Mikey doing battle at the Pantheon

Thirteen is a tough age. You’re no longer a little kid, but you’re not yet an adult either. We took our youngest daughter, thirteen, along with us on our Italy trip for a couple of reasons. One- to show her there is a big big world out there beyond suburban NY. Two- to give her a realization of the fact that the US is a very young country compared to the rest of the world.  And, three- to expand her palate beyond the usual food she’s been eating.

Three days in Rome gave her more than enough art, history, museums and churches of all sizes. And enough pasta to keep a kid who is still a bit of a  picky eater satisfied.  (Yeah, I know I said the other day I’ve got to re-think the label “picky eater” but for right now that term is going to have to stay until I find a new word that fits.)

After taking an evening high speed rail to Florence last night, we are now in a completely different part of Italy. Of course there is plenty of art and history but there are more attractions for a thirteen year old. We spent the afternoon on a bike tour all over the city. The narrow roads are perfect for bikes, our guide gave us  short and sweet snippets of history along the way. The menu in Florence is a bit different than Rome. For one thing, there seems to be more meat: I had osso bucco with polenta for dinner.  My 13 year old eater is adjusting. Slowly. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

This morning, we are hopping a train to Montevarchi to spend a full day shopping for fresh food, cooking and eating it all.  I hope that this will be the turning point that will inspire my daughter to eat more adventurously as she learns first hand from a cooking teacher other than me about the wonders of Tuscan food.  After all, kids who grow food and/or cook food are way more likely to eat that food.

Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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