One of our most favorite family outings is taking long romantic walks through the aisles of Costco while juggling every sample we can possibly get our hands on. Truly, my son gets so pumped up about Costco samples – and who can blame him?!
Before we start getting way too excited over our mutual love of Costco, let it be known that I am painfully new to cooking and shopping for decent human food. “How new are you?” I am so new that if you ask me how to boil an egg, I cannot confidently give you the correct answer without referencing Google or calling my mother.
Thankfully, my son has grown up around fantastic grandparents and friends who cook very well, so he has not been totally deprived. Of course his favorite foods that I prepare are mac and cheese, white rice (like a true Cajun-Filipino), and strawberries. These were the foods I knew he enjoyed, so I did not really branch out … until the angels descended and we walked through the giant pearly aluminum door and were offered samples galore throughout the store!
After seeing him openly trying new foods without much expected hesitation, I had a guilty feeling which confirmed that I was the cause of his unhealthy eating habits. For the first three years of his life, I chose simple foods because it was quick and fool proof, because learning how to cook is hard when you’re a single mom who works full time, because I was afraid of introducing foods that were a challenge to prepare or too time consuming. Though most of all, I was afraid that I would feel defeated if he did not like my cooking. [Looking back, I can see how silly it is to put my cooking confidence in the hands of my toddler.]
Small samples of foods from a large box store has made us more adventurous in the kitchen. We walk through the aisles excited about what we’ll try next. It has made shopping fun! We learn about how the food is made, what animal it is from, what plants are edible, what we love to eat and what we don’t quite have the taste for. I want to encourage everyone, especially those with little picky eaters, to spend some time perusing the aisles of Costco and let them sample. What they like may surprise you and give you more ideas for family dinners!
Since we are buying new foods and experimenting with new recipes as a family, we are giving ourselves grace in the kitchen. Mistakes will be made, too much salt will accidentally be added, and the little nugget may sneeze in the ground turkey – but without mistakes we will never learn. Hopefully he will have fond memories of mom stepping out of her comfort zone to try new things in the kitchen and remember that mistakes are necessary learning experiences!
Thank you, Costco samples. You have changed our family’s eating habits.