Thursday, November 26, 2009
It's the most wonderful meal of the year
I love crispy, buttered turkey skin, sweet potatoes whipped with more butter and topped with melting marshmallows, pies, cakes, cookies (all made with butter) and an over-indulgence of cheeses and charcuterie to nibble on as we wait for cider to mull. Yum!
My kids hate it.
Every year I try to ply them with sweet potatoes with a high marshmallow to potato ratio and they pick at it like I've given them collard greens. They don't like pumpkin pie, they won't touch stuffing, and when I point out how moist the turkey is I get asked, "Can I have ketchup?"
Apparently, if it's not smothered in ketchup, laden with sodium, sprinkled with colored sugar or artistically crafted into the shape of a dinosaur, it's "gross".
They didn't start out this way. I did everything "right" to make them good eaters. I gave them vegetables before they ever had fruit. I pushed roasted chicken, lasagna and made smiling yummy faces as they sucked down creamed spinach. I thought it was working.
But somewhere along the way, they decided there to boycott my efforts. I blame myself. As they slowly limited their intake of "healthy" food, I made "accommodations." They didn't want steak, so I made hamburgers, they didn't like lasagna, so I gave them plain pasta, they didn't want grilled fish, so I gave them fried fish sticks. They rewarded me by cleaning their plates and even asking for seconds. Success! Or, so I thought.
When I was little, my mother cooked things like chicken croquettes, tuna casserole and liver. We ate what we were given and we didn't complain. Okay, we complained, but we got spanked for it. Totally not worth it.
This is doubly frustrating because I love to cook - and I'm really good at it. I've spent hours making homemade meatballs, lamb chops and roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary. I tell them that my cooking is filled with "love." "Can you taste the love?" I've actually said this to them - What an idiot.
My point is that I've noticed parents provide children with options and every time they sit down to a meal we think is wonderful and delicious, they believe there is a better alternative out there - if only they hold out.
Well, tomorrow I head over to my sisters and we'll spend the whole day cooking amazing dishes that fill the air with the promise of the most delicious meal of the year. (See Pumpkin Trifle above). I will expose my children once again to the favorites of my childhood. And they'll resist. I'll say "It's delicious - try it!" and they'll respond by taking the teeniest, tiniest pinpoint-sized glob on one prong of their fork and they'll extend their tongue toward it like contact will cause electrocution. If they go back for a second "lick", I'll know they like it. I'll dangle cookies in front of them to bribe them to taste it all in hopes that at least one dish will bring an enthusiastic response. And maybe, just maybe, one will.
But just in case, I'll be packing some dinosaur chicken nuggets.