‘Mommy, we asked you for hamachi and tamago!’

Last Friday, it happened again.

I served dinner, and everybody cried.

Well, not me or my husband, or the cat. Just the two little boys with rarefied tastes – who are far too sophisticated for their mom’s quickly improvised baked penne. Yes, it was just a jar of Barilla sauce, pasta and piles of mozzarella, but what kid isn’t into cheesy, saucy carb products? (You know, pizza-flavored pasta?)

My kids. The Elder likes to eat only Japanese foods (primarily nigiri sushi) and school lunches (“They’re just sooooo good,” I’m told, that he “can’t pick one favorite.”) Note to self: Check what drug or candy is being injected into said cafeteria food.

The Younger is your typical kid, who likes only pizza, eggs, peanut butter, cheese, and baked goods, and won’t touch a vegetable.

The problem on Friday was that I neglected to note that, 1: The pasta had a sauce of vegetative origin, but was not, in fact, on a pizza. And 2. This cuisine was not from Japan.

If you see lists of food tips from pediatricians, they generally advise that you serve foods that your kids “can eat.” I’m not sure if this means “can” eat or “will” eat.

We’re talking about a pretty narrow intersection of foods here that both kids “will” eat together: pizza and sushi. (The Younger, rather than bankrupting his family on high-grade fish, prefers to push us to the brink of economic despair by ordering many tiny sushi omelets, and never, ever eating the rice.)

But on Friday, we discovered our new household miracle food. It’s always available here, and palatable to weeping first-grader gourmets and picky preschoolers alike: Rice Krispies.

I’m not recommending anyone else try this nutritionally suspect route, but at least it quelled the shrieks of horror, if only for a little while.—Jillian O’Connor

Do your kids all have different food tastes? Are you also grappling with a child who thinks a grilled cheese is an insult to the very fiber of his being? Have you found a second career as a short-order cook in your own home?

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