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The Threat of Liver

I have a confession my son is a picky eater and I have failed at expanding his food horizon. In the past, I scanned every parenting magazine, forum, and sought advice from friends. But nothing seemed to entice him to eat if he didn’t want to eat what was on his plate.

I am also guilty of catering to his whims, and have been known to cook two separate meals. One for him and one for us. However, our last supper turned into a disaster. I had made lasagna, fresh bread, andΒ  salad. What’s not to like?

My son looks at it, picks at it, twists it on his fork, his pleading eyes look at me, “Do I have to eat this?”

“You’re joking, right?”

“I don’t like lasagna!”

“Since when? You ate it without complaint the other week.”

“May I just be excused and go to my room?”

It was with that one question something inside me said, “No! You will sit there and finish it. It’s lasagna and there is nothing gross about it. So eat it.”

“Do I have too? I just don’t like the taste.’

“It tastes like spaghetti.”

“Fine. I’m not eating.”

“Fine. You sit there until it’s eaten.”

My husband looked surprised, my youngest son Robert gobbled his with delight, and Alex sat there with tears welling up in his eyes.

“I just don’t like it!”

“Alex do you even know what gross food is?”


“I don’t think so. How about this? You either eat this lasagna or I go to the store and purchase liver. I will come home and you can help me cook it then you will eat it. It will be then you will discover what gross food is!”

“I’m not eating it!”

“You won’t eat the lasagna then you sit at this table until I get back from the store.”

I went to the entryway, grabbed my keys, my purse, and put on my shoes. My husband looked up pale wondering if he too had to eat liver. He also knew that I meant business and sat quietly watching the events unfold before his eyes.

” This is your last chance! Eat the lasagna! Or I will leave, go to the store, and buy liver! You will then eat it and learn the meaning of gross. The choice is up to you.”

I then began the final countdown, hand on the door knob, ready to leave “10, 9, 8, 7, 6,5…””

“Fine. I’ll eat the lasagna. I hate it but I will eat it.”

It with that one threat of liver which forced my picky eater to finish his plate of lasagna. I still shudder the thought of cooking liver and onions. Even I can’t stomach the stuff…

Do you have a creative solution to getting picky eaters to eat? Is there one food that you can’t stand the taste of?

Categories: boys family family life fun funny fussy eater Humor motherhood musings my life parenthood parenting picky eater raising children random thoughts Relationship's thoughts

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

28 replies

  1. I thought the end was going to be that you bought the liver and he liked it.. oddly, I loved liver as a kid….although I don’t think I can bring myself to eat it. I never was picky as a kid, except for bananas. I wouldn’t go near them. Once my dad took me out to dinner and the came we ordered had bananas in it. I was so grossed out … I. Complained so much, even my dad.couldn’t day the.cake. and he loved bananas and cake!!!

    1. Hahaha! Your poor dad! I hate liver and the thought of it! Eeeeewwww! But the threat worked, he ate it..However, I would have been chewing my words if I had to go to the store and buy it. It was a close call πŸ™‚ Phew!

  2. lol… I don’t think i’d have been able to pull through on that threat! Eww liver!
    My aunt (who is a doctor) used to tell her patients whose children were picky eaters that you just have to make them eat. Then along came my cousin, who survived nearly a year refusing to eat almost anything but peanutbutter sandwiches, and now she just says, ‘get them to eat what you can’. Picture the child who ate a peanutbutter sandwich instead of a full turkey dinner, and also turned down all the assorted xmas desserts and cookies afterwards… so it wasn’t even just a case of ‘i want to eat the sugary things’.
    I’ve heard of people making the rule that you have to eat three bites of everything on your plate, and if you still don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. That way the things that suddenly and mysteriously become ‘ewww, gross’, they still try each time you make it.

    1. I can picture it…My son finally ate his first turkey dinner last Thanksgiving and decided that he liked it! It was a hallelujah moment for me. I love to cook and experiment with different things. So it’s heart-breaking when they just won’t eat it…

      I like the three bite approach that is a very good idea. Eventually they will grow to love it. Right?

      1. grow to love it? i’d hope so. but at the very least, his opinion of not liking something would be confirmed every time you ate that thing, and it wouldn’t be based on ‘today, i think i’m going to stop liking this thing, just because’… like lasagna, which i’m sure he’s eaten before and enjoyed, but picked that day to dislike without sampling.
        I would definitely have a hard time cooking for a picky eater all the time. What if you got him to help out wiht cooking… that wya, if he doesn’t like what’s being served, its partly his own fault?

      2. I’ve tried it but not that he’s older, it’s a good idea to make him try again…I love that idea!

        Also, after the whole debacle with the lasagna he ate it and I could tell secretly enjoyed it. I’m beginning to wonder if food is more of a control issue for him and a battle of wits for me πŸ™‚

  3. Have you ever tried just letting him go hungry? I know it would be REALLY hard, but I’ll bet if you do not allow him to snack between meals and offer what is on the table, he might be hungry enough to get past some of his likes and dislikes. Here’s hoping you find an answer that works…oh, and this too shall pass.

  4. I hate liver as well. Thankfully I’ve worked very hard at not raising a picky eater. Hubby is worse than Charlie ever was!

