There is something magical about kids and food. The wonder they have about food the utter lack of caring if its good or bad until a parent or adult tells them something is gross. The magic that happens when they get to make food their own way in their own time.
I had parents who were gourmet foodies before there was even a term gourmet foodies. Mom & dad grew exotic vegetables in our garden. My mother made ratatouille way before there was a movie by that name. As a kid sometimes it was painful to have to explain to a neighbor that sure you could come have dinner at the Jones house but tonight we will be eating 3rd world food not Kraft Mac and Cheese. Some did not know what that meant until the Bulgar wheat bean cakes and spinach arrived on the table. I could act like this was a bad thing but I would be lying. My mothers cooking was and still is amazing. Don’t get me wrong there were tears shed when she would make eggplant one more weird way or there was that summer I hated tomatoes. Over all though her cooking with exotic different ingredients formed my love for food. The fact we ate snails in garlic butter on sides of mountains or we went to Boo-ya parties in the fall(some day a Tacheny girl will have to share the recipe so I can throw one of these myself) grilled steaks in the middle of winter. These things made me all about adventures in eating from a kid to present.
I never had kids…I love kids I just did not want the responsibility of having one of my own. I am selfish and know this so I have come to make my self a fun friend to my friends kids. I can get them hyped up on sugar have fun with them fill them with food and send them home to puke on their parents carpets not mine. I also do not have to pay for their braces or college! In return they make me feel young and keep me laughing. I have worked for 9 years or so on kid’s night at Antonio’s Pizza here in the town I live. Kids night means kids get to make their own pizza. There is not a night that goes by that a kid does not do or say something funny. I also notice kids are willing to try anything it is usually the parents that tell them something is yucky. After 30+ years in the food business I am still amazed how many times parents tell kids no when they want to try something new. They tell them its gross before they even have a chance to taste it.
I remember getting to order things off menu and we had rules. If you ordered it you ate it. You did not get a second meal because you made a bad error in taste bud judgement. I am grateful for this because those choices at a restaurant introduced me to stuffed artichokes, shrimp dejonghe, ostrich, salt encased red snapper, sweet breads, buffalo, pasta with clam sauce, sea urchin, octopus and so many more wonderful foods. I just had to follow the rules. You ate it if you ordered it and if you did not like it oh well. You also were not allowed to complain and announce the it was disgusting as you never knew if someone else loved it who was seated near by.
Several years ago at church camp I was trying to think of something for my friends nieces to do on a rainy day. We had exhausted the art projects and we had eaten all the popcorn. I thought it would be fun if we could taste a bunch of different food and talk about it as what kids say about food is some of the funniest stuff. Being that I did not have food at the ready I filed it away in my memory banks. The following year as camp approached it looked like We would be getting extra time with the girls as their mom was having some surgery…. Mind went into over drive and Bam Tasty Party was born.
I am actually breaking the first rule of tasty party by talking about it because much like Fight Club we have rules in Tasty Party the first being We don’t talk about tasty party!! You maybe thinking but why?? Well if you start telling adults about tasty party and what you had adults seem to think its gross and stupid. I have found it amazing that a kid will eat a whole can of smoked oysters but when they tell someone they ate smoked oysters and the person says “oh gross why would you do that” all of a sudden that kid is grossed out by oysters and thinks they may have done something wrong. Oh and not talking about it kind of gives kids an element of a club house, Its something of their own.
Rule #1 …We don’t talk about Tasty Party.
Rule#2….We don’t talk about Tasty Party…See the movie Fight Club its great and this is an ode to the movie
At Tasty Party you have to try everything that is presented. You do not have to like it all but you have to try it all. You don’t know if you like it till you try it.
Rule #3 You taste everything at Tasty Party.
You are allowed to not like something. You can even spit it out But….. You must do it quietly in a Napkin and you do not expound on your dislike because someone right there at the table may think it was the best thing they have ever eaten!!
Rule #4 You can dislike something but you must do it properly and politely we never make someone feel bad about not liking something or loving something we dislike.
This turns into something fun we learn about where food comes from and we have discussions about it. We laugh and have a great time. We learn about sitting around a table and enjoying one another’s company along with not everyone liking and agreeing on the same things. It is a great lesson for life that it seems many adults in the world have forgotten.
Rule# 5 Tasty Party is meant to be fun and its all about food and fun. Tasty Party will go on as long as people want to try something new..
We have now done Tasty Party for 3 years or so while at Camp. We usually save it for a rainy day but if it’s not raining we just gather on the hillside and start the party. This years theme was International Food. It gave us a chance to learn about countries other than our own and we got to see where in the world the food we were eating came from. We started with grilled cheese from Cyprus and Tzatziki flavored Chips from Greece. Some Cheese from Spain and Some Salami From Italy. We were about to get into some Indian yogurt drinks when the leader of Tasty Party managed to slice her hand open with a large Chef’s knife.(that’s me)
Rule #6 Do not open plastic bottles with a brand new chefs knife while in Tasty Party!!
I was perfectly willing to continue the Tasty Party we had the mango yogurt drink from India and it was awesome. Well myself and the two younger kids thought it was awesome. The other adult and oldest thought my going to the hospital was more important than Tasty Party. I would like it to be noted I did not go limp or tap out I was willing to continue tasty party. Sadly we missed out on hummus from Jordan, Sponge Pudding from England, Tamales from Mexico, Coconut from Thailand and a few other tasty morsels.
We are a world that is so at odds I suggest trying a few things from other parts of the globe and learning about the culture and who the citizens of that country are. There is a perverse notion that everyone that is not like us is out to do us harm that is so far from the truth. America the most wonderful melting pot in the world. I went to the grocery store in Ohio and found food from over 15 countries real easily. Think about why your ancestors wanted to come to America it was the land of the free and home of the brave people still want to come here for that exact reason and with them comes some really amazing awesome food.
Rule # 7 Try something new hold a tasty party adults and kids alike will love it just pick a theme follow the rules and have fun!!
****I am always for hire for all your Tasty Party Needs****