food


23
Sep 14

Veggie girl

That moment when you know your kid is just not YOU.

This weekend we were eating dinner and Lily was enthusiastically eating noodles and salad and I kept pushing her to try the chicken satay. She continued eating her noodles and salad. She finally looked at me, irritated, and pronounced, loudly and clear as anything, “I. HATE. MEAT.” And went back to eating the rest of her dinner.

: O

Wellllll….ok, then. Carry on. (Apparently she isn’t a meat-eater).


14
Mar 13

allergies

I wrote a whole long thing about this but when I re-read it, it made even me bored. And it’s about me and my kids and my life and I wrote it. So I erased it. I’ll sum up.

Anna is allergic (anaphylaxis) to walnuts and pecans. So….she can’t eat those. Eating those is very bad.

Lily started getting a skin rash that, as it turns out, is eczema. We had her tested and she is allergic to peanuts and eggs. So….she can’t eat those. Doc says it isn’t necessarily an anaphylactic allergy but, hey, who wants to test that out on a baby? We are told to avoid these for her and for me (since I’m breastfeeding). We will have her retested in a year and see if anything has changed. It only took a couple of days of her and I avoiding the allergens for her face to completely clear up. Crazy.

It’s kind of a bummer but that’s life. We’re pretty well used to Anna’s allergy, living with the epipen and the benadryl and the asking questions at restaurants and people’s houses and the avoiding of baked goods that we can’t verify.

We’re really interested in this article that Adam found. What would it be like to be able to effectively “cure” our kids’ allergies? Why are there so many more kids diagnosed with them? Is it because I ate too much or not enough of something when pregnant or breastfeeding? Is it because we introduced food too early or too late? It’s such a mystery.

I’m hoping that Lily’s allergies go away. From what I’ve read, we have a good chance that she will outgrow the egg allergy, at least, by the time she is 2 or 3 years old. Peanuts? Well, that’s more of a crapshoot. I can hope that she does, but there is no way of knowing whether it will get better or worse in the next few years. Until then….no PB for my baby girl. And no walnuts or pecans for my big girl. It is what it is.


10
Dec 12

First Foods

You know how with your first born, you are so totally idealistic and you have all these ideas and plans? Example: first foods. You will feed them only homemade and lovingly prepared organic-only homegrown garden fresh produce. You will not give them said food until they are 6 months old, and not a day older. And you will make a big event, with a special bib that you have commissioned from Etsy, one that says, “First Food!” and you will have the good camera charged and ready? And then, as it just so happens, your firstborn grabs a handful of Easter ham when she is around five months old and pops it in her mouth. And…ta-da! First food is ham!

You know? (Or…..maybe not. This is what happened with Anna, though).

Well, then the second born comes along and maybe you have some of the same dreams except maybe just a wee bit less involved but then…..your husband feeds the baby mashed potatoes at four months because she is fussing at a restaurant (for the record, Lily loved them) and then the big sister, two nights later, feeds the baby Hello Kitty red lip gloss (flavor questionable, though it is labeled “cherry flavored”) while she is in the bathtub? You know?

Or….maybe not, again. Maybe this is just me.


23
Jun 12

Whiny whine whine

I haven’t blogged since Tuesday because I every time I think about what I would write about, it sounds so incredibly whiny in my head and GOD don’t you just hate whiny people? I am annoying myself.

