Monday, September 10, 2007
Pants on Fire
Another nail in the coffin of Summer 2007 has been fastened. Saturday was our 2nd block party of the season, the final, completely unnecessary but oh-so-fun party we insist on having the 1st Saturday after Labor Day.

After spending much of the day inside thanks to a stomach ailment, (remind me to pay closer attention the next time Sophie tells me "everyone had a stomach ache at school today, mom."), I headed out and sat for awhile watching the kids ride their bikes and scooters, jumping rope, running the through the opened hydrant and more or less keeping my distance from my unsuspecting neighbors.

Later on, our friends and neighbors came out for their popular after-party, the party that happens after most of the block party is almost over. Better food, lots of wine, good company. I joined them after putting Harry to bed and when I arrived, I was offered chili which, thanks to the delicate nature of my stomach over the past two days, I politely declined. "Oh, right. You're a vegetarian, right?"

I reacted as if I had just been accused of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Me? A vegetarian? Certainly NOT, sir! "What ever gave you that idea?" I asked.

"Sophie said she was vegetarian and I assumed you were."

I looked over at Sophie who became bashful when she'd been caught in a white lie. (To her credit, at least she was doing it to avoid hurting the cook's feelings.) I set the story straight for the chili chef. "Kevin, we eat meat. Sophie is six. Don't you remember how hard it is to feed a six year old?"

This past week it seemed a little harder than usual to feed our darling daughter. She scoffed at anything that wasn't pizza or Chinese takeout. On Thursday, she complained about having to eat chicken, AGAIN. "All we eat is chicken or turkey. It's the same. EVERY WEEK."

On this she is correct. There's only so much this kid willingly eats, and at the end of a long day who has the energy to fight? So that's what I told her. I said "Listen, you won't eat a whole heck of a lot. I make what you WILL eat to help keep the peace but if I only make what you will eat, you really can't complain."

Then last night at dinner there was much complaining over the edamame I made, even though she eats it at the Japanese restaurant around the corner. "It's hairy!" was the top complaint, but Harry was happy watching me pop the beans out of their pods. Finally, she tried one. "I don't really like it," she declared.

"That's OK. You tried it. You don't have to like it. And now I know you don't like them. I won't make them (so much)," I said.

Then I dropped the bomb. "This fall there is going to be a lot of new stuff to try," I explained. "Everyone is getting bored with this rotation of chicken/turkey/burgers/pasta/take-out. We have got to try new things. All of us."

Sophie did not look happy. I continued. "There will be soups and stews. Sandwiches, even. Not every night, but once a week or once every two weeks there will be a new dish to try. Nothing crazy, I promise."

"What's stew?" Sophie asked.

"It's meat and vegetables, all cooked together."

"Together? In the same pot?"

"Yes. It's good!" I said.

"Sandwiches!?" she asked, incredulously I might add.

"Yes, soup and a sandwich is great on a cold, fall night."

Sophie rolled her eyes at us. I can see her twenty years from now, lying on the therapist's couch, telling him how her parents made her try new foods and how, during the Fall of 2007 her mother embarked on a mission to broaden the nightly dinner repertoire, of how mentally, emotionally and culinarily scarred this has left her. With any luck, the therapist will have a six year old of his own and he'll tell her get over it, no meds for you. Go have a cup of soup.

So there it is. The Great Culinary Expedition of Fall 2007 begins October 1st. Once a week or so I will make something the kids have never had and THERE WILL BE NO CHICKEN NUGGET SAFETY NET. They can have cut up vegetables and a cup of yogurt if they're that hungry. The first dish I am planning is Mexican Pizza, which they can help me make (tortillas, shredded cheese and a little salsa cooked on the George Forman; black beans for extra protein), or a chicken pot pie (I usually don't like back of the box recipes but the Bisquick CPP recipe is actually pretty good). Wish me luck. Join me if you like. Bring wine. I'm going to need it.


Blogger Andie said...

and I am thankful thank John eats EVERYTHING!


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