I recently had my 3½-year-old nephew and nearly-two niece over for dinner. In deference to the kids we had pizza, but it was “grown-up” pizza with fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, along with familiar chicken.
I expected at least a question of “Aunt Meli, what is this?” about the spinach and wondered how to explain it in an exciting way, but my nephew happily wolfed his piece down without a comment.
That is, without a comment about the pizza. When I brought their after-dinner fruit over to the table, he looked at the giraffe-splotched peel and said “Yucky banana.”
Ideal banana ripeness is a matter of personal preference that evokes strong feelings in some people. It’s been a topic of intense discussion at Packer HQ on more than one ocassion.
I love bananas, but I prefer not to eat one until the peel has at least a hint of brown freckling. I didn’t know how my nephew liked his bananas, so I hastily came up with an explanation for the browning skin.
“Oh, that just means it’s really tasty,” I said, and started peeling it to show him it was still OK.
Woe is me, there was a brown spot toward the end of his half, and he, being a sharp-eyed child, noticed.
“There’s a spot.”
I have some friends whose mom used to tell them the dark spots in their bananas were brown sugar.
“That spot is extra sweet,” I told him. And he ate every bit of his half.
Dinnertime crisis averted.
True, my niece did pick off every fleck of spinach she saw on her piece of pizza, but she ate the tomatoes, which I thought was good work for a person her age. She ate her banana slices without voicing any disapproval.
Next time they come over for dinner, maybe I’ll get her to try spinach prepared a different way — without first dousing it in French dressing.
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