At the grocery store last week, my daughter begged me to buy artichokes. They aren't in season (and while we certainly don't only eat local and seasonal food, I try as much as I can) but I didn't want to say "no" to an almost six year old begging to an eat artichoke for dinner, so we bought them.
A few nights later, she asked me to make them for dinner. I steamed all four of them for 30 minutes in a pot and then let them cool gently. I served them with melted butter and a bit of garlic powder.
I put everything on the table and joined my kids for dinner (in addition to the artichokes, I had a quinoa pasta with sauce). My daughter immediately dived into the artichoke, stopping only to show my three year old son how to pull, dip and bite the leaves. He was certainly not as enthusiastic, but appreciated the attention from his older sister. She ate two complete artichokes, and only then turned to the pasta. My son ate his whole artichoke and loved finding and scraping out the heart.
I tell you this because I never would have bought the artichokes had my daughter not been with me. Even though it isn't always fun (or easy or stress free), it's so great to take your kids shopping with you. I also would never have expected such enthusiasm for an artichoke. Turns out, your kids can surprise you, even (especially?) when it comes to food. And, eating an artichoke *is* pretty fun. You get to pull off the leaves and dip them, you get to dig for the heart and tear away the fuzzy hair and then you get to eat the whole thing. But the best part of dinner was watching my daughter encourage my son to try it. Sometimes our children can be the best eating models for their siblings and friends. Our job is just to let them do it and not get in the way.