    We have a rule called No Thank You Bites. If it is something new or that you don’t like you have to eat 6 NTYBs before you’re excused from the table. It has to be 6 big bites too or 6 of an item like 6 pieces of fried okra. 6 because Charlie is 6yrs old but you can use any number. I just didn’t want to limit to only 1 bite.

    After your 6 NTYBs you can then say No Thank you and have as much as you want of the other stuff on the table. No seconds until you have your NTYBs. I don’t provide a snack after dinner if he doesn’t eat very much either. Charlie has been known to go to bed hungry before.

    You might give this a try. It seems to help reduce the battling since it is a limited amount of food to try. And then send the boy to bed hungry and stop making separate meals. That’s how I ended up with a picky 47 yr old! LOL

    1. LOL! I like that idea too! I think it’s time to dig me heels in the ground and make him eat what’s on his plate πŸ™‚

      Two separate meals is starting to get on my nerves and quite frankly it’s not liver…But if he keeps it up we will all be doomed to eat it!

  5. This post does not make me happy. I’m currently living with a horribly stubborn three-year old who one day loves something and a week later has a massive fit over being asked to eat the same thing. Right now, I do the “eat it or go to bed right now” stance. It gets him moving but GOD I AM SO TIRED OF THE TANTRUMS at almost every dinner.

    P.S. I like live. Chicken liver. My three-year old has even eaten some on crackers!

    Keep us updated on all this. Hopefully the liver threat will be the ace up your sleeve for those particularly stubborn meals!

    1. I remember those days…And I think I just got tired and gave up. But now he is nine and it’s time he finished what’s on his plate. Regardless, I should have never let it go as far as I did and I have my fingers crossed that the liver threat will get us through all of our meals. I hate! Hate! Hate! the fact he likes something one minute and the next he doesn’t….

  6. I used the “no thank-you” helpings as well with my kids. My son used to be a very picky eater, and my daugther uses eating as a power thing. Like if I am pissed off with you I won’t eat. So we had two rules, you had to try everything and there was a time limit. Otherwise my daughter would have spend 3 hours at the table refusing to eat. So if the time was up (usually like 40 minutes for supper, or 25 for breakfast) you left the table and whatever you didn’t eat, got wrapped up and put in the fridge for the next time, under the guise of not wanting to waste food. It did work. The one thing we did make exceptions for was foods that actually made people gag. I have a few foods that actually make me gag, even just thinking of them, so we cut our kids slack if we could see that it actually really grossed them out.

    My son is now one of the most adventurous eaters I know, and my daugther well, she still eats very ridiculously slowly and picks at her food, but knows that she has to eat and doesn’t get into the battles the same way.

    I never threatened to go and get liver though… that was a good one!

    1. Thanks! It was the first threat that worked now my only fear is he wall call my bluff and I will have to get liver….

      My youngest loves food and will try everything. He even loves sushi! However, ever since my oldest was three or four it’s been a power struggle. I love Texasbeth No Thank You suggestion…And I’m also going to give it a shot. Honestly, I’m not serving gruel, you would think it was the end of the world having to eat lasagna.

      My son will also sit there for long periods of time. He can be very stubborn. I tried the leftover approach but he wouldn’t eat it the next morning. I may have spoiled him too much by giving in…

  7. lmao big time! As I was reading this I wasn’t sure if the end would turn out like a scene in “A Christmas Story” or a scene from “Mommie Dearest.” lololol When I used to babysit my niece I used to put a dab of jam in her food (eggs, chicken, carrots, mac n cheese, turkey dogs, fries) and she ate it. When my sister got home she was always amazed how I got her daughter to eat. I never told my sister about the jam. She wasn’t keen on giving her sugar at the time.

  8. Your right about that! Liver is the devil.
    I have one picky child that I force food down her throat and then she likes it. Go figure. I hate making two different meals but … ce le vie …or whatever.

    Kids are weird. There I said it.

  9. I have two world-class picky eaters, each with a host of food allergies, and a genetic proclivity for pig-headedness. After WAY too many pitched battles at the table and/or buckets of wasted food I decided they have to eat the food we serve at home. Like, HAVE TO. As in, if they don’t eat it they go to time-out or lose a privilege or a toy for a week. I make the servings really small to give them a fighting chance.

    When we’re out, they have to taste the food (two bites), and then they can say “No, thank-you” and stay at the table until everyone is finished. It’s the complete opposite of what I was taught at home, but unless I was there to see it cooked, I can’t be 100% sure there isn’t anything in it that will give my kids an allergic reaction.

    We started doing this a few months ago, and it’s worked really well for us. The kids eat. The grown-ups are (relatively) sane. And we aren’t wasting nearly as much food. That said, if we experience a relapse over the summer break, I am TOTALLY going to try your liver idea! I mean, as long as I don’t have to eat it, too. πŸ™‚

  10. My son loves virtually everything he’s tried thus far (a notable exception being horseradish, which I don’t think he’ll ever make the mistake of cramming into his mouth again), so I haven’t come up against this yet. Still, I’ve met enough parents who had kids become picky eaters later on that I know enough not to say “thank goodness!” just yet . . .

    I like your approach to this!

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