Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Summer Lunch

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 First, a confession. I like McDonalds.  It usually makes my stomach hurt, and I never want to think about what is in it or how bad it is for me and for so many more aspects of the world, but every once in a while, there is nothing like their fake burgers with plastic-y cheese.

The other day, we were in a bit of a time crunch and, given our impending trip, had nothing in the house that could be turned into lunch in a matter of minutes.  I went through the drive-thru (it is literally right down the street) at McDonalds.  I paid entirely too much for two adult meals and a happy meal, but there lunch was.

V. loves french fries, but when it came to the nuggets, she would not eat them.  The only "nuggets" she has known are homemade or Perdue, and she absolutely would not eat the McDonalds meal.  (So I ate them.)

*I just realized that my child has, more than once, helped her to the chicken chunks in our puppy's store-bought kibble.  What does that tell you about nuggets. Now I wish I hadn't eaten them...*

People are constantly complimenting V. on her pallet, how she eats - and loves - all food.  She'll happily eat everything from artichokes to zucchini with enthusiasm.  (Except McDonalds and canned black olives.)  But it isn't that she is a "good eater," it is that we started her eating a variety of things at a young age and haven't really given her the choice.

Husby and I believe whole-heartedly in Baby Led Weaning (in the British way, not the American "stop nursing" way) and we are starting to dole out smaller sized portions so that when V. asks for seconds, we can state "Finish your *insert whatever wasn't the absolute favorite of the dish* and you can have more *whatever it is she is after*."

And you know, it works for us.  I understand it doesn't work for everyone, but it is only first-world countries that boil and steam the vitamins out of whatever would have been healthy, puree whatever is left, and pass it off as good for baby.  We avoid feeding our children the very things we eat for fear of them being too spicy, too mature, or allergy-causing.  I'm not advocating feeding your 6-month old a chunk of sashimi dipped in raw honey, topped with wasabi, but babies can have spice and strawberries.  (In fact, recent studies suggest that by holding off you may be doing even more harm.)

That all being said, back to what this is really about.  My kid enjoying what is arguably one of the more delicious delicacies of summer.  She won't eat a hunk of mystery meat, but she will eat Caprese salad.

I didn't always enjoy raw tomatoes, but we don't let our food preferences shape our child's, so I've been eating more as they are around for her.

Then we got these fresh from a local farm (along with the cheese) and oh my.  We split three between us.  They were divine.

And could there be a lunch easier to make?  I did reduce the balsamic while slicing and dicing the rest.  I also use the olive oil and basil I would put on V.'s to make a little pesto.  Leaves are still difficult for her to chew.

A slight sprinkle of salt and some fresh pepper, and we're in the business.

Do not be fooled.  This was bite two or three.  By bite five, it was just too delicious to be slowed down by a fork.

Fortunately, there was more.  This time.  The next time she asked, it was gone, and she cried.  I may have cried a little, too.

I now know that my "issue" with raw tomatoes is not one of dislike.  I love tomatoes now.  But that is because we are eating local-fresh, organic, grown under the sun tomatoes.  If you ever believed hot-houses or grown in a galaxy far, far away were equal to local, natural foods, buy a beefsteak tomato at the grocery store and a tomato at your next farmer's market.  I promise, you'll change your mind.  It does cost more, but open your windows, ride your bike, or don't leave the shower water running so you can have a steamy bathroom.  You'll save money on your utilities to buy delicious tomatoes and the environment will thank you as well.

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