We need a Sam -I- am in our house just like we need a Babette. Sam could make that very No Way Guy turn a little more open minded when it comes to food. Then there’s Babette, a character pretty unknown compared to Sam- I -am. She convinces folks that food actually has taste. Food that your stomach will growl for. Green Eggs and Ham and Babette’s feast A book and a movie relevant to my world at this time.
Growing up, I had a short list of dislikes when it came to food. Notice I said, dislike. I had to try them in order to discover that I did not like them. Mushrooms for instance. I did try them several times. They are okay. If they are hidden in the supreme toppings of pizza that is even better. But I am certainly not going to eat a whole can of them like I would say…. artichoke hearts. Olives, – just plain too rubbery and salty. I may be the only Greek on the planet that doesn’t like olives. My dislike of fish started when they appeared in the freezer in our downstairs dungeon and seemed to still be living. Then the neighborhood fisherman would invite us over to watch him clean them. No thanks. But I did the Sam -I- am thing . I did try it.
I also know the pleasures of food. We kids grew up learning this. Food was an art in the kitchen and eating it was enjoying it just like you do in a museum or concert hall. Things looked and smelled good and tasted even better. Perhaps having more of a ethnic background helped spice up the cuisine. But there was also a fresh vegetable garden in the backyard. There was the expectation that you at least tried it.
As the head chef in our kitchen, I find myself needing the talent of both Sam- I- am and Babette. I will leave my husband out of this as he is a better eater than I. His list of dislikes is shorter than mine. There are two other customers that are regulars three times a day. With all the exasperating trials in eating, it is a wonder they still drop by for a bite to eat.
I am working to stretch my children’s short list. Right now the sensory issue is huge with my daughter. I know I must one day go through the senses with a certain kind of food. First, look at it. Second touch it. Third smell it. Leave the tasting for last. But sometimes I truly wonder if she were really hungry and what was served was all we had to eat, would she eat it? Food Therapy has not be implemented as of yet. I have heard some stories about it and wonder if this will truly click with her.
My son could certainly be included in the therapy. He has his own ideas of how food should be presented and prepared. Perhaps he is just like any other kid. I know there is a short list on even the typical child’s list that includes chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cheese pizza, mac and cheese, or hamburger. I have read about how a child’s tastes buds are still developing and spinach or broccoli is something there tongue is not ready for yet. Those of you who are able to get your child to eat parsnips, congratulations! You have one gifted child.
If I had the talent of Sam- I- am and Babette, I could cook for four instead of two. No longer would cereals be on the stand by at all times. Their vitamins would be a true supplement and not a substitution. They would get the vitamins straight from the fruit or vegetable ….even bite into it raw. I did- fresh off the plant. (You get hungry when you’re out in the hot picking crops) They would eat like king and queen because there would be true flare to their eating.
But instead, there are many “it must be this way” and “don’t even think about that way.” I hide and sneak things in as the popular Jessica Seinfield does. I read through ingredients looking for more 1-2 syllable words rather than to struggle through a pronunciation. The health food store has many new inventions. But when it comes down to it, if it doesn’t look a carrot or feel like a carrot … it isn’t really totally a carrot.
So here I sit in this Babette and Sam -I -am wanna be position. I love to cook and share a good meal. Many have complimented my cuisine with very high marks. But I find myself still working to win over two that would rather drive by Wendy’s then eat real food. Waiting for the day when they will wipe their drooling mouth at the taste of delicious as they do in Babette’s feast and say “I do so like Green Eggs and Ham”.