Some things that you need to know about our family: Chris loves sports. I mean, really loves sports. Quite possibly the number one thing he misses about being in America is ESPN. When I was pregnant, the idea that our girls might pick up on my tragically un-athletic gene was a horror that was left unspoken for nine months. Happily, Lily and Lucy were able to put their old man’s mind at ease at their doljabi celebration where they each confirmed their propensity for sports by choosing soccer and basketball respectively. Coming from a family whose giftings are… elsewhere, shall we say, I sometimes chuckle about the high priority that sports hold in our daughters’ futures.
After a more thorough examination, however, I have to count myself guilty of a similar desire. It is entirely possible that I love food as much as Chris loves sports. I quite literally plan our vacations around countries known for their cuisine. We went to Vietnam a few years ago with the lone goal of drinking the coffee and eating the soup. And it was awesome. So in the same way that Chris wants our dear daughters to share in his love of athletics, I want them to love being in the kitchen and tantalizing their taste buds.
I shared earlier that this year was the one where I came into my own in the kitchen. I relearned my way around and started joyfully filling our bellies once again. Recently, I came to the conclusion that satisfying my and Chris’ culinary wanderlust wasn’t enough. I wanted my daughters to learn to appreciate new flavors and to eventually enjoy eating like I do. (Selfishly, I really just want someone to get as excited as I do when the local grocery store starts carrying nutmeg and then start scouring the internet for as many recipes as I can find that call for it.)
So, since the girls’ tiny palates are still in my hands, I decided to try some new recipes. A good friend of mine offered a toddler cookbook and I was off. Hummus, roasted red peppers, falafel, corn fritters, sautéed tofu, you name it and I was going to try it. I was amazed at how willing the girls were to try my new concoctions. Some recipes I put on the table fully expecting them to turn their noses up at (or projectile spit across the room). But, these little troopers have put their mouths to the task and have given most recipes a big BOGO thumbs up (or a “more” sign gesture, same thing pretty much).
So, for anyone who is interested, this is what we have discovered concerning the girls’ preferences so far:
Hummus: love it
Falafel: can’t get it in the mouth fast enough
Roasted red pepper pasta with tofu: hands down their favorite meal
Strawberries: won’t touch them
Olives: Lily, not so much; Lucy, loves them
Raw red pepper: Lily, definitely; Lucy, no
Kiwi: absolutely not
Sautéed tofu: usually the protein of choice
Salted seaweed (aka “kim” in Korean): by far their favorite snack
And so, there you have it. I never would have guessed that a small child would prefer seaweed to strawberries but I stand corrected. Wish us luck as we try to pass down our passions to our children and I wish you luck in the same endeavor. Here’s hoping our girls order something other than chicken fingers at restaurants and can actually learn to do a lay-up.