Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Creative Cooking

I have small children, and if you've ever been around small children when it's time to eat, you know why parents shove chicken fingers and fries in front their children at meal times. Especially when they are in public. My twins are no different. We regularly get them chicken fingers and fries when we eat out. At home, it's a different story, my wife and I try to provide good food choices and hope that they stop asking for marshmallows in their tacos (though one son ate four tacos that way -- a record for taco eating among my boys).

Our presented food options are regularly met with screams of "I don't want that!", "There are carrots on my plate! Get them off!", and "I want O's!" There are many derivations of the tornado-siren screams, but the bottom line is nearly always: give me something familiar that has lots of sugar in it. Sometimes we can't even get the kids to come to the table, and telling them the menu can be one of the easiest ways to get them to run upstairs to hide in their room and play with wooden trains. So we often simply tell them dinner is ready and they should come see it. This approach usually at least earns a drive-by viewing with the occasional incoherent siren scream. (I must admit to finding a silver lining when the twins refuse to come to dinner -- it tends to be much quieter and calmer when I'm eating.)

Some days are better than others, but the twins typically eat fairly well. So, when I cook, the pressure is on to find something they might eat and not make my eardrums split and tumble down my Eustachian tube into my throat.

Now I don't think I'm a bad cook, but I certainly do not have nearly the culinary talent of my wife or some of my foodie friends. Maybe I have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to cooking, but I get to eat well whenever my wife or foodie friends cook.

So tonight we were having leftover steak and my wife wanted mashed potatoes. I can make those, and I did. Despite needing a little more salt, they turned out pretty well, but that wasn't pinnacle of my culinary work for the evening. No. As I was plating the food for the boys so it could cool, I decided to make snowman mashed potatoes. With some artistic suggestions from the culinary expect of the house, I made a food creation that caught the twins attention. One was so pleased, he squealed like, well, like himself repeatedly making the whole experiment worthwhile. In fact, both twins he a second helping, as long as it was a snowman.

I do feel I can't leave out that the most likely reason they had a second helping was the snowman hat. Still, it made our evening. And yes, they looked more like badly formed Peeps that some granola-loving-thowback-hippied mom might make than snowmen, but they boys knew what they were right away. That's what matters.

Now, what is for breakfast tomorrow?

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