We’ve cut back on inviting others over for four-course lunches and dinners.

We used to push the boat out, but no longer.

We’ve simply had too many fussy eaters over during the past few years. There was one couple with a laundry list of ‘what we don’t eat’. Then there was the vegetarian, a guest among several carnivores. Then there was the guest who said our portions were too large. And another who said we served too many courses.

Fine. More for us to enjoy.

The most galling was the laundry list of ‘what we don’t eat’ which amounts to ‘We’ve never had these foods prepared properly or have never tried them’. They included eggs, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, prawns, scallops, lobster, liver, cream — and many more.

I cannot tell you how difficult revamping that menu was.

We were planning to serve a starter of pan-fried foie gras d’oie (goose) with sauteed slices of plum. That had to go.

Then there was the main course of warm prawns and scallops with a light cream and chive sauce. That had to go.

Then there was the salad — a delight of spinach leaves, sliced mushrooms, bacon lardons and chopped boiled egg in a light vinaigrette. That, too, had to be ditched.

Whatever we planned for pudding — crème brulée, probably — was also out of the question.

Whatever we had (I can’t remember) was fine and we had a lovely evening — they were wonderful guests — but we shall not be inviting them again.

There is something to be said for introducing children to a wide variety of food as soon as possible. Begin with baby food in their infancy then move on to equally varied foods which require a child’s cutlery set so they also know how to use a knife and fork properly.

One mother we know has a son who doesn’t like mushrooms. If she serves them to him, he pushes them to one side. Yet, if she holds a pizza party where each of her children and their young guests assemble their own toppings on the crust, her son invariably piles on the mushrooms and eats them quite happily.

Moral of the story: the sooner you get your kids prepping and eventually cooking their own food, the less fussy they will be. If they add certain ingredients, they’ll love them because they had a hand in making the meal.

Similarly, adopt the example of the father in Spain (see last paragraph) who was able to easily get his children to eat fried calamari (squid).

Food can be an everyday adventure of pleasure and delight.