It took almost a year, but something clicked this week with our youngest. He's often a less-than-experimental eater unless it's a non-food item. Pieces of paper? Serve 'em up! Egg shell? Why not?
After trying a variety of tactics and ultimately returning to what seemed the most logical to us, (his theoretically all-knowing parents, right?) he understands now that when we ask him to try a bite of food that he can actually do it and survive. It used to mean he'd just get up and leave the table, preferring not to eat anything than endure this indignity.
It goes something like: "Yes, you may have another 10,000 crackers, but please try a bite of chicken first." He does it now. It doesn't always stay in, but he's trying. Really trying. And it's not ruining his evening. Yeah!
Successes with toddlers come in really weird forms sometimes. I also predict that by junior high he will be eating us out of house and home. It's just how this stuff goes.