I had a buddy at work who said this all the time. He was (and is) an anesthesiologist. Sometimes he’d look at a patient and think “there is no way this epidural is going to happen” and in spite of everything it would just slide right in. Lucky!
Parenting involves a lot of luck. People who don’t have kids know all the right moves. Let me tell you- “all the right moves” work just fine…when you’re lucky. When you try the right moves on a kid who doesn’t like most foods…you learn quickly that you don’t know jack. When you are lucky enough to get an eater…that is the best! And I really believe that luck is what makes the difference.
My girls were eaters. I was lucky there. Syd took food seriously. Her first real (solid) food was an avocado-swiss melt on sourdough bread. I hadn’t planned this. We were having lunch at The Black Dog on Martha’s Vineyard and she was just sitting there, Jonesing for my lunch. She learned to love food. She enjoyed the rituals of eating and taught me those rituals as well. She’d put her face up to mine, grab my cheeks and order “Mumma say ‘Would you like a snack now, dear?’! “. Never “can I have; may I have or I’d like”. Always taking me by the face and instructing me; feeding me my lines.
Avery was not an eater at first. She didn’t want solid food at all and would vomit even the tiniest bite. When she was 9 months old we were in a fancy hotel dining room (another story), trying not to horrify the people while we dined with 3 kids. The hostess (aka: some crazy baby-switching gypsy lady) scooped up our Avery and wandered off to the kitchen with her. My ‘mom alarm’ went off, but I tried to remain calm. Then the woman brought back another baby. This one looked just like ours, dark brown curls and a Betty Boop face. This one, however, was eating. She was sucking down a piece of melba toast slathered with goose liver pate’. Like a champ. This changeling went on to try anything and everything she was offered. Loved mushrooms, leeks, garlic. Loved food. I got really lucky with that girl, changeling or not!
My boys, however, were not adventurous eaters. Matt went off to college with a repertoire of about 6 foods. He wouldn’t eat sauces. He ate pizza plain; just dough and cheese. Pasta was plain with butter. No BBQ. No chinese food. No kidding. I think he ran into that crazy baby-switching gypsy lady while in college. Another alien child returned from Maryland claiming to be my first-born. He not only ate things like lentil stew, he knew how to cook them! I was on to him right away. This vegetable eating, sauteing, cheerful person is not the same boy we sent off to college. I know enough not to complain when I am, in fact, lucky.
PJ, my baby, is a fairly good eater all things considered. His first food was spaghetti, fed to him with love (by Avery) at the age of 2 months. She couldn’t wait to feed him and would do so anytime you turned your back. He preferred bland foods but gradually started to try new things. Once he tried a new food, he usually liked it. One food he would never eat, no matter how many times he tried it, was yogurt. We tried the organic frufru baby yogurts. We tried the crappy candy flavored stick yogurts. Nothing doing- he wouldn’t eat it. Until last week…when I got lucky! I made some blueberry yogurt and it was sitting in the fridge. PJ was doing his usual fridge inventory, and asked what the “purple stuff” was. I said “yogurt”. Then I added “it’s blueberry pie flavored”. I don’t know what came over me. I knew that boy loved blueberry pie. He grabbed a jar, stirred it up, put a spoonful in his mouth and…smiled! He loved it. Since then he and Grumpy are eating it up faster than I can make it. And I still feel lucky!
Blueberry Pie Yogurt…first the yogurt…
I’ve been making yogurt for Grumpy for a few weeks now. It was easier than I’d expected. Since our milk needs fluctuate without warning, it was a good way to use up some milk. Now I “use” about a gallon a week making yogurt. First – the skim or fat-free milk makes better yogurt. I have no idea why, but I’ve tried them all and it’s true.
Pour all the milk into a large pot and heat to 115f (if you use raw milk heat to 180f, then cool to 115). Now add some plain yogurt with live cultures. I recommend Fage or any good yogurt with 3 types of bacterial cultures. Stir in 2 Tablespoons for every 1/2 gallon of milk. After the first batch you can save some of your own yogurt to add to the next batch. Stir it in thoroughly. Now it needs to rest in a warm place to become yogurt. If you have a gas oven with a constant pilot light it may be warm enough. I use my dehydrater. The dehydrater is usually about 130 degrees, which is a little too warm. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that a canning lid under the top of the dehydrater raises it enough that it’s the perfect temperature. The yogurt will be solid within 4-6 hours. You can keep “growing” it for longer. I like to leave it for about 8 hours to give it a tangy flavor.
Now you can use it like this, or thicken it to a greek yogurt consistency. I line a colander with a tea towel (you can also use an old clean Tshirt) and scoop all the yogurt into the towel. Place the colander over a tall bowl and store in a cold porch (here) or your fridge to drain. After a few hours I pour off the liquid, put the yogurt into the bowl and whip with a hand mixer to a smooth, creamy yogurt. Now I put it into jars with whatever fruit topping we have. In this case…
In a medium saucepan I heated 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water, stirring until sugar was dissolved. I added in 2 cups of frozen wild blueberries and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Continue stirring for just a few minutes, mashing some of the blueberries into the pan to release the juice. That’s it! Tastes like fresh pie filling.