as physically.  You handled her problem just right."

That sounds like a smart lady.  Her story reminds me of  when I was a young woman with two small children in a small apartment.  A pregnant relative, husband and year-and-a half old baby moved in with us for about three months, as the husband had lost his job.  It wasn't fun, but she would have done the same for us.  But what really distressed me was their diet.  The only thing they ate, day after day,  was fried baloney, sometimes fried ham or bacon, mashed potatoes, canned cream corn, canned green beans, white bread, eggs scrambled into hard nuggets, and a very few other items. In actuality, they did have to fry their own baloney and scramble their eggs every day.   Didn't help.   The poor girl and her family were undoubtedly far more stressed out about the situation than we were, so we just went along with it.    I was never a big fan of baloney, but I couldn't stand to eat it or even smell it for years after that.

If I had that situation again, I would do the same thing as "sister-in-law".  Only I would make it as hard as possible.   Frozen or fresh green beans instead of canned.  No instant potatoes.   No minute rice.  No instant oatmeal.  No pot pies.  No fish sticks.   Slabs of bacon.  Whole baloney that had to be sliced.  In other words, all the ingredients to cook from scratch.  Meanwhile I would cook gourmet meals, watch them struggle with their own food and - pardon me - snicker.

Thanks, Ann.  

The Sneaky Kitchen
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