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Raising a food snob

Steered away from kids' fare as a child, he now demands only the best at every meal.

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Rosemary-cider brined Easter pork loin roast is seen in this photo taken in February, in Concord, NH.

Photo illustration: Matthew Mead/AP

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When my son Alex was 6, I was tickled to read his "about the author" blurb in his first-grade book. "My favorite foods are shrimp scampi and pesto pasta," he had written. As the food editor for an international daily newspaper, I felt vindicated. All those efforts to steer him away from typical kid foods, to cultivate an adventurous palate on a single mom's budget, were starting to pay off.

Not long after that, on Mother's Day, he made me a perfect, half-moon-shaped omelet, garnished with strips of fresh basil. I took a picture to capture the presentation and even better, his ear-to-ear, bursting-with-pride grin.

When other parents complained that their children would only eat pizza and macaroni and cheese, I felt a little smug that mine loved lobster, Provençal olives, and stinky cheeses.

Little did I realize then that I was creating a food snob.

Alex is now in college, and when he comes home he quizzes me on the contents of our refrigerator: Is this sauerkraut the real thing? How was it fermented? Instead of romaine lettuce for salads, why not get some dandelion greens, escarole, or frisée? And forget the button mushrooms, Mom. Let's experiment with the wild ones that are in season.

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