I made macaroni and cheese the other night (you're welcome, kids), and Yancey actually pushed it away and ate only salad. He said, "Babe, don't be mad at me." What's a wife and mother to do? Be mad, of course! He's on the healthy firefighter kick, and when I unveiled soba with cabbage last night (you're welcome, Yancey), the kids whined and ate one ounce each. Except they didn't say, "Babe, don't be mad." Kids aren't known for being other-centric.
If you're hoping I have some brilliant solution to this conundrum, you'd better surf on over to another blog. Lots of you comment, wondering things like, "Do your kids eat all the brussel sprouts you make?" (No!) or "How did that collard green pizza go over with your kids?" (Horribly! ) They hate collard green pizza and brussel sprouts in fish sauce. So I don't have a solution, but I do have a few bits to say on the subject (surprise).
Expectations. I don't expect my kids to like cauliflower more than they like chicken nuggets. Of course they like chicken nuggets more. I don't make them feel bad about that, I don't take it personally, and I let them have chicken nuggets when I'm feeling extra nostalgic about them being teenagers one day.
Taking the long view. Yancey grew up on a diet of ground beef in all forms (tacos, meatloaf, shepherds pie, hamburgers) and an occasional iceberg lettuce salad. Now he's one of the most adventurous eaters I know. This gives me hope.
Going for exposure, not consumption. Whatever Yancey and I eat, I put some on Wyatt and Loretta's plates. They have to try it--if only just the tiniest little bite--and then they call fill up on rice or whatever other tasteless white thing happens to be around.
Serving something they'll go ape for at least once a week. Making pizza, potstickers and rice, or BLT's once a week buys me a lot of goodwill with my kids. And I draw from that bank account a lot more than they'd like. When Wyatt whines about soba and cabbage, I say, "Wyatt, I don't feel one bit sorry for you. We had pizza last night."
And if you decide only to please yourself, make these delicious, healthy noodles. And maybe eat them alone.
P.S. Another picture of Loretta I've been meaning to show off. She turns three this week, and I keep thinking about this time in 2007--pregnant; just finished with grad school and exhausted; waiting to start the next chapter of my life. She is simultaneously the biggest rascal and sweetest treasure in my life (even though she does complain about cabbage for dinner).
Soba with Yams and Cabbage
Serves 4. Make this Asian broth or this one. Keep it hot. In another large saucepan, boil some water. Peel 2 medium yams or one large one, and cut them into 1/2" cubes. Boil them until just tender, 4 or 5 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same water, boil 8 oz. soba (buckwheat) noodles until tender, 7 or 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Get out 4 large soup bowls. Arrange 1/2 c. thinly sliced cabbage, a handful of the cooked yams, a handful of snow peas, some thinly sliced mushrooms, and a mound of noodles in each. Pour hot broth over, and garnish with strips of toasted seaweed, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.