Pumpkin – from hate to love in only 5 years …
I love pumpkin, especially roasted and so it features at our family dinner table at least weekly. From the moment my boys went onto solids pumpkin (clothes stainer extraordinaire) was added to their menu and they slurped it up happily along with all the other mush. Max began a dislike of pumpkin as soon as he was able to register such thoughts and as he was generally so unfussy I allowed him the luxury of not eating pumpkin.
Well …. that is not entirely true ….
I am a firm believer that tastes change over time, that the way a food is prepared and cooked can make a difference to how palatable you find it and that sometimes it takes time to adjust to a taste or flavour. I am also stubborn, hard-headed and unwilling to give up a cause …
So I served Max a small piece of pumpkin every time we had it as part of the meal. He usually rolled his eyes and said “mum, you know I don’t like pumpkin” to which I always replied “just try it, you may like it this time”. He obligingly tasted it and then declared that he still didn’t like it. This continued for 5 years. It was never a battle and never a negative. In fact it became more of a family joke that he would always have a small piece of orange popped onto the side of the plate and would always look at me in resignation.
Last year we had my parents over and were on holidays near the beach. I put a tray of roast veggies in the oven (including pumpkin) whilst we went for a short walk that turned into a longer meander. When we returned the veggies had shrunk and were very caramelised.
They got dished up anyway and I gave a piece of pumpkin to Max and said “try this it’s so different to usual, you will love it”. He took it suspiciously and tried it and said “actually it’s really nice, I like it”. My father then added “I don’t normally like pumpkin either but I love this”. Between the two of them they devoured 90% of the pumpkin on offer!!
Max and Joe now fight over the pumpkin I cook (in any way) and I have to adjudicate to ensure they have equal portions and no one is getting more than the other.
This has proven to me beyond doubt that food tastes do change and that it is worth persevering positively with foods. And, to make sure there is less of the “do what I say” message in this I too retry foods constantly and also vary cooking methods to see if it changes my opinion. In this way I have become an eggplant/aubergine lover not a hater over the last 3 years …
And, on a final note, whilst running a healthy eating session at the school last Friday one of the mothers tried celery for the first time since childhood. She had disliked it as a child and so avoided it throughout the intervening years. After discussing the pumpkin story she decided she should have another try of celery and is now going to buy a bunch …..