It has been an unusually action-packed morning – I woke up to technical difficulties, and took The Baby for a walk to blow off some steam, at which point I discovered that my keys were still sitting sad and forlorn on my computer desk.
So while we were waiting for Grandpa to come rushing over with a spare key, The Baby and I had an unplanned break in the backyard, which is suddenly lushly light green, misty leaves appearing overnight and sturdy spring flowers – tulips! hyacinths! daffodils! – springing up all over, this gift from long gone hands. We sat in the very center of the yard, surrounded by the tall old trees and the brand new small brown rabbits, brave and silly enough to venture into the open in search of the new grass. And in that moment I was perfectly happy, this rare golden thing.
I made the kids baked eggs for breakfast this morning, mixed with yellow peppers and sharp cheddar and baked in our heart-shaped muffin pan. Doesn’t that sound cute AND tasty? Apparently not, though – apparently it was disgusting and inedible, to judge from my wee brats’ reactions, which is a discouraging thing, of course. I constantly have to fight the urge to just give up and be a short order cook for them, to completely let go of my standards and just let them have canned pasta and orange pop for breakfast. Too bad for them, though: I am EVEN MORE STUBBORN than they are, but mornings are still really annoying.
Cooking for children is fraught with stuff like that, our grown-up taste buds clashing with whatever horrible thing it is that they want to eat that week. A lot of parents I know have given in to some extent, and now exist on some nightmarish combination of McDonalds and frozen waffles and soup from a can, all of which are all right some of the time, but are a sad way to spend a whole childhood. I suspect we all know this on some level, but life can be very hard – careers and busy-ness AND a lot of people these days can’t cook, have no experience with it and have eaten so much at restuarants that their first tenative approaches into cooking feel more discouraging than they should.
My husband worked all weekend and so my dad took pity on me yesterday and took The Boy on an outing, back out with him to visit The Fish Man again. This trip was successful, and when they returned, The Boy hopped into the back of the truck and proudly grabbed a glistening silver fish by its tail to show me.
“That’s AWESOME, honey!” I said, quietly gagging.
The Boy was so excited to eat “his” fish, though, that my husband was assigned the job of scaling it and cutting it into fillets because there was NO WAY I was going to – yuck! – and I made oven fries (peel a bunch of potatoes, cut them into vaguely fry-shaped pieces, toss them with a bit of olive oil and salt and spread them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes at 425. There you go.), and sauteed some green beans and mushrooms and that was dinner. It was enjoyable, too, aside from The Girl’s drama (“They never even had a CHANCE TO LIVE!”), and I made dessert afterwards, silver dollar pancakes made from a gluten-free mix, served in little stacks with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and covered in homemade chocolate sauce. And it was a perfectly happy family meal, food caught by human hands right from the local river, food made by us for the children that we made.