Every parent knows the value of calling “sauce” a “dip” when it comes to getting kids to eat.  Maybe it’s the whole independence thing, but when a kid (of any age, mind you) gets to take charge of some aspect of his or her eating experience, it inevitably turns out better.  For example, if I pour sauce (for the under-5 crowd, that would be a “dip”) over something, I have about a 50% chance at best of having that dish make it to The List.  If I put a tiny bit of sauce underneath the food on the plate and place the rest on the table for the kids to add themselves, that percentage can double and that food becomes a List contender.

No, I don’t think I’m raising a house full of control freaks.   Well, maybe I am.  But this is a kind of control to which I can totally relate.  We have to pick our battles, and the Battle of the Sauce is not one I really need to win.

This is how #10 made it to The List.  Let the kids add the sauce, and even something that kids #1 and #4 would have otherwise rejected suddenly steps onto hallowed List ground. 

#10: Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

Now remember: one rule is that the kids need to vote before they find out what exactly is in each dish.  I won’t lie, but I won’t predispose them to a reject vote by sharing with them a list of ingredients that kids think they’re supposed to find nasty.  Dates fall into this “I’m Supposed to Find Them Nasty” category.

Actually, dates used to fall into this category, until I had the boys watch that scene in Indiana Jones again — the one where, unbenownst to our hero but well known to us, he’s tossing poisoned dates in the air, just milliseconds away from death.  Then the monkey eats a date and dies right there on the floor.  Now the kids think dates are cool, like some sort of secret Ninja food.  Find the recipe here on Epicurious, or here on my site. 

I can deal with the “bad dates” comments delivered in fake Egyptian accents, and the overly dramatic Monkey Death reinactments a la the Indiana Jones scene when the kids eat this.  I can even deal with their version of the Indiana Jones theme music, yelled rather than sung, with a mouthful of date pudding (try it: insert the words “Indiana, Indy Jones; Indiana, Indiana Jones!” into the movie’s main theme song…).

Pick your battles, remember?

The List currently sits at 10…

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