Adventures in eating.

@postaday 164; #postaday2011.

My girls are so used to eating out that it isn’t a treat anymore. They are casual about their behavior, and MiniMe never curbs her tendencies to pronounce her glass half empty. There are few items she will eat and they are all white or colorless. She has relented to eat broccoli, so when I cook, that’s always on the table. She is missing out and I am concerned. I am eager for her inner switch to click and for her to find joy in luscious and juicy fruits (I used to say it’s nature’s candy…didn’t work), savory and delicious vegetables, fresh tomato sauces, curries, a nice bechamel. I’ve tried all the tricks: shredded vegetables and hide them in tomato sauce, I don’t dare think to mix peas or edamame into her favorite baked macaroni and cheese, she’d spot the minuscule green threads in zucchini muffins, and at Jamba Juice she goes straight for the Chocolate Moo. Do not think you can sneak anything healthy into her. She will resist.

Grilled salmon, quinoa salad with feta, grilled pineapple salsa. MiniMe had the salmon with lemon.

Her sister, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: An adventurous eater who will step up and eat anything I put before her and then some. She graduated from child menus before her time was up. She’ll snack on crudites with her dad while I’m making dinner. Guacamole was one of her first words (Actually, DADDY was her first word. But enough of THAT!).

MiniMe loves potatoes, picks at pasta and rice, and sneers at quinoa. She’ll eat chicken and she loves grilled salmon and grilled steaks, done rare. Lately she’s described finding joy in a turkey and gravy dinner with mashed potatoes and carrots, which she swears she eats.

So last night when prompted if I wanted to grab dinner at the Hawaii Kai Panda I flat out said no. MiniMe would get mandarin chicken with rice, no sauce. She doesn’t even like orange chicken. I had to put my foot down and declare it was time for a home-cooked meal. Besides, I was in need of a merlot transfusion.

In answer to MiniMe’s proclamation about a gravy-fied dinner, I braised chicken breasts in a golden mushroom gravy with sides of broccoli and golden-fried polenta discs. I’m trying to get through food I had in the refrigerator and there are no potatoes in the house. She followed her nose into the kitchen with approving hmmmmms, and spotted the polenta.

“What’s that? I don’t like it.”

That’s how it goes. She doesn’t like anything BEFORE she tastes it.

I do not know how this kid is ours. We are two adults who have had too much joy in cooking and eating. We’re always working out to combat the hand to mouth routine. I love to float home-made meatballs and Italian sausage in a pot of fresh tomato sauce, I make a mean-assed beef stew, and we also have a favorite African curry beef stew that would blow anyone’s mind. I’m the designated Thanksgiving Dinner Goddess, and I go over the top and fill my extended family with impressive dish after impressive dish. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we don’t have these things all that often. Most of the time dinner is quickly grilled or stir fried so she will partake.

So this is a huge challenge for us. We have yet to nail the psychology that will get her to assess her diet and to be a healthy person. We lead by example, but, she doesn’t buy into it yet. The fact that she is now taking care of my herb garden is a very good sign, but she hasn’t picked anything, brought it to me and said, “Let’s eat this!”  When she visits her doctor and they discuss this, MiniMie knows all the right things to say, which means she knows all the right things to do.

For all of us, the commitment to be healthy, to lose weight, to wake at the butt-crack of dawn to go to 24-Hour Fitness before work, to get on the bike, to pour ourselves into a swim suit for an evening masters session, to go to Zumba class after work, or head to the park for a game of pickup, has to occur inside our brains.

Maybe my problem is that I’m too busy watching that little pot called MiniMe, and too eager to jump the second she makes the connection. I can’t let her realize my exuberant enthusiasm. Her control over this situation is mind boggling. It’s amazing to me that a child of mine would have such resolve. Any career suggestions for a person with such a trait?