We don't need to make smiley faces out of foods, or over-sell foods with crazy names or try to get kids to try new foods with bribes, reward stickers or praise.
Case in point? Purple beans.
After camp one day, M and I harvested in the garden. I got to try two new foods (for me too) with my daughter. That was pretty cool! We picked the above deep purple beans and snacked on them right off the vine, and brought about a dozen home. We also tried "golden raspberries" which I insisted were simply unripe, but M assured me was how they were supposed to be and were actually glorious, champagne-colored raspberries...
So we brought some beans and berries home to share with Dad but ran into the gaggle of neighborhood kids across the street. M skipped over to show them the veggies she picked and then doled out beans to share. Of the 7 kids there, all but one (who has food allergies which can contribute to an understandable caution about food) eagerly tried and ate the beans. No bribing, no rewarding, no faces, no lectures about vegetables. "Cool! A purple bean!"
"That's awesome!" We ran out before D got a chance to taste them.
It just reminded me again that the HOW of food and introducing it is so important. It was positive, no pressure, fun and a reminder that kids are naturally curious about new foods and we largely screw it up as parents and caregivers when we try to control the process.
Also, research shows that kids are more likely to try foods that they grow or have a hand in, but it is not a guarantee :)
Have you tried new foods with your kids?
Addendum: THANK YOU for the comments. I knew all of these children VERY well, one mom was there, I know the specific allergies of the child in question. I was with my child and asked permission from the mom (the neighbors all tend to be pretty free with sharing foods with my M as well) But, you are RIGHT. Always check with a parent before offering food to any child (preferably ever) but especially if you don't know the child's allergy history. M often wants to share things with kids I don't know at school/parks etc, and I always either ask, or tell the kids kindly that I can't share food unless the parents OKs it. Kids are pretty savy and used to this these days, I find.