Meet The Team!
I have always loved trying new combinations of food. I am the person you wrinkle your nose at and say “are you actually going to mix those four things together......EW”! Sometimes, the results are amazing! Sometimes, they are not…
This is not a new habit of mine. (Note from my third grade self: peanut butter, ketchup, and celery on white bread do not make for a good tasting sandwich!!!).
You live and you learn!
Luckily for me, I have a panel of patient (most of the time) taste testers. They are as follows:
(Shout out to @nbcthisisus!)
Mr. Wonderful and I have been blissfully married for many years! He has put up with loads of my strange concoctions. He and I are basically Mr. and Mrs. Jack Spratt. He metaphorically eats no fat while I eat no lean. Vanilla is his default favorite flavor - I eat chocolate. He prefers everything from hamburgers to Salmon well done. I don’t really like red meat, and as for fish, I say go raw or go home! When it comes to pizza, he eats the saucy part and I gladly devour the crust. You get the picture…
Number One enjoys cooking (much more than I do, actually) and has picked up on my habit of trying unlikely food combos. She is very inventive and bold with her pairings, but, she is easily offended if you comment on how gross it looks. She has yet to find a food that she feels is not somehow improved by adding hot sauce. Her mashups can give me heartburn from across the room.
When she was born I decided I was going to be one of those parents who put all sorts of adult-like food in front of my kids and eventually they would learn to like them all. That is until one day Mr. Wonderful Sr. (my Father-in-law, to whom I just cannot say no) was over for dinner. Number One announced the moment dinner arrived at the table that she did not like what was being served. I was opening my mouth to tell her to find something on the table to eat and that trying new food is good when Mr. Wonderful Sr. said “don’t worry, Mommy will make you something you like more” And just like that all of my good parenting intentions flew out the window.
Number Two has picked up on my taste for chocolate! However, in general, he is not much of an adventurous eater. He was one of those little kids who ate mostly white foods (Mac and cheese, popcorn, rice etc...). As a little guy, he did not eat any vegetables. This was a struggle for a mother who read too much about how important vegetables are.
When he was four I decided to put my foot down and told him he could not leave the table until he ate one baby carrot. While thinking this over, he devoured a plateful of spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce. After mustering up some courage, he looked at me and picked up the dreaded baby carrot. I nodded encouragingly. He slowly and begrudgingly began to eat. Each bite registering on his face how I would imagine the taste of ammonia would register on someone’s face.
Finally, he managed to eat the entire tiny orange stick. I waited for a reaction, and seconds later I got one! His stomach emptied itself of red sauce, spaghetti, meatballs and one tiny carrot - projectile style. It was on the walls, all over him, all over me, all over the table and all over the floor. Needless to say the only one who learned a lesson that day was me. I did not serve him another vegetable for many many years. And even then, no carrots!
Number Three is the typical third child when it comes to food (and most other things!). I have no memory of what (or if!) she ate as a little kid. Who had time to focus on that?? I was too busy making sure Mr. Wonderful’s dinner stayed in the oven 10 minutes longer than everyone else’s, that Number One had different types of hot sauce to cover every different need, and cleaning old spots of red sauce off of every nook and cranny in the kitchen courtesy of Number Two.
I do remember the day I discovered the magic - the secret ingredient to Number Three - LOLLIPOPS! A lollipop was the answer to my prayers. It’s how I got through every rough situation, every stressful trip to the food market, every school play and sporting event requiring her to sit still and be quiet. I bought them by the truckload and I rationalized. I only bought the small ones I told myself (@dumdums). They’re only baby teeth after all…. I repeated to anyone who would listen. I am not sure if I am to blame, but to this day Number Three has quite a sweet tooth. Everything sticky, chewy or gummy and sweet. You name it she loves it!
Reading the above, you can clearly see how the path to hell (and slow cookers) is paved with good intentions! How else can one human satisfy five very different eaters and still serve a meal that remains hot from before the first diner leaves for an early evening activity until after the last one returns home from a late study group....all while driving carpool?