A few weeks ago, my friend Sally and I were emailing about dinner ideas; she’d invited us to her house for a causal family dinner, and wondered what might be good for her to make, and for me to bring to help out. She wanted to make pulled pork in her slow cooker, at which suggestion my mouth immediately commenced watering.
But what about the kids? Between my two and her two, we have varying levels of picky/mercurial. Pulled pork? Would they go for it, in the absence of a fall-back serving of mac-and-cheese or plain pasta or hot dogs?
Something clicked for both of us, and we decided to resist the urge to even offer a fall back. We would take the risk. We would tell them — here’s dinner, kiddos. Try it, you might like it.
So that’s what we did. I took a prepare-for-the-best approach, talking up the sweet and sloppy and barbecue-saucy goodness of pulled pork for days. I privately appealed to Daniel, as the least picky (and often most hungry) of the four of them to be a good-will ambassador for the meal (“You try it, and I bet the others will, too!”). I also made clear my usual rule: try it, at least. Or no dessert.
I report: It worked, to a point. James had the best line of the night: at first, he thought it looked awful, but then he took a sniff (it did smell pretty awesome), and said, “Hey, guys! If you look at this and think it’s gross, smell it! You might like it!” He ate a few bites, then a plain roll with butter and some broccoli with lemon. Sally’s kids tried a bite or two. Daniel, bless him, ate the most and stayed at the table longest.
And we felt great, as parents, that we had moved closer to a parents need to eat too mentality. A this is what’s for dinner ethos, updated with an effort to make food that everyone will like.
It is fresh off the presses next week, and I got my hands on a copy last week (buy it yourself, here). As a cookbook enthusiast, I’m in love with it already. As a writer myself, I’m beyond impressed and awed with the amount of work that went into this tome, which covers all aspects of feeding everyone from the tiniest baby to the tiredest adult in the house. She’s got ideas for one-handed foods for nursing mothers; recipes you can make in stages during a baby or toddler’s naptimes; and meals that will please a crowd of all ages and only take a half-hour or so to make. Plus it’s full of little asides and stories and hard-won wisdom. Plus it has desserts. Awesome.
And guess what? Leave a comment here about your kid-feeding adventures, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of the book! Repost this on Facebook or Twitter (and let me know you have), and you get two entries. I’ll randomly choose and announce a winner in two weeks.
I just found out another tidbit: The official launch date of the book is next Tuesday, a week from today (Feb. 21). If you order a book, for yourself, for a friend, now, you’ll also get a FREE Digital Starter Kit, which includes extra recipes, feeding guides for babies, a bookmark, a pretty gift card (great if you are buying it as a gift). More incentive! Get thee to Amazon! (or Barnes & Noble. Or Indiebound).
Once you have the book (and it makes a great gift for a baby shower, seriously), you can, as I did last week, make this so incredibly easy and delicious dish, Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels. I made it as a side dish. I figured it couldn’t fail — even though it’s technically foodthattouches — considering that it’s made of three basic foods my kids love: cheese (duh); pizza dough; and broccoli. It was so simple! The recipe is below, but here are couple of photos of my creation in action:
The broccoli, cheese, and Dijon mustard combo spread out on prepared whole-wheat pizza dough:
The finished product, all cheesy goodness:
Here’s the recipe. I adjusted it only slightly, cutting it into more than the 8 pieces as instructed, so the pinwheels would be smaller and more side-dish-y. And while we were all eating them, we discussed other ways we could make this, with different cheeses and veggies and other fillings.
So enter the contest! Check out Debbie’s website for more recipes and information! And follow Sally’s and my lead and don’t make fall-back meals! Because Parents. Need. To. Eat. Too.