Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Throw Away The Baby Food Jars!

I have a question. How does a baby food company take yummy veggies like zucchini, chick peas, carrots and spinach and turn them into a what looks like elmer's glue tinted with a nasty dull shade of green and tastes...well...also like elmer's glue tinted with green. Summer vegetables are the saddest of all. Reminiscent of not a warm summer day of lunches full of crisp vegetables that can make delicious salads but tasting instead like the bark of a tree and colored like bleached out dirt.

The squashes and fruit are all right given their inherent sweetness but the rest of the jarred food...ugh.

Now I am no expert but a little flavor on the tongue might go a long way toward enhancing a vegetable. Is it any wonder therefore that kids hate their veggies in America? I think its because no one deigns to even add salt to them before presenting them in their sad over boiled state before a child.

A Korean woman once wondered aloud why kids hate spinach in this country when while growing up in Korea she often asked her mother to make it as she always did--sauteed with garlic, drizzled with sesame oil and a smattering of sesame seeds. Yum!

My firm belief is that my older son eats like a gourmet because I treated him like one from the start. I only fed him food, mashed up at first of course but food nonetheless that I liked the taste of. I flavored mashed rice and lentils with a little cumin or garlic, some salt for God's sake, some garam masala. He in turn rejected all jarred food given its utter lack of taste but ate all of my concoctions in a hurry.

Here we moan that kids don't get their veggies except in the form of French fries. But in order to make vegetables taste good to them they ought to be not over cooked and well seasoned. The experts worry that adding salt and spice to baby food might get them used to that. Well, duh. If they hate their veg, they will careen fast towards fast foods and get over-sugared and over-salted with those anyway. What's the trouble if they eat a ton of broccoli if it is sauteed in garlic and flavored with salt. It's like being penny wise and pound foolish.

And I have the audacity to even write this blog because my second son too eats food that is well flavored. Be it zucchini mush or broccoli or spinach. If it has a little spice to it (not heat, spices such a cumin, coriander etc), he gobbles it up. The same vegetable made interesting he enjoys, when its a tasteless mush, he rejects it. Simple logic no?

My rule--if it tastes good to me it just might taste good to them.

Hasn't failed me twice. I must be on to something. And it has lasted. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I might be the only mother in the country whose five year old son hasn't been to a McDonald's and never will. But let me not get started on that theory--the theory being never to visit a fast food restaurant (how dare they call themselves restaurants) and to never order food for your kid from the kids' menu. The kids menus are an insult, an aberration.

Treat a kid like a gourmet and chances are he will become one.

Either my theories are sound or I'm just very lucky. Either way I'll take it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Endings

I am sick and tired of showing our house. It's been on the market since April. Fifty people saw it. And each time there was a showing it meant cleaning the place to a pristine state and leaving until the people showed up, saw and left.

No takers.

Two weeks ago, we decided to put it to rent. Even at the bargain basement price we were offering it at no one wanted it and we had had enough of giving away our beautiful (yes, yes I know beauty lies in the eye of the householder) home.

Now we have showings to rent. At least a pristine state of house isn't needed since we will be the boss of whomever "chooses" or gets chosen to rent the place. As a result I am getting more and more lax about what I will and won't clean up. Papers on the desk...not sensitive? Leave 'em be. Dishes in the sink? Oh all right I'll at least load them into the dishwasher.
With an infant, an active five year old and oodles of work left to do before we leave for India, a showing, albeit necessary, has become a pain in the behind.

And I think on some super tired week ends when I ache for a nap and someone wants to see the house at a ridiculous 2:30 pm...oh I wish we could have a happy ending to our life here in the states.

I wish the house had sold at a nice price, I wish I could leave this country with a small publishing contract. I wish I could have made a success of one of my businesses.

A happy ending. I wish. I wish, I wish.

But then I look at my family. Today I will have survived yet another birthday. I am healthier than I have ever been. More active than I have ever been. Wiser. Less cynical. Less angry. Less anxious. Bolder and fuller of sauce than ever before. The possibilities are, despite all my failures, still endless in my mind.

Which must mean there is nothing to be sad about.

Truth is I am happy. We are happy.

Pat, closed happy endings, I tell myself, are for movies.

In real life, perhaps, a not sad ending is perhaps the happiest ending of all.