Book teaches children to eat everything

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nancy Tringali Piho, author of the new book, “My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything,” is a longtime friend of mine. And I can tell you that whatever she does, she does it well. So if you are raising your child(ren) to learn to eat everything and love it, her book is for you. It goes on sale in October.

Not what you think

But first of all, you need to know that this book is not (please take note: NOT) a treatise on children’s nutrition, or a lesson on health tips of a proper diet or proper table manners. Rather it is a funny, but serious, look at the foods that adults eat and enjoy. And if adults eat and enjoy these foods, why can’t children.

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The mother of two young boys (and both are adorable, I might add). Nancy, in her book, looks at that age-old question of why so many children are picky eaters. They don’t eat green foods; they won’t touch anything new; and spicy foods?, heavens NO!

 So Nancy has taken a new point of view and questions everyone from chefs to medical researchers to “foodie” parents on how to teach children to eat and enjoy a large variety of foods. She spent some 20-odd many years developing marketing and communication skills in the food industry. She writes in her book:

“Working with top chefs, world-class restaurants, cooking schools and international food companies, I began to appreciate the value and enjoyment that foods can bring, and by taking cooking classes, reading cookbooks and cooking publications, my own palate has developed and evolved along the way, which is why I feel so strongly that children’s taste preferences can also be trained and influenced.”

Dot Tringali, mother of the author and also a very good friend of mine, for many years was associated with the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C., as is her daughter today.

 In her book, Nancy discusses:

• Parental attitude: that is, what parents eat and the foods their children are exposed to at young ages.

 • Children’s meals as standard fare: She writes that somewhere along the line, it has become expected that children eat pasta, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches, and not much else.

 • How kids can learn to love just about any new food: Tips from America’s top chefs, who are also parents, on how to get children to try new things at the table.

 • Tips on going to all types of restaurants, not just “family-friendly,” and how to navigate menus, the wait-staff and more, just about anywhere you want to go, with your children in tow. (Hint from top chefs: They WANT YOU to bring your kids to their restaurants.)

Gentle humor, real life

What makes this book stand out, however, is the gentle humor and the real-life situations that Nancy so frankly describes. Her approach to introducing her own children to the foods that adults eat is funny, serious and clever. At the same time, she stresses nutrition and draws on her direct research with chefs and other food professionals.

The book offers both parents and ordinary food lovers an invitation to take a thoughtful look at what they can do for themselves and their children. Her focus is on the influence of parents in the very early years, how important it is, how brief the time you share can be, and how vitally necessary it is to teach children in a way that will serve them, their health and well-being throughout their lives.

 Published by Bull Publishing Company, the paperback/$16.95 book goes on sale in October.