Emma Hollingworth: All set for final food festival weekend after a revealing taste of the unexpected

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WHEN you first have a baby you have a million plans for how their life will turn out. What they will be, what schools they might go to – the list is endless.

But one of the biggest things I remember thinking when I first looked into my first newborn’s eyes was how much I was going to protect her.

When I first started to feed her solids when she was five months old I was one of those – possibly highly annoying – mums who said only the best fruit and vegetables would do for her.

There was no way I was going to give her any “horrid” jars of food – who knows what was in them.

Instead I would spend all my maternity pay buying up expensive fruit and vegetables.

These I would lovingly mush into rather rancid looking purees which I would feed to her – wondering why her little nose was wrinkling up at the sight of the spoon hovering over her with its putrid green contents being lowered towards her firmly shut mouth.

Despite her protests I persisted in trying her on all sorts of “new and exciting things”. Sometimes she would humour me and take whatever was given to her. Either that or it was because she was so hungry.

But mostly we would have a bit of a battle as she refused each tiny spoonful of mush being forced on her.

It took years before I persuaded her to eat properly and it is only now that she has a good appetite.

And it is only with hindsight that perhaps I should have adhered to the rule that if I wouldn’t eat it then why would she? Thank goodness Annabel Karmel – the guru of all things to feed your offspring – appeared on the scene before I had my other two children.

It was her influence and the fact I was more relaxed that meant my other two were easier to feed. I even gave way to jars – which really aren’t as bad as I first thought!

A friend of mine who was born in Pakistan has always fed her child spices and herbs of all varieties since she was tiny and as a result her child will eat some of the hottest curries going, despite being only seven.

We went round as a family to her house for tea the other week and although we tucked in ravenously to her beautiful food sadly my kids didn’t.

I felt so embarrassed when she produced a special pasta dish she had cooked for them instead.

I now need to educate them in broadening their palettes.

This weekend sees the final few days of the Sheffield City Council organised Sheffield Food Festival where the theme this year is taste something new. I am definitely taking the kids to this!

They can eat all sorts of new things while also getting the chance to make their own pizzas. For more information visit: sheffieldfoodfestival.com