A week’s worth of pinto beans were bubbling on the stove as I chatted to my sister about what might be causing Max’s <redacted out of respect for your gag reflex> diaper situation. By the end of the call, we agreed that a.) I should remove legumes from my diet to see if that helps, b.) Tobias’ pinto bean consumption was about to skyrocket, and c.) it’s super awesome to have a sister who wants to know the details of your kid’s poop.
I must have been feeling both virtuous and hungry when I made the grocery order earlier this week: the produce boxes arrived this morning bursting with sun-sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, mountain peaches, and figs. Items in the box that are still part of my diet as of today’s 4 pm doctor’s appointment: figs. Max’s new temporary pediatrician says that it’s not a good idea to eat stone fruits if you want your little not-thriver to thrive. It was poor timing, just as we’re building to the peak of stone fruit season, but it’s not a disaster. Let me tell you what a disaster is. A disaster is me making lunch for Frida’s pre-pre-pre-K today and deciding to add a pound of turnips to an otherwise unobjectionable lentil stew. Spoons hit stew and stew hit mouths and then… chaos. As several kids literally went running for the door, my daughter among them, one mother explained that turnips are too different for children and that most adults also do not enjoy them. I put on my game face and quickly made some date-sweetened oatmeal, which was a HUGE hit (relatively speaking.) Other lunches I have made for these kids: carrot-raisin-cheese empanadas, vegetable pie on a polenta crust, and a Spanish tortilla using sweet potatoes and some excellent smoked paprika. Number of said kid meals enjoyed by anyone besides a little girl named Martha (who is in a growth spurt and will eat anything): 0.
Next time, I’ll be making fucking macaroni and fucking cheese and it will be fucking awesome. And even if I have a leftover smidge of blue cheese, or some anchovies that might lend a nice umami note, or some chia seeds for bulk and digestive regularity, I will not add them. I will ask Bruno for his most kid-friendly cheese, probably something in a young Gouda, and I will limit the seasonings to a single bay leaf. I may allow myself the addition of a few florets of lightly steamed broccoli, but that’s it. Well, maybe a few peas. And a scattering of diced red pepper, for color. And maybe some tuna, for protein? Mmm, and some rye breadcrumbs on top, they go well with bland cheese and tuna… No! No, Betsy, constrain yourself. A simple, straightforward dish of béchamel-based cheese sauce atop overcooked macaroni, presented in an elegant yet functional deep blue enamel baking tray, with an abundance of slightly overripe stone fruit for dessert. Yes. Victory will be mine.
p.s. why, yes, I have started reading Game of Thrones! Phrases like ‘whisper of silk’ and ‘rippling leather’ and ‘queen’s stunted brother’ keep running into each other in my head. I’m referring to doing laundry as ‘leading my banners into war’. It helps.
p.p.s a soy-dairy-and egg-white-free recipe for the weekend: Banh Mi. Sandwiches made of spicy little pork meatballs on a bed of cilantro and spicy mayo, topped with a pickled carrot slaw. Delicious, and picnic-ready! I used kohlrabi in the slaw with the carrots; it was crunchy and very tasty. If you’re making this for a group of ten 2-year-olds, double the recipe, leave the sriracha out of the mayo, and give yourself a good slap in the face before making fish sticks instead.