When I was in second grade, the following story was in my school reader, (which I’ve since discovered was called “Believe and Make-Believe (Sheldon Basic Reading Series)“) and I remember sitting with my mom at home listening to her read it out loud before bedtime. It was one of my favorite stories, and I was happy to stumble across it again out there on the internets. The credit I found was to “Caroline Feller Bauer” but I’ve since discovered (see comments below) that it was written by Betty Van Witsen.
There was once a little boy who ate cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day he ate the same thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.
For breakfast, he would have some cheese, any kind: cream cheese, American cheese, Swiss cheese, Dutch cheese, Italian cheese, cottage cheese, bleu cheese, green cheese, yellow cheese, even leiderkrantz. Just cheese for breakfast.
For lunch, he ate peas: green or yellow peas, frozen peas, canned peas, dried peas, split peas, black-eyed peas. No potatoes, though; just peas for lunch.
And for supper he would have cheese and peas and chocolate pudding for dessert. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day, the same old thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.
Once, his mother bought him a lamb chop. She cooked it in a little frying pan on the stove, and she put some salt on it and gave it to him on a little blue dish. The little boy looked at it. He smelled it (it smelled delicious!). He even touched it. but — “Is this cheese?” he asked. “It’s a lamb chop darling,” said his mother. The boy shook his head. “Cheese,” he said. So his mother ate the lamb chop herself, and the boy had some cottage cheese.
One day, his big brother was chewing on a raw carrot. It sounded so good and crunchy, the little boy reached his hand out for a bite. “Sure!” his brother said, “Here!” He almost put the carrot into his mouth, but at the last minute he remembered and asked, “Is this peas?” “No, it’s a carrot,” said his brother, “Peas”, the little boy said firmly, handing the carrot back.
Once his daddy was eating a big dish of raspberry pudding, It looked so shiny red and cool, the little boy came over and held his mouth open. “Want a taste?” asked his daddy. The little boy looked and looked at the raspberry pudding. He almost looked it right off the dish. “But, is it chocolate pudding?” he asked. “No, it’s raspberry pudding,” said his daddy. So the little boy frowned and backed away. “Chocolate pudding!” he said.
His grandma bought him an ice cream cone. The little boy shook his head. His aunt and uncle invited him for a fried chicken dinner. Everybody ate fried chicken and fried chicken and fried chicken, except the little boy. And you know what he ate. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day the same old thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.
But one day — ah, one day a very funny thing happened. The little boy was pretending to be a puppy. He lay on the floor and growled and barked and rolled over. He crept to the table where his big brother was having lunch. “Arf, arf!” he barked. “Good Doggie!” said his brother, patting his head. The little boy lay down on his back and barked again. But at that moment, his big brother dropped a piece of something right into the little boy’s mouth. The little boy sat up in surprise because something was on his tongue. And that something was warm and juicy and delicious!
And it didn’t taste like cheese. And it didn’t taste like peas. And it didn’t taste a bit like chocolate pudding. The little boy chewed slowly. Each chew tasted better. He swallowed the something.
“That’s not cheese,” he said. “No, it’s not,” said his brother. “And it’s not peas,” he said. “No, not peas,” said his brother. “It couldn’t be chocolate pudding.” “No, it’s certainly not chocolate pudding,” said his brother, smiling, “It’s hamburger.”
So the little boy thought very hard. “I like hamburger!” he said.
So ever after that, the little boy ate cheese, peas, chocolate pudding and hamburger.
Until he was your age, of course. Then he ate everything!