Tag Archives: food

Ian, The Food Critic, Part 2

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A while ago I posted about Ian and his pickiness during dinnertime.  He made comment after comment about how he didn’t like this or that.  Mealtime was a headache for me.

Fast forward to the present…

For Christmas we got Imani a pots and pans set.  She is just now playing with it.  So Ian decides he wants to play along with Imani.  While they are doing so, I’m in the other room folding laundry listening to them play.

Here’s part of their conversation…

Imani~Brother, can you pass me the big pan?

Ian~No I’m using it for something.  It’s a surprise for you.

Imani~(whining)  But I want to use it Ian.

Ian~I’m making zucchini and it’s going to be soooo gooood!

Imani~Ok!

I almost fell over!  Zucchini was the one food Ian almost refused to eat.  As I regained my composure, Ian continued telling Imani all the good food he was going to make for her.

I just smiled to myself and continued to to fold the laundry.

THEN…..Last night while I was fixing his plate Ian informed me that he did not like broccoli. 

Me~Oh really?  Since when?  You asked for broccoli the other day.

Ian~Well that was the other day.  I do not want broccoli today.

Me~Well too bad!  You’re going to eat it anyway.  That’s the only vegetable I fixed and vegetables make you strong.

Ian pouted all through dinner until it was time for dessert. 

I also forgot to mention that he now likes to tell me what to fix HIM for dinner.  I just have to laugh.  Maybe he will be a famous chef one day!

What’s For Dinner?

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This is probably the most popular and  most annoying question asked at our house!  I enjoy cooking and try my very best to be creative.  But it takes a nice chunk of my time to plan a menu that everyone likes and to create a grocery list  that reflects the season and temperature.  I live in a house full of picky eaters, myself included. Here is ONLY a small sampling of the things each of do not like:

 My husband is allergic to shellfish which cuts out seafood recipes.  He does not like peas, lima beans, jambalya, basil, cilantro, lamb, or tomatoes.  Nicholas does not like cheese, mushrooms, milk, cabbage, onions, peas, brussell sprouts, olives, or fish.  Ethan does not like cheese, sour cream, asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, or olives.  Evan has the most neutral palate of us all.  He pretty much eats everything I make with relish.  However, due to his acid reflux, he can’t eat things that have a high acid content.  Even little Jazmine has her preferences.  She does not like bread, bacon, pizza, or lettuce.  And me, I don’t  like cumin, cinnamon, smoked sausage, sweet potatoes, very spicy food, honey, mustard, raisins, beans, feta, rosemary, or ketchup.  I am not short-order cook so I refuse to make multiple dishes. 

 A little frustrated with this I joked to my husband that I was going to designate a night of the week to each family member for cooking.  I proposed the following schedule:

Monday: Mommy’s Magic

Tuesday: Daddy’s Delight

Wednesday: Kids Can Cook

Thursday: Toddler’s Table (yep, Jazmine has to carry her weight, too!)

Friday: Forage the Fridge

He found this hilarious, but I was only half kidding.  However,  I put my culinary fantasy on hold and instead looked online in search of recipes and was delighted to find that the New York Times had written an article about this very subject.  I found several quick recipes to try this week.  Happy Dining!

Food For Thought

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“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”
Norman Kolpas

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”
Sheilah Graham

Today I drove Ethan down to visit his mom.  Intially I felt ackward because this is the first time that we have been to visit since receiving the letter full of accusations and paranoia that she sent to me.  But I prayed while waiting for her to come out and as time edged on, the ackwardness sidled away.

She is usually late to arrive, but it took her a full hour to come out today.  I was a tad annoyed because this adds time to the entire visiting process.  We got in the visiting area at 9:30am and she came out at 10:35am.  I have no clue as to what takes her so long.  Most inmates come right out. 

She was her usual pleasant self, making sure to include me in their conversations.  She even waved to me through the window as they processed her.  Wary, I only spoke when addressed in order to allow mother and child time together.

However, there was one thing  different about this visit.  I did not bring the usual $10 that I normally do so that we may get things from the vending machine.   I rarely eat though because most of the things in the machines don’t appeal to my taste buds so early in the morning.  It is a two-hour drive to get there so I know that Ethan is probably a little hungry by then.  Out of courtesy I always offer Eliza something as well.

The first time that we visited her last November, she looked totally shocked when I asked her if she wanted a refreshment.  She halfheartedly declined.  Later in the visit I offered her again insisting that she  at least get a drink.  She happily obliged.

Since that first time she hasn’t refused a snack.  I really don’t mind treating her but my husband has a different opinion.  He feels that I already spend enough on gas (usually $60 roundtrip) and taking the kids to lunch afterwards.  He has also stated that she probably doesn’t appreciate it and comes to expect it.  He also feels that this gives her an attitude of superiority because she has me (a former enemy) buying things for her.  He thinks, too, that Ethan should use some of his allowance to buy snacks for them.

