When I ask you a question, you always come through. Holey, moley. And when you take those few minutes in your day today to zone out and procrastinate on the internet (Who me? Procrastinate on the internet? NEVER!)–read through the comments from the last post. Really, really beautiful, guys. I’m walking into this day with a good kick of inspiration. Thank you for that.
The winner of Laurie Colwin’s books is Suzanne Hasty. Suzanne, I think you’re going to love these. Just send me your address and I’ll get them out to you. I feel a little tingly at the prospect of sending Laurie out to someone who has never seen her books–I can’t be held responsible for what happens or if you stay up all night cooking.
Now for a story that ends with a snack.
In the year before I went to college, I worked in a coffee shop here in my town. There was a mother and daughter who came in a lot after school, and every time, the mother would buy the daughter a cookie. We had maybe 4 or 5 kinds of cookies, all in jars lined up on the counter. So the mom would tell the little girl to choose a cookie, and when she did, her mom would always have the same response.
“Are you sure?”
The little girl would nod her head, and then her mom would ask her again, “Are you really sure?”
This drove me nuts. And at the time, I thought that she was such a horrible parent! I went on and on in my head as I steamed the milk for the mom’s cappuccino about teaching children to trust their instincts and to just let them make a decision and know what they want. I said that when I had children, I would never do that to them.
Of course, like all the things I said I would never do, I DO do that to them, sometimes. Because when you’re about to shell out precious dollars for a cookie, and your child chooses a peanut butter cookie even though you know she hates peanut butter cookies, and you can see what’s coming, which is exactly one uneaten peanut butter cookie and one very unhappy child who is begging (maybe even with some crying if your lucky) you to buy her another cookie, because she didn’t realize that a peanut butter cookie would actually taste like peanuts, then sometimes you can’t help but ask, “Are you sure?”
I get that now. I’m sorry, cappuccino-drinking-mom who got my stink eye and silent judgement. Please forgive me. I’m sure you were doing your best, and that was good enough.
However, even though I was eighteen and ages (okay, a few years) away from being a parent, I think I had the right overall idea. I still feel that if we can support our children in the work of learning to close their eyes and imagine just what they want to eat, then we are giving them a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives. I want my girls to be able to trust food, and to able to trust that own instincts and desires will lead them in the right direction.
If you’ve been with me for a bit, you might now that I’ve got one picky eater at the table. Her list of preferred foods is short, and most of it is white. It goes something like this: bread, crackers, noodles, cheese, and yogurt. If there is a dessert in the mix to use as a bribe (did I say that out loud?), we can expand the list to steamed kale, carrot sticks, avocado, and salad with no dressing.
Most of the time, I’m good and laid-back about this. Rosie’s healthy, she’s not wasting away, and she gets sick less than any of us. But lately, since that stomach bug hit in the winter,, Rosie has been complaining about her tummy.
This weekend, when I was at work (I still make cappuccinos one day a week, just at a different coffee shop now), Rosie told Joey that she wanted to stop eating wheat. She said that she thought wheat was making her stomach hurt.
Rosie, my wheat-eating picky eater, has decided to go wheat free.
I trust that she knows what she needs. And so I’m trying to make sure that she has lots of good treats to expand her list of preferred foods now that so many of them are off limits. We’ll try this for a few weeks, and we’ll see how the tummy’s doing. I seem to have passed down my tendency of putting stress into my tummy (and getting a stomach ache from it), so it seems possible that just Rosie’s own act of deciding what she needs might help the tummy, too. We’ll see.
This is fruit tapioca, a brilliant invention of my friend Janet (add this blog to your list, friends–you won’t regret it!) I first had fruit tapioca when my own belly was in recovery after an emergency appendectomy a few years back. Janet brought me a whole spread of comforting foods and a fancy Italian food magazine to occupy me when I was stuck in bed, and this is the thing I remember most. It comes together quickly, and this week I’ve been putting a little jar of fruit tapioca into lunchboxes and getting some serious love for it. I find it satisfies some deep craving in me too–it’s wellness food and a treat at once, kind of like the best jello (if you’re a jello sort of person, which I most definitely am).
(from raisinporpoise.com, find the original recipe here)
2/3 cup small pearl tapioca
3/4 cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen chopped fruit
3 cups fruit juice
2-4 tablespoons honey, to taste
1. Combine the tapioca and water in a medium saucepan and let sit for about 30 minutes.
2. Add the fruit, juice, and honey and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until cool.
(A note on flavors: obviously, you can go to town here. The above photo is with frozen blueberries and cranberry juice, which is lovely. Peach juice and peaches are great too. This is a fabulous way to use up any fruit you might have languishing in the freezer, or a bottle of juice in the pantry that no one really wants to drink (in my house, that’s apple juice left over from a party). The fruit and the tapioca take over and create a whole new product that is much better than its individual parts.)