I wanted to raise my children with taste—to have taste, that is, good taste in food. And unlike many stories of boy-meets-beet, the story begins well.
Like any perfectly reasonable child, my son, Finn, began to eat free from incident or trauma. From birth, there was nothing extraordinary about what or how he ate. Unlike his older sister, Ella, who ate desperately and heartily, then proceeded to spit up with gusto, Finn nursed contentedly until he was sated, then occupied himself with other important matters: sleeping, pooping, grabbing for his feet, gazing steadily at his spinning mobile, and so on. Food and feeding were necessary and rhythmical parts of his day—neither fraught nor especially craved.
In the general scheme of things, babies are offered so-called solid food somewhere around four to six months of age, and so, somewhere in this period, like most other Western mothers, I bought a small cardboard box of baby rice cereal. My box was organic and adorned with a pastoral picture of a babe in a wheat field, even though I had been raised contentedly on the more ubiquitous brand that came in a bright green box. I mixed the cereal into a thin gruel with a little warmed breast milk and