Let’s start with something positive. I am a beautiful goddess of a woman in full bloom, carrying a baby child to full term. I am nurturing a living human being in my body. I am ecstatic at the thought of holding a tiny, snuggly little wiggle worm in my arms, of wrapping a small body in a swaddling blanket, of clothing a wee munchkin in wee adorable clothes and teensy tiny baby socks (I bought some baby socks yesterday and SQUEAL! they are they cutest most adorablest things ever in the world SO TINY!) but probably one of the biggest reasons that I am so so so so so anxiously excited to meet this baby I’m lugging around like a heavy, weighted basketball (maybe more like a medicine ball?) stapled to my belly (oops, see, whiny? Sorry, it just slipped out) is that OHMYGOD I am so sick. So so so so so so sick. Like first trimester morning sickness but actually kind of worse because of this most bizarre phantom smell and taste thing that follows me around, all day and all night. I am hungry, but I am sick. This is the time where I am supposed to be allowed to gorge myself on delicious food items, right? Now, at the very end where I can just throw caution to the wind, thank goodness for breastfeeding being a fantastic calorie burner for afterwards, and tell myself and everyone else that I’m just helping Baby to “beef up!!!” Alas, sadly, not so much. Instead (sorry, major whine ahead), all day long, I walk around with bile rising up into my mouth, starving and unhappy. When I succumb to food (Must! Eat! So! Hungry!) it is all so disgusting that I’m not sure that it’s much better (nausea is no better, that’s for sure) but I know I do have to eat. At first bland foods were ok but now it is every single food item known to man. And even some items that are not edible (not that I would eat them), but everything seems to have a noxious smell, some things more strongly smelling than others (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, flowers, etc). This is atrocious and no good way to live.

Thursday I was feeling particularly depressed about this. It is so bizarre to obtain absolutely no pleasure from food. Even when we aren’t necessarily thinking about, I realize now, even when we think we are just eating “because we are hungry,” there is an element of hedonistic delight in savoring morsels of food. The flavors (sweet, salty, and all the rest) delighting our mouth. Right now, everything tastes to me like rancid oil or spoiled meat or something else that should most definitely NOT be put in the mouth. I am constantly asking Adam or Anna, “are you sure this food is ok? Does it smell/taste ok to you?” because it goes against my inner biology to put food that tastes this nasty into my body–it feels worrisome, like it will hurt me, cause me to vomit. They both look at me, wide-eyed. “It’s fine!” the assure me. I’m still suspicious.

I’m struggling here. I want Baby to stay in as long as s/he needs to, in order that Baby grows strong and big enough but I am so anxious for this food thing to resolve. I’m miserable.

I’m happy to be pregnant. I’m excited to have this Baby. But, DAMN, I just feel so awful.

Sorry for the whine. That’s just how it is around here right now, I guess.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

My doctor and my midwives tell me to just eat whatever I am able to stomach. To eat a protein smoothie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I have to. I’m trying.

I’m 35 weeks pregnant. Only five more weeks until my due date. Only two more weeks until I am full term. I delivered Anna at 38 weeks and a couple of days (2 or 3?) so I am kind of hoping in my head that that means that I won’t have to go another full five weeks or more. Three I suppose I can handle (???? can I????? Well, it sounds better than five plus, I suppose).

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Breathe in (ugh, there’s that smell again), breathe out (try not to vomit into my mouth). I can do this. I am a brave, glorious goddess.


9
Jun 12

Food Aversions

I’ve had cravings during this pregnancy–nothing too off-the-wall crazy but I’ll just get it in my head that I absolutely NEED to eat meatballs from Petrini’s or whatever–but this new pregnancy food thing I’ve got going on is really weird. I don’t remember having this at all when pregnant with Anna (except for first trimester food aversions, but that was a general nausea kind of a thing, not so specific as this time round, and certainly not so late in the game).

For whatever reason, I cannot stand the taste, the smell, the sight, nay, even the idea of peanuts butter. Or roasted peanuts. Or things that, though seemingly unrelated, still bear some kind resemblance to peanut butter/roasted peanuts. Things that have a (at least to my crazy super sensitive sniffer) a whiff of a slight smell that sort of seems “peanut-ish.” Today that included chocolate ice cream (roasted cacao beans, perhaps?), chocolate chip cookies (that I made myself, just my standard recipe, nothing crazy in them and definitely no peanuts or peanut butter!), and roasted garlic (??????).

I’ll be walking around somewhere and I’ll catch the scent and it is enough to have me dry heaving and wishing for escape. I am having nightmares of the smell. I keep trying to force myself to eat bites of things but the moment it hits my mouth it is like it tastes…rancid or something. It definitely does not taste remotely like anything that I would like to eat or swallow.