I reminded him that she has never asked me to buy her anything because I am the one offering.  Two, for me it would be quite humbling to accept something from a person I once viewed as the enemy.  I am not getting the impression that she is being smug about it.  Finally, I don’t really care if she does feel triumphant that I am spending a small amount of money on her.  If she is indeed “using” me, the shame is on her and not me.  It is not like I am spending a fortune on her.  Besides, food helps break the ice time and again.

Plus, I bear witness to the healing power of food.  Food comforts, strengthens, and uplifts us (just visualize “The Last Supper”).  That’s why there are such terms as “comfort food” and “homestyle cooking.”   It has probably turned some foes into friends–just the act of sharing alone.  Food is MEANT to be shared with people.    Food is also an important part of our lives.  And don’t forget that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  How bitter/uneasy/depressed can you be for long when you and others are stuffing your faces with goodies?  Food allows the good times to roll.  Not to mention it feels odd not to be snacking when everyone around us is doing so. I feel good that I am able to offer something at all.  Of course, my husband felt that I was being far too philosophical about the matter.

 I can even understand why my husband would have a hard time breaking bread with Eliza.  Sometimes I do get very angry with the kind of person she is.  I even think of ways that I can hurt/best her in the fragile position that she is in.  She seems to have no problem inflicting pain.  Every chance she gets she uses it to slap us in the face and rain on our parade when we least expect or deserve it.   But somehow I know that it is not safe to fight fire with fire.  When she offends me, I can’t try to offend her in return.  I am of sound mind.  And if she suffers from the mental issues that I think she does, then she can’t help herself without treatment.   I have no excuses.  

While I do respect and empathize with my husband’s opinion, I am the one who will make the ultimate choice about how I conduct myself with her.   If I have the money to spare, I will continue  to graciously provide the funds for snacking.  I understand that she will never likely return the favor which is fine by me.  But that’s not why I do it.

The Bible is a feast of words and I must say that Romans 12:19-21 is quite a delicious sampling of the banquet we have coming:  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Amen.

Meal Time Antics: The Food Critic

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Wow!  It’s hard to believe I have been away from the site for a month now.  Dealing with everything has left me drained.  My grandmother was released from the hospital four days ago and is regaining her strength.  Kierra is healing well and actually started summer school.  She has two weeks left!  In one week Kierra will be with us for her second half of summer vacation.  I traveled to Phoenix to help my mother move to Seattle.  Then of course there is Ian and Imani!  Needless to say I have been extremely busy.

We are still adjusting to Ian and Imani being with us full time.  I am off work for the summer so I have been at home with them during the day.  Ian started waking me up every morning by banging on the bedroom door.  The first time he did this, it scared me silly.  I had a headache for the rest of the afternoon.  Finally my husband started leaving the television on Sprout for them until I woke up.

While school was in session I normally left the house before my husband and the kids.  So I did not know what he fed them for breakfast.  Since I have been home I have had “spats” with Ian about what they would eat for breakfast.  Imani pretty much goes with the flow.  Ian insists on having Pop Tarts for breakfast.  I had something else in mind, like cereal, rice, sausage, toast, and fruit, not all at once, but different variations of this.  On occasion I would fix pancakes which he loves and expects everyday.  He would sit at the table and pout.   I  would remind him that if he didn’t start eating his cereal they would become soggy.  Relunctantly he would eat his cereal.

We have the same exchange for lunch.  Ian is content eating hotdogs and noodles everyday for lunch and dinner for that matter.  I explain to him that there are other things he will have to eat.

Dinner time is a whole new experience.  Ian, Imani, and my husband are usually outside while I am preparing dinner.  On occasion I will ask them what they want to eat.  Imani always says baked spaghetti.  You all already know what Ian wants.  Hotdogs and noodles!

Sunday was no different than any other day.  I cooked sliced steak marinated in lemon juice and soy sauce poured over a bed of rice with zucchini.  As soon as Ian came in and washed his hands and sat at the table he started complaining.

Ian- ugh, I do not like cucumbers.

Me- Those are not cucumbers, it’s zucchini.

Imani-I like zucchini.

Ian- Well, I do not like that either.

Husband- Yes you do.  You liked it when we went to Benihana.  You also ate it when Rhonda made it last week.

Ian- I do not remember eating it at Benihana.

Husband- You ate everything we ordered for you.

Ian- I do not remember that.

Ian starts pushing the zucchini to the side of his plate.  He then eats the steak.

Ian- Ugh, this meatloaf is hard.

Me- It’s steak.

Ian-I do not like staek.

Me- You ate it when we went to Texas Road House.  You also ate it when Grandma fixed it.

Silence for a while….

Ian-Yucky, yucky, yucky.

Husband- Ian you are going to eat your food.  If you have to sit here all night you will eat it.  ( I remember those exact words said from my mother’s mouth when I was a kid!)

Everyone finished eating before Ian.  One by one we got up from the table.  Usually we sit there and talk until everyone is done but I had enough of the sound effects coming from Ian.

Ian and Imani think snacks are things they receive if they eat all of their food.  Or things that you eat if you don’t want what is being served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Explaining the concept of a snack has left me with a headache plenty of times.

In time I hope the road to dinnertime with become less bumpy.