In an effort to get beyond the perpetual making of macaroni and cheese and steaming of broccoli, we have instituted a contest in our house: whoever tries the most new foods this summer gets a prize at the end. We are keeping an official running list of new foods tried.
The prize? The winner gets to pick a place where we will all go as a family to eat a meal. Any place, we emphasized.
"Isn't that a good prize?" I asked as Son's face fell a little.
"Nooooo," he said, with only a slight moan in his voice. But then he brightened up. "Wait, can it be any place?"
"ANY place," I affirmed.
"Any place in the world?" he asked, his eyes gleaming.
Fearing Paris as his choice, we quickly amended the offer and told him that he could choose any kind of place, with any kind of food, as long as it was within driving distance.
He had his choice firmed up in a matter of moments, and then, in whispered collusion, convinced his sister that his choice should also be her choice, so that no matter which of them wins, we will all get to eat our Adventurous Eaters Prizewinning Meal at...
Where, I'm sure, the hot dogs and elephant ears and cotton candy and corn on the cob dipped into a vat of melted butter and deep fried Snickers bars and other carnivalesque delicacies will do wonders for expanding our palates.
They are completely gleeful over the fact that they have totally pulled one over on us by choosing an amusement park as a place to eat out. ("Get it? We picked it for our dinner, but if they take us there, we also get to ride roller coasters!")
We, on the other hand, have remained completely silent on the fact that we'd already considered a late-summer Cedar Point trip as a prize. Because this past week, their sense that they've hoodwinked us got them to eat quiche, pureed spinach-and-pea soup, and cod cakes (like crab cakes, but with cod).
"Ha ha! In your face, suckas!" [forks waving gleefully in the air for emphasis] "I'm eating this, and you're going to have to take me to the roller coasters! Gotcha!"