Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Writer in the Kitchen

When I found out I was pregnant, every single mom I knew told me not to wish for anything more than ten toes and ten fingers. They advised me that I'd get what I got and I'd love the little stinker anyway. Well, the Little Dude has proven them correct. He, and this is so painful to admit, is a picky eater.

My brother is a picky eater and if you've read Hot Tamara and remember her brother Memo, you can see why this is disturbing. So I have to be clever in the kitchen to get my Little Dude to eat protein. He won't eat chicken; an occasional McNugget is as daring as he'll go. He might nibble on a cheese burger. Good thing we're not kosher because the only meat he'll eat is bacon, ham and other pork products and as we all know, too much of that and he won't fit through the front door. But strangely he loves broccoli and spinach. The rub is that if I offer broccoli too much, he'll get tired of it. (Hmm and I wonder why I feel like a hostage sometimes?)

Recently at my brother's celebration lunch (he graduated from the Federal Fire Department Academy), the Little Dude discovered miso soup with tofu, seaweed ... the works. He ate my bowl and my grandma's bowl. Giddy with the discovery that we had one more item that was acceptable to his palate, I made miso soup for him a week later- the packaged kind but with real tofu pieces and spinach to replace the seaweed. He refused it without even tasting it.

Yesterday felt like a real fall day. The leaves tumbled across the lawn and the air was fuzzy with the dust and dirt kicked up from the wind. As we were putting out a "fire" in the garage, the Little Dude asked for soup for dinner. This was a really big deal. He never makes requests for dinner. Remembering the miso soup disaster, I asked if he'd like scary, slime soup. He's all about Halloween and my gamble paid off when he eagerly threw down his fire helmet and ran to the kitchen. With that in mind, I tried Straciatella soup from Giada de Laurentiis' book, Giada's Family Dinners">Giada's Family Dinners. It's basically Italian style egg drop soup. As the Little Dude and I donned our aprons, I told him a story that the Blob's mama makes him this soup so he stays blobby.

A quick aside: The Blob is one of his favorite "bad guys" from the book, The Monster Museum. Unfortunately, this really cool children's book is out of print but if you can find it, get it!

So we got cooking. The Little Dude pulled out some baby carrots for me to cut and saute with one finely diced shallot. (This isn't in the recipe but when I can, I put as much veggies as I can into his food.) He watched me pour in the chicken broth into the hot pot and then carefully he selected three eggs, which we then whisked with parmesan cheese, basil and parsley. One of awesome things about cooking with a three year-old - aside from the mess - is how ordinary things become extraordinary. As I poured the egg mixture into the simmering broth, his eyes sparkled and he made his ghostly, "whoooo!" sound as the eggs transformed into transparent sheets. We then renamed it, "ghostie soup."

Sure enough, he ate two bowls of ghostie, blob soup. He even had me make a bowl for the Blob and Sally (his imaginary friend from The Nightmare Before Christmas). With the sky turning violet and cars driving home after work, I ate one of the best soups I'd had in a really long time.

1 comment:

Dani in NC said...

That is such a sweet story, and you sound like a great mom. When my kids were that age, I didn't have the patience to have them in the kitchen with me. Daily cooking is such a chore that I want it to be done as soon as possible.

As for the finickiness, there is hope. All of my kids were picky in one way or another, now in their tweens and teens they have much healthier appetites. If you persevere, many kids eventually broaden their range.