Will this go away? I sure hope so because it is kind of a downer when I can’t even fix my child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without holding my breath and trying not to look. I’ve never in my life felt so strongly anti-food as right now. I’m one of the least picky eaters that I know–I seriously will eat (at least try anything and I’ll even eat foods that aren’t necessarily my favorite, such as eggplant and raw oysters, just because they are there), so this is just plain weird.

I’m hoping that this will pass after baby is delivered, that it is some bizarre hormonal thing that will resolve after the birth because the alternative is just….shudder…I can’t fathom a world in which this smell will continue to haunt me the rest of my life. That’s just not right. Stupid peanuts.


5
Mar 12

A first time for everything

Anna’s first happy meal. We are not frequenters of McDonald’s. Adam does like their soft serve ice cream but this is reserved for road trips. For some strange reason, I decided that it was about time I opened her eyes to the wonders of the Happy meal. It seemed so odd that she hadn’t had this, an icon of childhood food. We eat healthy 98% of the time, surely these chicken mcnuggets won’t kill her or lead her down the road of perdition or into obesity or high cholesterol or heart disease or or or any of the other evils that I think fast food really doesn’t help with (?). It’s not like me to spring for things like this, but, for once, I threw caution to the wind and just bought her the damned thing. Not that I’m going to make a habit of it or anything. Not even if she begs me for another Barbie toy (she dearly loves the toy that came with the meal). Is it possible that mediocre greasy food and a crappy little piece of plastic in a greasy bag could bring such joy to this face?

P.S. Now Happy meals come with apple slices! I don’t remember THAT. Though I did have to pay extra to get a milk instead of a soda with this.


17
Jan 12

It ain’t easy but at least it’s fresh

I (genuinely!) like that we make almost everything in our house “from scratch.” From breads to sauces to desserts….it’s just the way we do things around here. But tonight, as I wearily chopped onions to make a tomato sauce to go with our Chicken Parmigiana, I thought to myself, damn…I really wish I had a jar of Ragu!*

*This post is guaranteed to make my lovely husband’s head hurt. It would make him cry to see a jar of cheapie pasta sauce sitting in our pantry, when “it’s so easy to make it ourselves! And better!” I know, Honey. I know. I’m just so tired.


10
Jul 11

Coffee

This is all, presumably, a history of a beverage. But it is also a history of my life. It is a history of the ways in which we become the person that we are on our way of becoming. It is about associations, at the deepest level, and it is about doing the things that we never thought that we’d do.

**********
The smell of coffee takes me back to my childhood in the way that smells can do that, in so instantaneous an association that I’ve even found myself feeling childlike while at a work meeting (several years ago, this, obviously). Coffee equals Dad. Nothing else to it. No matter that Adam has taken to drinking espresso and/or cappuccino several times a week now that he has his fancy schmancy espresso machine. No matter that my mother-in-law is a coffee drinker, that several of my best friends are coffee drinkers. Coffee still is the smell of my dad; simple and true.

I had a brief flirtation with coffee drinking, myself, when in college. I had a little one cup drip coffee maker and it came in handy those nights when I had to write an 8-10 page paper summarizing research on social attraction or study the history of the Christian church in America (I took a whole class on this last one and….honestly don’t remember much of anything, though I pulled an A in the class. Lots of cramming, very little long-term retention). I never liked the flavor of coffee, though. It was all about the sugar (hmmm, perhaps part of the reason I gained the prototypical Freshman 15 over the course of my college career?) and its stay-awake powers. I dropped my coffee drinking once I got my B.A. and moved on to tea drinking. Somehow, even with the greater pressures of grad school, I was able to survive on green and herbal teas (I didn’t really even drink black tea at that time) and the sharpness of mind that comes when you at least attempt to get a good night’s sleep.

I got my M.A., we moved back to Santa Barbara, and still I drank tea. Black teas, now; expensive and fancy black teas imported from France. I held strong to my tea drinking, even when on a trip to Italy. Oh, sure, I drank sips of Adam’s cappuccino (“You HAVE to taste this, Babe!” he would say, and I would oblige, wrinkling up my nose and murmuring, “Oh, sure, that’s great,” before I would order “Un te, per favore”). I continued to insist that I didn’t like coffee, not really. Even through a second trip to Italy (“No thanks,” I would say. “I don’t really care for it.” “Come ON!” Adam would insist, almost fanatically, “This coffee is different!”). And, in the end, of course, he was right. It wasn’t that I didn’t like coffee. It was that I didn’t like bad coffee. I didn’t like bitter coffee. I didn’t like burnt coffee. I didn’t like coffee that had been sitting in the pot for hours at the diner.

