Feeding My Family // Exposure

Tonight we made my version of Pad Thai. It’s inspired by the “Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai” by Rachel Schultz in Happily Homemade. You can read my review of the cookbook here. (a hint – it’s FABULOUS!) I make my pad thai with rice noodles and you can see my recipe here. I definitely suggest soaking/cooking your noodles a little on the longer side. (And decrease the sriracha if your family doesn’t like spice.) You can also watch me cook it, step by step, over on my Instagram insta stories, but only through tomorrow evening!

If I have learned anything about cooking and taste preferences over the years is that exposure changes everything. I was exposed to all kinds of ethnic foods growing up and therefore I love them. It’s true that we all have things we are exposed to that we don’t end up loving, but exposure really does make a difference. When I met Ben his exposure to ethnic and Asian food specifically really increased. He had it some growing up, but learned to love it as we made our way through restaurants; tried cooking it together; and of course by exposing ourselves to it. He did get a real love for sushi from his Dad, that’s one Asian food I just don’t have an affinity for.

The same thing goes for our kids. For example, they like many kids “don’t like spicy.” But, I’ve been slowly exposing them to more spice, Corban from a much younger age; and they are all able to eat, and like spicier things each time they try. They too really like Asian food, especially Vietnamese Pho so that helps us expose them to even more dishes. The rice noodles in Pad Thai are much like those in Pho soup, and since Pho is also served with sprouts the kids really didn’t bat an eye at trying it. I really didn’t know how they would do. The other thing is we don’t provide alternatives. If we do try things multiple times and I see real preferences in my kids tastes I will honor those. Like I know that Camper likes black beans but Cashel likes pinto and not in reverse. Cash really doesn’t like sweet potatoes. No body likes avacados, they are crazy! So I don’t really expect them to eat those things when I cook them. It doesn’t stop me from cooking with them, I am just prepared to have to ask them to try things again, and maybe not eat those items. Or sometimes I’ll sub them out if I think it will work. In the end they all ate quite a bit of our dinner and both Corban and Cashel came back for more.

Another great example was our lunch today. My cousin invited us over last minute for curry soup, a recipe from Dinner Changes Everything by Ciderpress Lane’s own Kelly Welk, it’s a favorite. I wasn’t worried about my kids turning their nose up to it because they love curry. Sure enough after some playtime with cousins they meandered up to her beautiful table and ate scoops of carrots and rice covered in curry broth. Her kids dove into it earlier, which is another great example of exposure. Other kids who eat a variety of foods, or differently than your family, can be a great influence. I am grateful for a village filled with adults and kids who eat all kinds of foods and with different diets.

This Pad Thai recipe got thumbs up all around, it’s the second time my husband has tried it and said, “wow this is good.” I don’t always get that kind of spontaneous feedback from him so I know he really liked it. The recipe itself is a lighter take on Pad Thai (no peanut sauce) and is easily convertible to a gluten free recipe just by using gluten free soy sauce. I hope you’ll try it, even if just to expose your family to something new.


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