I'm 1/2 Indian and 1/2 Jewish. If that's not a genetic setup for food appreciation, I don't know what is. I grew up eating and liking almost everything my parents put in front of me, whether it was my Dad's curries, spicy Hunan food, salads of all colors, or anything else. I liked it all, and I still do.
My kids, not so much.
Despite my (dwindling) enthusiasm for food and cooking, they turn their noses up at all but the blandest stuff. I've followed the reasonable advice Ellyn Satter gives in her excellent book, Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. I've never (okay, hardly ever) prepared special meals for the kids while my husband and I eat "grownup" food. I insist on respect for the cook and table manners. We occasionally eat desserts or snacks after dinner. And yet, my kids still loudly protest many foods, and would rather forgo an entire a meal than take a single bite of something they find unappealing. I'm talking entire categories of food: salads, soups, stews, most sauces, casseroles…you see where I'm going with this.
For these situations, Jay follows the Peanut Butter Sandwich Rule. (Many of his readers do, too; read the comments on his post.) I try to include in our meal some plain component, such as rice or pasta. Some require finicky kids take a "no thank you" bite.
How do you manage mealtime with picky eaters?