More chili please

5 Nov

I love visiting cafeterias, especially on days when we are trying something new. Chili day, today, was new – and the Kindergarten classes were the first to see it.  We had grilled chicken ready as an option, with brown rice and corn bread, butternut squash soup and cauliflower gratin (plus a stocked deli bar). But chili, was first up, and most of them did not take it.

Having tasted the chili already (delicious), I filled a bowl, grabbed a spoon and visited every table. I offered tiny tastes to anyone who was willing. At each of the 8 tables, I had 1-2 takers. Every single one, said it was great! 3 of them asked for a proper bowl serving, others just asked for a couple of tablespoons that I could offer from my sampling bowl. To those who said no thank you, I smiled and said maybe next time.

Then came first and second grade. More students in this group were familiar with chili already, so we had more takers on the first round. Again, I visited all 11 tables, with 1-2 takers at each one. I served up 4 more bowls, and extra spoonfuls all around. One student said it wasn’t his favorite, that it was a little spicy. I thanked him for tasting it and giving me his feedback.

We can’t force anyone to eat anything, and I wouldn’t want to. Chili isn’t for everyone, but goodness if you like it, all the better. Warming, grounding, full of minerals and vitamins and fiber and love. It often, boils down to exposure. If one child is hesitant, but his classmate has a positive experience, he may choose to try it. Or he may choose to wait and try it next time. The look of surprise and delight on a child’s face when she wasn’t expecting to like something, and went out of her way to be adventurous, is awesome. If it takes 20 times of passing it up to get to the moment, when one feels ready to branch out and is delighted – even better. No pressure here. It just naturally gets easier.

2 Responses to “More chili please”

  1. Aligaeta November 5, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    Sounds great! Maybe if they see you eating the chilli while they are waiting on line they will be tempted before they make their choice : ) Nice to hear there were takers.

  2. butterbeanskitchen November 7, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    Yes, eating with them does make a difference. Especially when you say it’s good, and they try it and agree! Developing that trust is key. Thanks for posting:)

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