Around here, we like to play with our food. We squish it (pizza dough), mash it (falafel), roll it (sushi), and sometimes we even wear it (see above). Everyone is always impressed by how much food, and how many different varieties of it, that Elijah eats. He's a red-pepper loving, pancake-devouring, tofu-gobbling machine. Today for lunch, we had Ethiopian food, and I could barely keep up with the lad. And if someone were to ask my advice about how to get their kid to eat like mine, I would say this: let the children play.
It may seem unconventional, but hear me out. As anyone knows who has ever paid too much for a tiny piece of food on a giant plate, food can be more than just something to put into your mouth. It can be art, it can be whimsy, it can be fun. And in my experience, when the pressure is off, the eating commences. Someday, Elijah may have to down the contents of his lunchbox before the bell rings. or shovel a sandwich at his desk between meetings. (I hope not. I hope he is the next José Andres.) Until then, though, I will happily cut his snack into little cubs and arrange it in the shape of the letter E so that he can eat it, one tiny piece at a time, with a toothpick.