Thursday, February 17, 2011

How We Lunch

Very recently, a reader asked me the trick to having kids who are not picky eaters. Well, I wish I could tell you that I had some big trick up my sleeve, but I don't.

My trick is, that I'm not picky at all.

There used to be three things that I really didn't care for: Sloppy Joes, green olives, and radishes.

Over the years, I've developed a more pleasant relationship with Joe, and I decided a few months ago to go on ahead and like green olives. (Cory's family eats them with wild abandon.)

So now I'm just down to the lonesome radish.

I would like to like them. They sure are pretty.

All of that to say, I like to eat, I like to cook and it was a strange priority to try to grow small people with welcoming palates.

If I serve it, they have to try it. No excuses.

Right now, Ruby is in a phase where she likes to pretend to be picky, but I took a page from my SIL's play-book and if she complains about what I serve, she has to go clean up all the toys by herself. Genius!!

Dinners are when the biggest fun happens.

Lunchtime is all about what's easiest. It's nothing fancy, and sometimes, it's not even that tasty, at least not to the over-5 crowd. I sometimes eat what the kids do, and sometimes I eat something a tad more...appetizing. I don't do chicken nuggets. But they do! And there's room for all of us, under this roof.

Here are some recent lunches:

(How I love thee, Pickled Beets!)

Don't let him fool you...

The alphabet noodles mixed with peas is one of his all-time faves.

And it's always a good day when I bust out the cafeteria trays.

These are identical to the trays I ate my lunch on for 12 years!

Thank you, Mrs. Benning.

I'm sorry I forgot my lunch money so often.

And while I've got your ear, serving the syrup from the giant cans of peaches and pears, in styrofoam cups, really can't count as "juice". But hey, we all make mistakes.

More peas! More kiwi!

It should be noted that this is not Siley lunching. This is Siley snacking.

I don't have photos of him lunching, because he is not a very well-managed luncher. He's a food-thrower and a bread-shredder and a sauce-smearer.

Once he starts throwing food, I tell him he's done eating and take him out of his high-chair.

He screams like no body's business.

I ignore him.

And then sometimes, like yesterday, while I'm in the kitchen getting more water, more milk, more turkey, a wash cloth or a moment of peace, he just climbs right back up and into his chair, and we repeat the entire scene.

At long last, after 27 trips to and from the kitchen, it's clean-up time.

Here's a tip, straight from me to you: Leave the crumbs on the floor for a while. Especially sticky stuff like noodles or rice. Just walk away and pretend that you don't notice. Pretend that it doesn't make your skin crawl. Come back an hour or so later and it'll be just dry enough to sweep right into the dust-pan without smearing all over your floors.

Do I sound like a woman who knows that of which I speak?

Well, we eat a lot of rice around here. What can I say.

So lay it on me, what's your go-to lunch?