Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On failing to develop a taste for the finer things in life

Three things I never say:

  1. 'Oh, I just make a big jambalaya and we all tuck in'
  2. 'We make sure we eat dinner as a family every day'
  3. 'Don't worry about Lady P, she'll eat whatever we eat'

How do others do it? Those families I see order the 'kiddie veggie dip' at Source cafe. The ones splitting a pizza at Pedones. Or worst of all, the ones who claim to cook up a roast dinner, a hearty stew, or casserole for the whole family to eat together without even a concession to toddler preferences.

The thing is, Lady P eats dinner at 6pm. And its usually firmly toddler fare. I'm happy to nibble on the odd peanut butter smeared cracker to keep her company. But cold pasta and fruit at 6pm is just not my, or TLOML's, idea of an evening meal. We'd rather put her to bed, fix ourselves a G&T, and make something spicy, hearty and complex (aka the kind of food she hates).

I am trying to raise her taste game. I often offer her leftovers of our dinners, in the hope she might discover a love of bouillabaisse, bulgogi, or bolognese. We have recently tempted her to try chicken sausage and salami, which we considered a major step forward. Still, her dream meal is an avocado and a handful of goldfish crackers. Oh, who am I kidding, a pound of goldfish crackers. With half a papaya for pudding. It's not that she doesn't eat. She's pretty well nourished, I'd say. It's just so damn baby-ish.

Here's a textbook Lady P meal: witness the naked macaroni she prefers and a couple of tangerine segments in play. And waiting in the wings, the mac'n'cheese I slaved over because she used to like it, and some of our leftover gumbo just to see if she'll go for it. Guess what? She didn't.
It's not all bad. We always eat breakfast together, because we too like eggs, Cheerios and toast. And if we have friends over for drinks, she'll scarf as many tortilla chips as she can get away with.

But the closest we get to eating out as a family is happy hour at Hook and Plow: oysters on the half shell for us, and a side of mashed potato for Lady P... while I try not to look askance at the smug little SoCal sophisticates tucking into shortrib tacos at the next table.

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