Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dinner Fever

This is what my dining room table looks like right now - covered with books and binders and recipes and sticky notes. I am organizing my recipe binders, my cookbooks. There is chaos before there is order. 

I have taken great pleasure in busting out the glue sticks, construction paper, and three-hole-punch. Sam has even helped me with my "art project" by doing some gluing and snipping with me. I come from a long line of project-doers. Okay, maybe not long, but my dad has always created projects for himself, so I guess that is where I get it, and Sam will get it from me. Or something like that. 

I also take great pleasure in organizing and preparing for trips where I will cook and in preparing and organizing for house guests. I previously mentioned that my in-laws were here last month, and, boy, did I plan the heck out of that. Well, the meals anyway. I even laid away doughs and breads in the freezer. Not too long after that, we traveled (by car!) to Lake Tahoe and met up with my family for a week in the sun. The dinner routine was that Dad grilled the protein while I made the side dishes. And I make a mean side dish. From Seattle, I brought foodstuffs, pans, bowls, and notes so that I didn't forget all the ideas I had before we left. I also labeled all my supplies with masking tape and a Sharpie! Cooking like that, with Dad, was sheer pleasure. My timing has never been so good, and I drank up praise for my food as if compliments were wine and I was at a bacchanal. 

So it may come as no surprise that I take dinnertime at my house seriously. And that, when my carefully planned and prepared food is rejected and labeled yucky or gross, I hit the ceiling. I am well aware of the probable fact that I did this to myself. The kids have their own special dinnertime for years before integrating into the grownups' table and timing; they are fed bland food for those years and then expected to munch on Thai or Middle Eastern flavors all of a sudden; they are constantly given crackers and cookies and then expected to eschew all snacking and save room for dinner. I get it. Really.

Because dinner looks like this,
Teddy begs for goldfish

I get that they have sensitive taste buds. I get that new foods are frightening. I get it that crackers are ridiculously good. But I want them to get that I am making things that are really good and not objectionable to little palates. Am I making sweetbreads with verjus? No. Escargots with a nice garlic-herb butter? No. I saute bacon and then throw couscous in it. I make a bajillion pancakes out of all sorts of things. I make tempura, for God's sake! I make good, kid-friendly stuff.

I am therefore led to conclude that they do it on purpose. As a matter of principle, they reject what Mommy makes. I believe their thinking goes something like this:

Sam: Hmmm, Mommy has been in a pretty good mood today. I'm going to see if I can get pasta with butter for dinner.
Teddy: What did Sam ask for? What is Mommy making? I want something else. But I won't eat it. I just want to look at it.
Sam: No dice with the pasta. Perhaps, if I refuse just so, I can get a bowl of Os instead.
Teddy: Os? I'll have a few.
Sam: Hm. Now she is raging and drinking her grape juice. I can totally hold out until breakfast tomorrow. I'll just ask for milk tonight and pray she doesn't make me try the zucchini pancake and black rice. I mean, really. Black rice!
Teddy: Milk, please.
Sam: Look at Mommy squirm. Wow, I did that. I feel so ... powerful! Hahahahahahahahaha.
Sam eating only what is required


  1. Have you introduced their palate to Le Kraft? mmmm

  2. I read a story about a kid who lived in France. When her grandma made her Kraft mac - all excited - the little girl turned up her nose and said, "That's not cheese!" Butter is the only sauce in this house.