When my girls were babies I made a bargain with myself on their behalf. I figured that if I made sure that I always made them food that was both tasty and nutritious, they could at least eat the damn stuff! And so they ate everything we did. Roast dinner, curry, tagine, stew, chilli, salad, every kind of raw or cooked vegetable, fish, meat, egg dish, smoothie; their pudgy little hands shovelled it in their mouths. And if they didn’t there was no alternative.
It’s got to be said, daughter number one found this somewhat tricky at times. She has an amazingly sensitive palette and stronger flavours challenged her. While daughter number two crammed cubes of medium rare beef, strips of raw pepper or fried mushroom into her gummy mouth, my then three year old would put her head in her hands and wait out the mealtime. Man those times were hard! But I would do it all again because despite grave warnings from friends that I would stress my girls into early eating disorders there is nothing that I can’t serve up to my pre-teens!
Yes there is some bargaining, “you can leave x as long as you finish y” but we all look forward to the half-an-hour twice-a-day mealtimes that we sit around the table. They set and clear the table, and increasingly prepare parts of the meal. Their palettes easily pick out and identify particular herbs and spices, and we will often discuss how a dish could be improved for next time (I would like to point out here that mealtime discussions are in no way limited to food! How tedious would that be?!)
My two girls also know why we, as a family, eat significantly more fat and protein than others, and why we might not scrape every last scrap of mud off our carrots. They’re on board with the fact that our food bill overshadows, well, every other bill we pay, and they are proud of the fact that they don’t need any meal dumbed down for them. Hot curry, medium rare steak, 85% chocolate, unsweetened yoghurt, a tiny cup of espresso, a taste of wine? No problem! They also fully appreciate that our food choices give them boundless energy, sound sleep and bodies that allow them to take on physical challenges that not all their peers would attempt. But most importantly, they absolutely love eating!
But, bodacious blog buddies, I need your help! I recently added a pack of liver to my weekly Riverford organic delivery order for it’s stellar health benefits. And I’ve been serving it up as me and my husband love it, chopped and sprinkled with seasoned, gluten-free flour before being flash fried, lightly doused in balsamic vinegar; added to a bowl of caramelised onion, fried courgettes, pepper and bacon; and topped with chopped hard boiled egg and parsley. I am literally salivating as I type these words out! But sadly my girls are not loving this meal. And this does not sit well with me because food should be loved if it is to be eaten regularly. So please throw ideas at me! Tell me your favourite ways to make liver eating a pleasure rather than a chore. Help me people!