Isn’t getting young children to eat new foods the most fun experience? They are always so pleasantly eager as they reach for those new, healthy flavors you want them to try.

Oh, not in your family? Your kids or grandkids gave you a bad time, or still are? For some of us it may be too late. But for others you still have a fighting chance. And this idea is one you can pass on to friends and family so they can be spared some of the lesser joys of parenthood.

You need to introduce food concepts to kids early. It’s very similar to learning languages. If you want a bilingual child, just keep working the two languages into their daily life. Small children don’t know the people around them have just switched from English to Chinese. They simply hear all the sounds, more sounds with multiple languages, and their brains naturally integrate it all. By the time that child is 12 or 14, this wonderful absorption technique is ebbing away. Try learning a language after 30, and it’s really, really hard.

It’s that way with flavors, too. Actually, a great way to begin is to introduce scents. Flavors are sensed by actually tasting and infants have strong limits on the amount of rosemary they can eat. But every kid can sniff. You are seeking to expand their sensory environment at the most opportune time. Later in life, those scents will now appear “familiar” to the child, not something radically new that they can automatically rebel at.

Credit for this idea goes to the foodie legend Lidia Bastianich. She wanted to teach her grandchildren to enjoy all the aspects of the wonderful culinary world that Lidia has explored and created. It’s a brilliant idea. Yes, it will require working from the start with that child, and regularly, and with a bit of patience.

Your option? Well, there is sitting at the table for two hours in a Mexican standoff with that kid because they won’t eat that “new” thing.

Lidia’s idea is the better path.