I started out tentatively. I ordered a cafe noisette when in Paris with my Mom, because I had on my Life List “drink coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris” and, by golly, I was going to do that. “Wow,” I thought to myself. “This is actually pretty good!” Soon thereafter, we went to Spain and, at first to combat jet lag, and then to feel like one of the grownups (Adam, Carol, and Steve all drank it every morning, after all), I ordered cafe con leche and, lo and behold, I liked it. I liked it so much that I got home and I still wanted it. I weaned myself back to tea, but every time Adam would fire up the espresso machine, I would sidle up to him, tell him how much I love him–oh, and pretty please, can you make me a cappuccino, too?

For my birthday, Adam and Anna picked me out the sweetest little French press you’ve ever seen. Anna literally coos to it, “Aren’t you the cutest little coffee maker ever?” And it really is.

I can now have my perfect little cup of coffee (two scoops beans that I grind just before putting them into the press, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4-1/2 cup milk, let grounds sit for four minutes before plunging and straining) any day I want it. It may not be everyday (I still have some of this amazing tea that I picked up in Paris, after all), but when I pour myself a cup, fresh and hot, to savor in the morning, I am pouring myself more than just a beverage. I am pouring myself a reminder of my childhood, I am pouring myself my stimulant of choice from my college years, I am pouring myself a bit of the excitement and beauty that I have found in Europe. I am entering into an adult world, and yet, I can still feel like a child, wrinkling my nose at the smells on Daddy’s breath.


11
Jun 11

Daddy-Daughter Time

Almost every weekend, mid-afternoon, Adam will ask Anna if she wants to go help him run an errand. Usually there is an actual errand (hardware store, the office, grocery store, etc) to run, but I also know that the real reason for the errand is a mid-afternoon trip to McConnell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

They left a while ago–like a half hour ago–today. Long enough that I know that this supposed “quick trip to pick up the laptop at the office” is actually that PLUS ice cream.

The funny thing about this is that, every single time, Anna will protest having to go on an errand. “I don’t WANT to go to Daddy’s office!” she wailed today. Adam gives her That Look and asks her what else they might do, trailing off before he finishes, giving me a pointed look and pretending that they need to be furtive and keep this from Mommy.

Her eyes wide, she eventually gets it, and readily assents. And off they go, for some bonding over some sweet, cold goodness. I rarely get the invite, but, then again, I am the outsider to this ritual. I like ice cream–sure, who doesn’t?–but I would rather have a cookie. And I am not a part of this ritual. This is about them, and I love that.


7
Jun 11

Chocolate and Churros

Adam already blogged about this, but that was more of a picture post and I wanted to write some words to round it out. We read about this place online and in more than one guidebook and it was in our top 5 list of Things To Do in Madrid (yes, we–Adam would never be this anal– I really did make such a list). When we showed up, I thought….hmmm…weird….down an alley, a deserted-looking alley…how good can this place really be?

And then we rounded the corner and saw the line and peered around the corner as we ordered and…

O. M. G.

Yes.

The view on the way out was more what I had expected. Madrilenos stuffed into every available chair, dipping, crunching, talking, sipping.

The chocolate is thick, almost like a hot chocolate pudding. The churros are only lightly sweetened and don’t have the thick coating of cinnamon and sugar that I know from fairs and carnivals in the U.S. In fact, they bear only a slight resemblance to our churros back in the states. Instead of being long sticks, they are very short curves cut from one huge curling mass of dough.

I could eat this stuff all day. It’s right up there with waffles. Yes, that’s right, folks, this self-proclaimed Queen of Waffles admits it: These Is Good.

Go. Try. You must.

Anna's patented two-handed churro dipping


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