Quick update: Sorry for not writing anything these past few weeks. Our internet has been up and down intermittently (thanks, AT&T!) so it’s been tough to get anything that resembles a post going. Some people have even called/emailed to ask if I’ve had the baby! But no such luck. I am still freaking huge and ready to pop, but I’m due in just 13 days, so it could really be any minute now…
- As a parent who also happens to be a food and wine writer, there are few things that delight me more than watching my son eat well. And by “well” I don’t mean kale and kombucha. I mean with gusto, with appreciation, and with a sense of adventure.
To watch Seabass dig into a ripe tomato – brilliant red juice covering his collar, his elbows, his belly button – is to witness the divine. I have several friends whose kids won’t even look at anything that doesn’t come from a squeezy tube purchased at Costco. My younger brother went through a very long phase growing up in which he would eat nothing but reheated corn dogs. And Seabass’ own daddy, my beloved Jake, refused to eat both bread and tomatoes as a child, I’m told, instead preferring a diet of Dr. Pepper and Cool Ranch Doritos.
Seabass, thank God, isn’t all that thrilled with standard kid-pleasers like Kraft mac and cheese, hot dogs, or bologna. He eats what we eat with very few exceptions. Earlier this week, it was a budin azteca, complete with roasted poblano peppers, onions, spinach, queso fresco and black beans. Then it was grilled chicken paillards with nectarine chutney, grilled fennel with lemon, and barley with toasted cumin and mint. Last week, we had friends over for pizza and when someone offered him salad, he peered into the bowl and suggested that more tomatoes be added.
Part of Seabass’ food-awareness may come from the fact that I love to cook and that I let him sit on the counter to watch me do it every night. This ritual fills several important desires, namely Seabass’ desire to see EVERYTHING Mama is doing and my own desire to host a cooking show. It is a total win-win: I rattle on and on about the superiority of mincing garlic by hand to that of using a garlic press, and my audience is nearly always a captivated one. Plus, there is the occasional bite of cheese or opportunity to stir.
Don’t get me wrong: the kid enjoys a heaping bowl of cereal or PB&J sandwich. And I’m certain there are some foods he’d like more exposure to: maple syrup and juice come immediately to mind. (We recently visited an apple farm and tasted the fresh-pressed cider. It was slightly embarrassing how Seabass licked the inside of his Dixie cup and threatened to tear it at the seams to gain better access to any remaining molecules he may have missed.) But when he recognizes the difference between cous cous and quinoa, when he chooses to eat the roasted broccoli off his plate before anything else, when he requests more balsamic vinegar on his lettuce, I can’t help but beam with pride. It gives me hope that some day he’ll share an espresso with me, an IPA, or a pastis. That’s a day I look forward to with great anticipation.