My name is Pamela Kelson. I am a thirty-something mom of Vincent and wife of Jake. From the time I was big enough to pull a dining room chair into the kitchen and reach the counter, I have been baking beside my mom. When it came to the kitchen, my parents empowered their children with the motto I have since adopted: “If you can read, you can cook.” Beyond the basic nutritive and pleasurable aspects of food, cooking is also about sharing and exploration. I look forward to sharing my exploration of new recipes and foods through the Try It Tuesday blog.
A number of factors motivated me to start Try It Tuesday. First and foremost, it formalized an agreement with my husband concerning cooking in our household. From very early on in our relationship, he admitted that he did not cook. I agreed that I would take care of any and all cooking with the understanding that I had the right to experiment with new recipes from time to time. At times, I would try two or three new recipes in a week. Those were difficult weeks for my husband because he is not an adventurous eater. I would also go through periods when I would go weeks before trying a new recipe. Those were difficult weeks for me because I got bored making and eating the same things over and over again. Now, we both know there will be one new recipe each week and we know when that will be.
My second motivator for Try It Tuesday is my son’s health. I firmly believe that eating a variety of foods contributes to overall health, so from the start, I have tried to expose him to new foods pretty regularly. I also try to get him to eat foods he doesn’t like (bananas, peas) in different forms. Try It Tuesday challenges me and my family to continue to expand our food horizons and to talk about what we like and dislike. Such discussions can lead to new ways to eat foods we don’t particularly like. For example, I have learned that although my son Vincent will gag on a bite of banana, he will eat bananas mashed in with other fruits as well as banana bread and banana waffles. He will also eat peas when they are hidden in soup.
My final motivator is my own sanity. I have never been a particularly picky eater, but I have seen them, read about them, and heard from friends about them. Frankly, they make me anxious. I cannot imagine meal times turning from a time of sensual pleasures and family conversation to a time of stress and arguments. While Try It Tuesday does not guarantee that my children won’t be picky eaters, it does provide a predictable, manageable situation in which they will be challenged to eat something new. As an added bonus, because I ask for my family’s feedback, Try It Tuesday encourages conversation at the table.
How “Try It Tuesday” Works
Below, you will find my personal guidelines for “Try It Tuesday.” Of course, these are what works for my family. They are meant to be adapted by anyone who wishes to attempt a similar challenge. In other words, make “Try It Tuesday” your own!
- Every Tuesday, I will prepare a new recipe for one (and only one) meal. This limit guarantees that while a given family member may not like what I prepare at one meal, there are still two more meals to get the energy and nutrients needed for the day.
- I will try to choose new recipes for a variety of meals and snacks, not just for dinner.
- A new main ingredient (i.e. spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti noodles) can occasionally constitute a sufficient challenge for “Try It Tuesday.”
- Although there is no guarantee of success, I will try to choose new recipes that my family will enjoy while still incorporating unfamiliar foods, spices, cooking methods, etc.
- Everyone will try at least 3 bites of the new recipe on that day. While alternative meals are discouraged, they may be considered in certain situations (i.e. Breakfast. We need fuel to start the day off right. If the recipe is a breakfast food and someone does not like it, I will make a replacement breakfast).