How MasterChef Junior Taught My Kid to Love Soft Boiled Eggs

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Some seven-year-olds are fickle. I am parenting my third seven-year-old, and he can be a little picky. For a long time, he has enjoyed two regular breakfasts: cheese toast or peanut butter on bananas. He will also eat pancakes, waffles, the occasional chicken biscuit and toad in a hole. Those breakfasts are just fine, but variety is good. MasterChef Junior has him inspired to try new things, and I love it.

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I think a soft boiled egg, with strips of toast to dip in the runny yolk, is one of life's greatest pleasures. My youngest son found the concept of a runny yolk disgusting, until he watched the latest episode of MasterChef Junior. Four young contestants had to produce one soft boiled egg each, without the benefit of a timer. It was tough and only one of them came close. (I was impressed, because I need a timer, obviously.)

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My son was riveted by those eggs. He watched as Chefs Gordon, Graham and Joe broke the shells, slicing the tops of each egg to reveal the yolk inside. We held our breath, waiting to see if any of the contestants succeeded in producing a perfectly runny yolk. He asked me if I knew how to make a soft boiled egg. Of course I do, with a timer.

The next morning, he climbed up onto my bed before dawn, whispering into my ear, "Can we make the soft boiled eggs now?" I showed him how to do it, including slicing a piece of bread into strips and toasting it, for dipping. This week, he has requested the same breakfast every day, reveling in the heretofore disgusting runny yolk.

At seven years old, he's growing out of his picky stage. The other day, he shoveled a hunk of my favorite, very strong blue cheese into his mouth, informing me, "It's good for you to try new foods!" Yes, dear, exactly like I've been telling you for years. I love when a picky kid turns the corner. Last night, he really enjoyed an eggplant and mushroom pasta sauce. Hooray!

My other two sons turned the corner around this age, but I credit MasterChef Junior for his quick change. Seeing kids only a year or two older than he is cooking and enjoying some wild and crazy food has been a real inspiration. Seeing me eat squid just isn't as effective as seeing a nine year old cook it and eat it. Thanks, junior MasterChefs!

Have you raised picky eaters? At what age did they start to enjoy trying new things?

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(Image credits: Anne Wolfe Postic)