Too Many Cooks: Weird Kids

February 15, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.


Children's food preferences are a subject of great interest -- as a parent, whether you're feeding a baby or packing brown bag lunches, you likely spend a lot of time thinking about what your child will or won't eat. But think back to your younger years. What were the food tendencies that made your parents wince? This week, our staff shared theirs -- and we want to hear yours in the comments.

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As a child, what were your strangest favorite foods -- or aversions?

Marian: I loved chicken-flavored Ramen so much as a child that I called it "soup that I like" and often ate it for breakfast. Things have changed only slightly.

Amanda Li: There are too many to name. But since you mentioned ramen, I used to eat it dry: pound the bag with your fists until the noodles are in little pieces. Then sprinkle the seasoning into the bag and eat them like potato chips.

James: When I was about five I fell in love with spaghetti with Ranch dressing. I start to gag when I think about it now.

Maddy: There was an awesome retro ice cream parlor near my parents' house in Buffalo where they made the cutest little ice cream creations, like snowmen with marshmallow & wafer cookie top hats and cats with red licorice whiskers. My brother ordered that sort of thing. I ordered a root beer float with orange sherbet ice cream. I haven't ordered it in years, but I remember loving it. And loving that no one ever asked for a sip.

ice cream

Peter: I used to go for a stick of salted butter, a bowl of dry Corn Chex, and a dinner knife. Shave off a thin piece of butter, press the knife against some Chex, whereupon 2 or 3 Chex would stick to the butter, then insert knife into mouth and scrape off the butter and Chex. Repeat until the bowl is empty and about 1/4th of a stick of butter was gone. 

Alex: Grape jelly omelettes, strawberry cream cheese sandwiches and noodles -- "noo-noos" -- with butter. I've come a long way.

Kristen: There were many, but the weirdest might have been the way I ate Lucky Charms. I saved all the marshmallows till the end, then ate them in strict ROYGBIV order.

Lauren: Raw ground beef. I call it my first "sushi" to feel better about it. 

Kenzi: Cream of wheat, made with close to no stirring, so it gets all lumpy. Butter. (Before I knew that it was a food supposed to go on another food, I was known to sneak a spoonful of it from the counter while my mother wasn't looking.) And so many PB&Js, in those days, that I was in danger of becoming one. 


Brette: As a child, I had a genuine fear of jarred tomato sauce. I'm still freaked out by it. I'll happily eat canned tomatoes in things, but when it comes to sauce in a jar, I just can't do it. I also loved -- and still love -- orange American cheese, folded up into 8 little squares and eaten plain.

Christina: I loved ritz crackers with pepperoni and melted american cheese. And microwaved "banana's foster" -- basically a heaping bowl of bananas, brown sugar and butter that are zapped and poured over ice cream. 

Amanda: I used to eat elbow macaroni raw. I'd crunch it into little bits and then form it into shapes and suck on it like a hard candy until it dissolved.

Stephanie: I would eat whole plates of triscuits with cheese melted in the microwave.

Merrill: I used to do the American cheese squares too. But the real magic came on Saturday mornings, when my sister and I were allowed to make our own breakfast and watch cartoons while my parents stayed in bed. One of our staples on these mornings was the open-faced mayonnaise sandwich -- always on Pepperidge Farm white bread, with a thin layer of Hellmann's. We'd each eat 2 or 3 no problem.

Lindsay-Jean: I used to melt cheese in the microwave and eat it. Yup, platefuls of plain greasy melted cheese.

Beatrice: As a kid, I hated having my foods touch each other -- I insisted on using divided tray/plates so that everything was separated. But oddly enough my favorite food as a child was a big bowl of noodles with toppings mixed into it. Apparently, once it came to noodles all bets are off and I'll eat anything mixed in with it! 

Jennifer: Stouffer's creamed chipped beef -- straight from the microwave with or without toast. Now, the lumpy cream sauce not completely heated through makes me quiver!


Ryan: I LOVED making boxed Mac & Cheese. I was so proud of myself for being able to "cook" it without any instructions. Then to top it off I would eat it with ketchup. I also used to make peanut butter, butter and jelly sandwiches.

Amanda: I did, too! My mother actually taught it to me, and it's the only way I eat my pbjs -- er, pbbjs. They're so good that my highschool basketball teammates asked her to make the sandwiches for them as well.

Kenzi: Oh my gosh. Once I discovered adding butter into the mix, I never looked back. 

Kristen:  I used to ask for mine with "a little bit of peanut butter, a little bit of butter, and a lot of jelly." 

Peter: Wait. Hold on. Amanda, you were on the basketball team?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mulzee
  • Barb Stary
    Barb Stary
  • Courtnay
  • Komal
  • walkie74
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Mulzee February 23, 2015
My best friend and I were obsessed with pretzels with a slice of cheddar cheese, squirt of american mustard and a slice of pickle. mmmm
Barb S. November 24, 2014
Myself ketchupin chicken noodle soup and my brother potato chip sandwiches with mustard.

Courtnay February 24, 2013
Peanut butter and potato chip sandwiches on soft wheat - not white - bread. Still the best!
Marian B. February 25, 2013
I used to put potato chips in my PB&Js too! So good.
Komal February 21, 2013
Kinder surprise chocolate, ready salted crisps, in my mouth at the same time. Other kids thought I was a freak, now everyone is converted to sweet and salty food together
walkie74 February 19, 2013
Banana and mayonnaise sandwiches. Miracle Whip, to be precise. Preferably on white bread. Man, I haven't had one of those in years...
Lemongrass&Lime February 18, 2013
As a child I enjoyed sandwiches spread with philly cheese and corn relish.
rosalind5 February 17, 2013
A highlight of my childhood was an ice cream sundae called knickerbocker glory. I only ever had it as a holiday treat, in a trucker "caff" in Cornwall (England). It was served in a tall glass, with vanilla ice cream, tinned fruit, cubes of strawberry jelly (jello) and topped with cream and a cherry. I looked forward to it all vacation.
mcs3000 February 16, 2013
Love this. I liked putting Doritos in my Cream of Wheat when my mom wasn't looking.
Rhonda35 February 16, 2013
Peter - Amanda had a past life as an extremely good, very competitive athlete, but don't tell her I told you! And it's true; Mom's pbj's with butter (homemade jam and bread, of course) and her oven-fried chicken were always in demand.
calendargirl February 16, 2013
Another vote here for open-faced mayo sandwiches on white bread, though a thin layer of yellow mustard on top of the mayo really did it for me. Many years later, I still go for a matzoh tile spread with mayo and topped with sliced cherry tomatoes.
ATG117 February 15, 2013
I have to say my taste hasn't changed much at all, except that at one point in my life--despite despising all types of artificial cheese, cheese sauces, powders, and even American cheese--I liked doritos. I came to my senses and also developed a can't-live-without love for chocolate, when I used to not care for it at all.
fiveandspice February 15, 2013
I'm with Merrill on the mayo sandwiches, and my brothers and I also made ketchup sandwiches when left to our own devices - squidgy honey whole wheat bread spread with a thick layer of ketchup and topped with another slice of bread, sometimes nuked in the microwave. Oh baby. (I shutter at the mere thought of either type of sandwich now.)
aargersi February 15, 2013
Sugar and butter sammiches on white bread. Grossly delicious when you're 4
darksideofthespoon February 15, 2013
Peter, mine is similar. Chex with old cheddar style cheese - perhaps a glass of milk on the side. I could go for a bowl of those now, I haven't thought about it in years!