When you’re making a meal, everyone in the family eating that meal is both a worldwide tradition and an opportunity to learn many good things, open mindedness being just one of them. Engage in teaching child manners as you emphasize good nutrition. In my family, growing up, we weren’t allowed to say that we “hate” or “don’t like” any food my mother made. Both of my parents required that we show respect for the effort my mom had made in preparing the meal.
We were allowed to say, “I don’t care for this very much.” Of course, that became something we joked about: imagine eight children saying that in the most proper British accent we could come up with. Imagine how I was mocked when I told my husband’s teenaged siblings that rule, when we were first married and I made broccoli soup for his large family. But the joking did help my two youngest sisters-in-law open their minds enough to try the soup–and one of them even liked it.
We learned good manners in addition to being open to new foods, and both are important to learn as we become adults and enter into social situations. I hereby publicly thank my parents for providing one nutritionally sound meal, three times a day, with the only “option” being to eat it or go hungry.