Thursday, February 22, 2007

An unlikely ambassador

There appears to be an unwritten rule here that after school playdates run through tea time (essentially the children's dinner hour). Like so many local customs, this one runs sort of counter to my ideas about how long children really need to play or how much down time ought to be built into their days, but as there's no true harm to occasional 6 p.m. playdate pickups other than my own scheduling inconvenience, I see no reason not to let Julia accept such invitations when she receives them.

Earlier this week, I went to retrieve her at a friend's house after tea and was met at the door by an apologetic mum. "I roasted a chicken and served broccoli and mashed potatoes," she told me as she ushered me into the kitchen where the girls were polishing off large bowls of chocolate ice cream," but Julia told me that she doesn't eat any of those things???"

"No, I'm afraid Julia's an extraordinarily picky eater," I replied with a smile, "and the fact that many of the foods here in the UK are a little unfamiliar to her has diminished her repertoire even further. I'm so sorry that she didn't eat what you had prepared. It smells delicious."

"We asked her what she likes to eat," Julia's friend's mum responded, "and she told us that she likes macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, pizza, pasta and grilled cheese." (It figures that the kid didn't mention any of the fruits and vegetables that she enjoys. I'm sure the British equivalent of DYFS will be knocking on my door any day now to take away my malnourished children.) I nodded, not quite able to look the mother whose children eat roasted chicken, boccoli and potatoes in the eye when faced with direct evidence of my own kid's lousy eating habits. "Those are the mainstays of her diet at the moment," I agreed, a bit apologetically.

Julia's friend and the friend's older sister were wide eyed. "We looove macaroni and cheese," one of them advised me with the air of an adventurous eater. "Hot dogs," the other one whispered under her breath incredulously. "It all sounds so American," the mum smiled at me. "So exotic..."


Blogger Steph said...

Too funny! Mine are quite the exotic eaters as well. M's list would mirror Julia's, and take away the cheese items (except for pizza) and you've got J's list ;-) They do eat broccoli though...

4:41 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Hey! So my daughter might also be considered a devotee of exotic fare in another country... That's encouraging to hear, somehow.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Tenille said...

Ha! Hilarious.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Gretchen C. said...

I'm really giggling at this one because a couple of weeks back, Holly of Nothing But Bonfires blogged (and waxed rhapsodic) about her first taste of a real American grilled cheese sandwich, something she'd never had before.

(I'm also giggling because you said "mum" instead of "mom" . . . you really are getting Anglicized!)

7:42 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

That is hilarious!! My gosh, lucky the child who gets to eat hot dogs and mac-n-cheese almost every single day! Thanks for the laugh!

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Margie said...

Back to Portugal-- Loved your photos! After I wrote my time machine comment a few days ago, Dave told me that a time machine was not necessary. You just went to the wrong part of Portugal. (A few others seem to have had the same idea.) But I do understand that with 5 and 3 year olds, you wanted to pick one place and stay put. Onto today's entry: I can vouch for the fact that at least some picky eaters do change their stripes.

8:57 PM  
Blogger chichimama said...

You scared me, you really did. You mean my children will someday be eating at other people's houses? Gah!

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I found your blog by googling for American expats in London. My husband and I are considering a similar move, and have many questions. We also have two kids, ages 7 and 5, so need to look at schools/school districts and so on. We were told, by some acquaintances, that we should look to live in NW London.

If you have the time, would it be possible for you to answer some questions regarding a move to London? I can send you the questions by email, or in comments on your blog, if you prefer.



M-from-Dallas, TX.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Oh wow, who'd have ever thought all our children were exotic eaters?! I wish I could look at it that way. Well, actually when my oldest takes a whole tomato and bites into like an apple, I'm sure she's an exotic eater - and not so sure she's mine!

7:20 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Ah, the exotic masses feeding kid foods to North American children... :)

M-from-Dallas, TX., you can email me through my profile if you'd like... I'd be happy to help!

(And to others who've commented before that I didn't have email enabled, now I do!)

1:38 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I love it! By those standards, Iain is an exotic eater too. Excellent. Now I just have to move to Britain.

Ps - Like Gretchen, I notice you used "mum" too. Heehee.

7:37 PM  

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