08/01/2011 06:36 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2011

A Picky Eater Taxonomy

The Compartmentalizer
Modus operandi: Will not even sit down at the table if the potatoes are touching the broccoli.
Last question before bed: "Dad, is the DustBuster charging?"
Thing that keeps him up at night: Sauce.
In 20 years, will be: Licking lightbulbs, making and remaking bed, touching doorknobs six times before entering the room, running the world.

The Mikey Pollan
Ideal meal: Heritage chicken stir-fry with kohlrabi, heirloom bell peppers, and buckwheat soba noodles.
Overheard at family table: "Mom, this kale is a little more delicate than I'm used to -- are you sure it isn't Tuscan kale?"
Overheard at playdate with less food-aware friend: "No, thanks. My mom says real Parmesan doesn't come in green cans."
Life's ambition: The purposeful beard.
In 10 years, will be: A junior at Oberlin.

The Refusenik
Ideal meal: Whatever you're not serving.
Modus Operandi: Unswerving, knee-jerk dismissal of everything set before him. Feigned inability to reason.
Calling card: The untouched plate.
Defining characteristics: Second child. Dearth of pity.
Admission, made in a rare moment of weakness: Seriously, other than this whole "food thing," I'm a total puppy dog.
Means of survival: Snacks. The refusenik is relentlessly hungry, except when it's time to actually, you know, eat.

The Negotiator
Ideal Meal: Double Stuffed Oreos, the promise of which is the only reason he eats anything else.
Overheard at lunchtime: "What'll you give me if I eat this?"
Overheard at bedtime: "I thought you said there was no story tonight."
In 10 years, will be: Lead interrogator for the Mossad, or high-value detainee being interrogated by the lead interrogator for the Mossad.

The Pint-Sized Paggro
Ideal meal: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but only after having refused the breaded chicken cutlets she asked you to make, followed by the bowl of pasta she then told you she'd rather have instead, but only after you'd rinsed off the cheese she asked you to put on it.
Modus operandi: I am open to life and all its possibilities... if you really insist.
Official motto: "I changed my mind."
Despondent dad to despondent mom, after Pint-Sized Paggro has finally surrendered to sleep: "I don't get it. He ate everything as a baby."
What despondent dad does not realize: The battle has already been lost.

For the complete taxonomy, written by Jenny's husband, Andy, go to Dinner: A Love Story.