Chicago dad struggles with special dietary needs of his mini food snobs

I can cook. I can throw down a canard de confit with spiced peach marmalade and a side of braised escarole. I deserve a TV show. I’m that good.

Unless you’re a kid.

For kids’ cuisine, I’m egregiously overqualified. If I laid a nice plate of maple glazed pork loin with a beet and goat cheese salad down before you, a grown-up with an established and sensitive palate, you’d swoon. You’d lick the plate. But my kids?

Boy: What the heck, Dad? Is this even real food?

Or, say, I knock out a sweet coq au vin with a side of braised Brussels sprouts, chopped walnuts and prosciutto.

Boy: What is this?

Me: Coq au vin—chicken with wine.

Boy: Why are these cabbages so small? What did you do to them?

Me: Look, it’s just braised—

Girl: STOP BRAISING THINGS! We hate braise!

Me: Look, when you ate the duck last week—

Together: WE ATE A DUCK!?

Me: Yeah, canard de confit. It means duck cooked in its own fat.

Girl: I’m gonna throw up.


Me: There were the goat burgers, raccoon casserole, parakeet, skunk, badger—

Together: AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

The next day, the boy comes home from school and races into the house.

“Dad, Dad, Dad, what’s for dinner?!”


“No. I told my friends about all the gross stuff you cook. They can’t wait to hear what you make next!”

“I’m making spaghetti.”

Boy: Lame.

“With snake.”

Boy: Now we’re talking.

“And pickled badger nostrils, wombat knuckles—”

A week later, I am, again, fed up with pandering to the family’s preferred cuisine. I need to get my chef on.

I buy a rabbit, some parsnips, chestnuts and mushrooms. The kid comes home from school.

Boy: What smells so good?

“Fruit bat stuffed with shriveled yak spleen.”

Boy: Oh my god, that sounds delicious.

“Here, taste this.” I shove a steaming chunk of parsnip in his mouth. “Roasted zombie finger bone.”

Boy: This. Is. Delicious.

“Well don’t tell anyone. Fruit bat is illegal.”

Boy: I’m gonna be the most popular kid in school!

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