Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Iron Chef Grudge Girl!

You know what's exhausting? Cooking 4 different dinners.

Chez nous, Andy, Simon and Charlotte are vegetarian. Ethan and I are not.

Back when Andy and I were first married, and up until Simon passed the baby food stage, I used to cook only 2 dinners. One vegetarian, for Andy, and one non-veg, for Ethan. I would usually choose one or the other, or sometimes a little of both. Sometimes there was overlap, like on pasta nights, but not always. Ethan likes his chicken.

Back in those days, I was really coming into my own as a chef, and I would cook these AWESOME, complex, interesting dishes for Andy, while simultaneously making something simple, meatwise, in the crock pot for Ethan, thus saving myself extra work at the dinner hour.

But once Simon started eating regular table food, he wasn't about to touch Couscous a la Greque, or Fasolakia Iadera, or even Chickpea and Potato Curry, no ma'am.

Because children eat differently than adults.

I really wish I could kick people who say stuff like, "If you only give them 12-grain sprouted bread and brown rice and okra, then that's what they'll eat," or, "If their only choice is lentils, and you let them get hungry enough, they'll eat lentils."

PFAH!

No. That's DEAD WRONG.

They will starve. Or, at my house, they will barf.

Sure, at first, Charlotte was happy to munch on tabouli and falafel. But that didn't last long. There is always a sudden end to that behavior, when children's tastes narrow. Developmentally, this is appropriate. So, if you want them to eat AT ALL, beyond, like, Flinstone's vitamins, and anything orange, you have to work with them. And you end up feeding them Wonder Bread, and white rice, and spaghetti, and hot dogs/not! dogs, and chicken/veggie nuggets and green beans and carrot sticks like everybody else.

I really HATE those self-righteous people.

So, anyway, no matter how much time I spend with the coupons and my recipe books, and combing the internet for recipes that vegetarian kids will eat, and planning menus, and shopping thoughtfully, some nights at our house, I end up preparing 4 different freaking things: grown-up vegetarian for Andy, kid vegetarian for Simon and Charlotte, grown-up meat-eater for me, and kid meat-eater for Ethan.

Half the time, I just ditch the grown-up versions, and we all eat kid food.

A couple of days ago Andy was digging through my enormous stack of recipes trying to find the one he wrote down for pizza dough, and he remarked that there were a lot of cool things in there, and lamented that he hadn't seen those in a while.

I was like, "Do you want to try to feed Simon and Charlotte Mediterranean Eggplant Stew? How about Vegetable Ragout with Cumin and Ginger? Vegetarian Cassoulet? Greek Risotto with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts?... Yeah, I didn't think so."

5 Comments:

Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

For about seven years, the only thing Aly and Zoe would eat was angel hair and shake cheese. NOT any other kind of pasta, nor would they eat sauce. Eventually we got them to eat alfredo, but it took a lot of persuading. They are teenagers now, but Zoe is a vegetarian and Aly isn't. Fortunately their dad eats meat and their stepmom is a vegetarian, so she and Zoe eat togaether and Matt cooks for Aly, often steaks.
They do eat more normally, although Aly won't eat rice. She says it reminds her of maggots.
Echo hates to cook anyway.

12:15 PM  
Blogger yucaree said...

i am totally impressed that you make separate meals -- most nights i can barely get one meal on the table! and your dishes sound DE-lish!

but i totally get you about how difficult it is to get the kids to eat anything, much less some tasty dish that is *flavorful* and good for you. and then, when you think you find something they like, they go and change their tastebuds. very annoying, these kids are!

i usually just end up making something *i* like, and tough luck if the boys don't like it. they can eat cereal afterwards!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

Isabelle won't eat rice, couscous, or potatoes, or anything that resembles any of those items even vaguely. I find it the teensiest bit trying.

Of course, they haven't had a vegetable the last three nights, either, because I am Mother of the Year.

Your dinners sound good -- they certainly beat the snack food I've been having lately.

9:14 PM  
Blogger grudge girl said...

Yeah, well, tonight it's, like, macaroni and cheese and hot/not dogs for all! Andy likes to call these "4th of July picnic suppers."

I call them "We need to go to the store suppers."

I'm no Martha. Who has time?

11:40 AM  
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3:02 PM  

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