Monday, October 22, 2012

The Battle of Turkey Pasta

He’d eaten it a million times.  Well, that’s exaggerating. He’s eaten Kraft Mac & Cheese and/or turkey dogs a million times. He’d eaten this many times and always liked it. What’s not to like about pasta with marinara sauce and ground turkey? Though it had been a while since he’d had it, that shouldn’t have mattered.  

My Little Dude is a picky eater, that's no secret. He always has been. Even with the baby food in jars he was given at six months old, he rejected most of them.  Usually all over me and my clothes.

But one exception to the rule has been Mrs. Dude’s famous “Turkey Pasta”.  She’s made it for years and he’s always been a big fan, just as I am. And in some weird coincidence, he usually wears a white or light-colored shirt on the days that he eats it.  That’s partly why we buy kegs of stain remover at Costco.   
"Big Tubes" & "Worms" pictured.
But a few months ago, my sister came to visit and introduced the Little Dude to a new culinary treat: “Butter Pasta”.   I can’t really argue that in most circumstances items topped with butter usually taste better than items mixed with turkey, but this dish may be an exception to that rule.  My sister made butter pasta for my nieces and the Little Dude immediately took to it. So much so that he started requesting it multiple times a week.  If he gets excited to eat something we get excited, though in this case I wish it had a little more protein in it.

Given his affection for his new favorite dish, and the ease of preparation, he started eating it a lot. Also since it was over 100 degrees for most of the summer and Turkey Pasta can be a heavy meal, we didn’t make it much over the last couple months.  But I figured it was time to bring it back. Just as people clamor for the McRib every time McDonald’s puts it back on the menu, so should the Little Dude enjoy his beloved Turkey Pasta once again.

Mrs. Dude took him to the grocery store to pick out pasta, as he is very intrigued by the various shapes. He picked out butterflies (farfalle), corkscrews (fusilli), tubes (penne) and more. Then he helped pour them into the boiling water, watching excitedly as they danced around the bubbles.  He waited as the shapes were mixed with sauce and put in his favorite bowl on the table for him.  

And then he refused to eat it.

He wanted something else to eat.  Butter Pasta. Which is OK sometimes, but that’s not what we’d prepared and it’s time for him to get on the same page as us. Making two separate meals is annoying. 

The next hour was not a fun course of events, with many tears shed and a failed bribery attempt, but in the end he opted to go to bed hungry and mad.  Which is a truly heartbreaking thing for a parent to watch but was entirely his choice.

Punishment came when he bounded into our room this morning at 5:30am, cheerful and happy. Acting as though nothing had occurred ten hours earlier.  “I’m hungry!” he giggled.

Perfect! We are having Turkey Pasta for breakfast...

How have you or would you deal with a situation like this?


  1. The ONLY answer is to make him go to bed hungry. I have failed many times by giving into a PB&J request and now I have a spoiled brat picky eater that throws a level 5 fit when I try to tell her that she has to eat this or nothing. Stand strong daddy, it WILL pay off in the end!

  2. Oh and I am SO going to be making Turkey Pasta!! :)

  3. You were completely right; I would have (and I have with my stepchildren) done the exact same thing. And Turkey Pasta sounds really good...

    My stepchildren were raised getting to eat whatever they wanted. They live with their mom at their grandparents' house, and their grandmother (whom I absolutely adore, don't get me wrong) will go out of her way to make them what they want, even if it means making two separate meals. Weekend dinners are not fun; though I do try to make things that we'll ALL eat, tastes change. With teenagers (hold on to your f-ing hat) it's almost daily:
    "I don't like cheese!"
    "But you liked cheese last weekend."
    "That was on pizza, that's different."
    O. M. F. G.

    But I've learned that if they don't like it, too bad. Especially now that I have Drama Baby, who thinks lint is a viable dinner option, crawling backwards around the house.

    Start him early. He obviously likes Turkey Pasta, he just likes it's little buttery, protein-lacking sibling better at this point. He'll be more flexible in the long run, and realize the big picture - that his actions have consequences. Way to not get walked all over by your son. I wish more parents were like that.