Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Gourmand

When we eat out at as a family, I have two criteria when ordering food for my son:  It has to be non- messy and it has to be pretty cheap (this might make me sound like a mean mom, but I don't want to wince every time he throws something on the floor.  That would be a lot of wincing).  So we tend to steer clear of tomato sauce, baked beans, barbecue sauce and the like.  Iwan's restaurant meals tend to be relatively beige and practical for now.  This is okay because a.) we don't eat out very often; and b.) Iwan gets lot of messy, fun, colorful food at home.
Well, we happened to go out for lunch today during a day out in Chester.  We ordered Iwan some very beige and practical cheese on toast, which he loves.  There was no cheese on toast listed on the kids's section of the menu, so I asked Gez to make it clear that it was for a baby when he was at the counter ordering (in the hopes that they would give us a smaller portion and charge a bit less).  Apparently the message didn't get through because the server eventually brought out a small pile of cheese on toast, accompanied by some lettuce, tomatoes, and a bulgur wheat salad.  Hmmmm.
Iwan happily tucked into his toast, and I tasted the bulgur salad.  It was really nice.  Quite delicate and zesty, dotted with colorful corn, beans, and red onion.  I shrugged and decided to see if my little boy would taste it.  I put a little on a fork and he obligingly opened his mouth and tasted it.  He chewed thoughtfully for a couple of seconds, and then his eyes lit up and he smiled.  And proceeded to eat up every bite of that bulgur.  I'm not sure why I was really surprised.  He's never been a picky eater.  One of his favorite foods right now is mushrooms, which he'll pick out of his food and gobble up before anything else.  I guess I just assumed that bulgur wheat salad is a very adult taste, and since it's not something you'd normally see a child eat, my child probably wouldn't like it.  But the thing is, nobody's told him he shouldn't like it, nobody's ever restricted him to the children's menu, which means he's able to make up his own little mind about what he likes and doesn't like.  And apparently one of the things he likes is bulgur wheat salad.  Okay then.
I couldn't help feeling just a little proud of my adventurous little eater.  When we put him back in his stroller after lunch, I passed him a bit of a baguette to nibble on.  He looked like a little foodie, relaxing back and casually biting chunks out of his bread as we strolled along the River Dee.  Not to mention that I had managed to put on both sunglasses and a necklace before we left (the idea of accessorizing, sadly, doesn't often make it into my brain space these days), so I fancied we made quite the striking mother-son pair, what with baguette and accessories and everything (yeah, yeah, laugh it up).
Behold the baguette

Emboldened by Iwan's adventure with the bulgur wheat, we decided to serve up some cous cous with roasted vegetables for dinner tonight.  We watched eagerly as Iwan picked up a bit of roasted butternut squash and conveyed it into his mouth, just knowing that his sophisticated little palate was going to sing with joy at it's taste.  Yeah, he spat and sputtered and scraped it off his tongue, as if we'd given him rotten cod liver oil.  He then spent the next half hour happily throwing handfuls of cous cous over the side of his high chair.  Kids are fickle.

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