I love food! I’m one of those people who see eating as an adventure. A social event. An experience. Sweet or salty. Healthy or butter poached. Steaming hot or crisp and cool. Food intrigues and excites me. So, it is almost comical how my child is the PICKIEST EATER I KNOW!
I know what you’re thinking. She’s a toddler. Most toddlers are picky eaters. Yes, this is true and I’ve had many conversations with other frustrated moms about their child’s carb only diets. However, in my world, my daughter is the pickiest! Her diet consists of the 5 Ps: Pancakes, Peanut Butter, Pizza, Pretzels and Pasta. Our pediatrician, along with hundreds of articles online, has advised to just keep putting different food in front of her and one day she will start to experiment. This day, the day that my girl will one day look at the plate of food I put in front of her and place a vegetable or chicken or ANYTHING outside the 5 Ps in her little mouth, seems like a mythical day. It seems like a day that I can only dream about in mommy fairy tales.
I’ve tried it all. Sneaking butternut squash into macaroni and cheese. Shredding zucchini to put in pancakes. Adding grilled chicken to the pasta with butter. Sprinkling some new toppings on the pizza. All to no avail. I’ve read so many “50 Toddler Friendly Recipes for the Picky Eater” and have gotten so excited to try them. The results have been the same: A little hand pushing an untouched plate of food towards me. This had to be food karma for all the times (Before Child) I couldn’t understand why moms would cook different food for themselves and their children.
So last week, as I was preparing dinner, I again felt defeated as I strained the pasta for the little one’s meal. After tossing the pasta in some butter, I noticed at how sad it looked in her little pink bowl. So I placed some Garlic Lemon Soy String Beans I had made for my own dinner on the side. “Just continue to put it in front of her” was repeating in the back of my subconscious.
Then it happened. That day made of mommy fairy tales. No words were exchanged. No pleading to try the string beans. She simply forked a garlicky bean and put it in her mouth. I held my breath, waiting for the expected sour face followed by the spitting out of a bitten string bean. It never came. “Do you like it?” I asked. “It’s good.” she responded with a smile. It’s good? It’s good? IT’S GOOD!!!! I had to replay the moment in my head so I wouldn’t forget it.
I’ve tried a few other meals with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement. However, sadly, we were back to refusing to try anything new. The accomplishment I felt during “Baby’s Great String Bean Epiphany” was becoming a fleeting moment in time. But what I did gain from that moment was the reminder to never give up on hoping my girl will one day want to taste different things. A reminder that one day she will try another one of mommy’s concoctions. A reminder that one day she might share in my love of the excitement food can bring.
Until then, I may find myself with a lot of untouched plates and pouty lips. Until then, at least I have the 5Ps…..and maybe an occasional S(tring Bean).
Garlic Lemon Soy String Beans
1 lb of string beans
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tsp garlic (minced)
2 tbsp soy sauce
half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare beans by cutting off root ends and washing. Blanch them in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Place the beans in ice water and drain. Meanwhile, get a large sauté pan to high heat. Add the sesame oil and garlic. Garlic should brown in 30 seconds. Add the string beans and toss until all beans are coated. Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon juice on top and toss. Serve immediately.