Monday, September 5, 2011

Muffin Roll Call

I was talking with a girlfriend about how Sam gets "special meals." I have mentioned this practice to you before, I am sure. Said gf was over as carrot muffins baked away. I said that I had a lot of carrots and thought I would make muffins in an attempt to get Sam to eat an actual serving portion of a vegetable. I then got to wondering about how many muffins and rolls and pancakes and patties I have baked veggies into in the hopes that Sam would eat them.
carrot muffin

Let's see ...
Sweet potato muffins and pancakes
Broccoli-cheese rolls
Carrot cake and muffins
Zucchini bread
Harvest cake (carrot, parsnip, zucchini)
lumpia with veggies
ravioli with veggies
veggie burgers
veggie pancakes
zucchini fritters

These morsels usually work for one or maybe two servings and then Sam's taste buds rebel or something.

harvest cake

I keep working and reworking my Child Meal Philosophy. As I see it, there are three basic thoughts:

1. The child eats what we eat. I like this one. How else are we supposed to transmit culture and dining etiquette, not to mention make sure we don't have a finicky Napoleon at the table who thinks the world revolves around his taste buds.

2. The child has a small portion of what we eat plus something we know the child will eat. This option seems a sensible middle road. Perhaps expecting a three-year-old to eat Thai beef salad is too much, but if he tastes a little beef and then has some inoffensive macaroni and cheese, surely this will create a child who is not afraid to try to new things and one who appreciates his mother's wonderful cooking. Surely.

3. The child has his own meal. This is the norm around here. It was also the norm, as I have mentioned before, when I was growing up. My mother and father would have their liver and onions with a side of steamed broccoli and mayonnaise, while we children had tater tots, carrot sticks, and chicken nuggets. There are so many problems with this, I don't even know where to begin. Mostly, I don't like it for two reasons. First, it means I spend extra time in the kitchen making something that Sam might reject. I have cried over a meal that I made just for him when he sent back to the kitchen with upturned nose. So my sensitiveness means I always err on the side of caution and make only dishes I know he won't turn down, which includes all of four things. Second, remember that Napoleon comment above? Yeah. I know my mother would say that we three kids turned out fine. I mean, look! I even have a food blog AND I eat anchovies and at one point had an entire 1/4 steer in my freezer.

But it's the philosophy.

See, I think in terms of right and wrong for just about everything. Oh, there are many ways to skin a cat, yes, but there is one best way, and that way is the right way.

broccoli-cheese rolls

There is another barrier to #1, and that is that dinner just isn't always ready at 6pm when Sam is ready to eat. So what then? I thought that I could reserve a small portion of the previous night's meal so that Sam and I can sit down to the same thing at the same time. But that hasn't consistently worked out. Also, I get worried that he'll starve. I mean, I know he won't really starve. He'll probably just go to bed hungry for a while. We already connect dessert to amount of new thing he tries and he already announces, "I don't want yogurt pretzels," to show us that he understands the connection and that he really doesn't have to try anything new because there will be more, better food tomorrow, thanks.

I could go old school and put the same dish of food in front of him day after day until he eats it. What's that? The same bowl of goulash, you say? Why, yes, it is!

I really just need to commit to having dinner done by 6pm and Sam eats it, period. That probably means making dinner around 3pm. Jacques Pepin said his daughter always ate what they ate. Lots of people do that. Why do I do that crazy American thing of making him his own meal? What came first, Sam's finickiness or me making him finicky by treating his meal as special? I probably brought this upon myself. Ug.

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