When Iris was a baby and a toddler, she was the best eater imaginable. She was breastfed to begin with, and when she was an older baby, we carried a little food mill around with us which would convert whatever we were eating into baby food. [Most people feed their children baby food from the store, which smells, looks and (probably) tastes inferior to what the parents are eating. There's a perception that you either buy unblemished organic produce and painstakingly cook, blend and freeze homemade baby food in a nightmare of work, or you conveniently buy the prefab, vile-looking baby foods, but what a truly lazy but yet gourmet parent does is shlep a tiny foodmill about, rendering whatever fabulous food she is eating into baby form]. She grew up loving risottos, frittatas, and all manner of vegetable. The only food she rejected was endive, which was noteworthy, and somewhat understandable, given the bitter flavor.
Then at age five, suddenly she turned into a food fuss. "Green food is not good for me", she said, picking the fresh spinach off the same yuppie pizza she'd devoured before on countless occasions.
Lola was a food fuss from the day one. Later I learned that this was part of her speech problem: children with severe apraxia have difficulty controlling the muscles of their mouths, and this affects chewing and eating as well as speaking. Her speech improved dramatically with intensive, expensive speech therapy, but her food issues remained.
Anyhow, last night this pair of culinary crabs ate peas. They had to be nagged to try them, but once they started, they continued willingly. Herewith my latest service to humanity:
Peas Fit For A Fusspot (from Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day, where they are referred to merely as Blanched Peas and where Jack B. explains that this is the very best way to serve frozen peas)
10 oz frozen peas
2 T chopped fresh herbs, preferably mixed, whatever you have around (I had sage, parsley, and basil, and conveniently I needed one cup of mixed fresh herbs for my pasta entree, and it was no effort to do a bit more for the peas. What's more, fresh herbs normally stand out as a splash of color, attracting the attention and scorn of the fusspot, but here they have protective coloration and hence add flavor without being observed by the normally keen eye of the child fusspot)
1 T butter
Bring a pot of salted, water to a boil. Add the peas and boil for two minutes. Drain and set aside (I shocked them with cold water so they wouldn't get mushy). When you're ready to serve them, melt the butter in a saute pan, add the peas and herbs, and cook just until they're hot. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
You know, my children have always loved peas. It makes me laugh that you did the foodmill thing, too. I thought I was the only mom in history that was food processing her kids gourmet (and from scratch home-cooked) meals (which I assumed had to be healthier than canned baby food).
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