Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Friday, January 30, 2009

May I Take Your Order?

Motherhood has made me a short order cook. A good guesstimate tells me that between my three boys, they eat a total of about 20 items, with frighteningly little overlap. Except for sugary foods, pizza and bagels with cream cheese, peanut butter or butter, which are universally our little universe. A sample of their wonts:
Seth: Pancakes, cereal, chocolate milk, broccoli (yippee!), meatballs under protest, macaroni and cheese, bagels(especially, oddly, everything bagels loaded with garlic, sesame seeds and poppyseeds), chicken, grapes, French toast, corn on the cob, watermelon, turkey.
Jesse: Milk, milk, milk, yogurt, cheese (in flat and stick form), grilled cheese, cereal, peas under duress, raisins, cereal, French toast, watermelon, eggs in various forms, meatballs, turkey,macaroni and cheese.
Kyle: Smoothies, cereal, omelets, hamburgers, blueberries, bananas, apples, cheese and crackers, meatballs and hamburgers, nuts, coconuts, calamari (except when he remembers that it's squid, which I accidentally revealed to him in the Italian restaurant around the corner and will never forgive myself for.)
Pretty depressing, isn't it? And sometimes, even the things they all love pose problems. To wit, pizza: Kyle and Seth will eat any pizza (though they're sure that Tibor downstairs at City Pie changed his recipe recently to a less kid-friendly one; Tibi tells us it's just his lousy new pizza guy). But Jesse can't stomach pizza with red sauce.
So we have to hunt down the places that make white pizza for him. Which, even in New York City, are not all that common.
But wait, there's more to the insanity. Jesse adores the mozarella cheese on white pizza. But he WON'T EAT THE RICOTTA that peppers his slices. So we carefully cut those parts of the slice out before presenting his pie to him. And when we're out at a restaurant, I nibble the ricotta off.
I do. Really.
I can't tell you how foolish I feel just committing that to paper.
The minute variations in what my three ridiculously picky eaters will and won't put in their mouths makes dinnertime a fools paradise in my home.
The peas are too small.Unless they're too big and gag-inducing. The cheese isn't the right color; it should be paler or darker. The smoothie isn't quite sweet enough, but if I add a few grains of sugar too many, it's too sweet.
It wasn't always this way. I remember when Kyle was a toddler, eagerly chowing down on grilled salmon, sauteed spinach and squash, wowing relatives and waiters with his curious palate. I basked in the glow, smug in my assurance that I'd done a perfect job at introducing him to the joys of a widely varied plate.
Ah, but like Icarus, I flew too close to the sun.
And now, hot dogs and bunny pasta reign where grilled asparagus was once king.
And for lunch, I'm making grilled cheese (Jesse), smoothie with cheese and crackers and apple slices (Kyle) and bagel with cream cheese and grapes (Seth). Can I take your order?


  1. i remember when kyle ate jellyfish at the chinese dim sum restaurant in chinatown. (remind him of that...i'm sure he'll gag on the spot.) i don't even think the adults could bring themselves to eat it. i have no answer for this. henry was much more adventurous until he hit about two and started saying no more. our saving grace is that he wants to do what we're doing, so if we're eating something he sometimes wants to try it...which is how, bizarre as this sounds, he ended up liking pea soup and turkey chili. go figure. meanwhile, paul's son, alex, who ate probably less than ten foods when I met him, now eats EVERYTHING. the breakthrough: girls. it got too embarrassing to not eat anything, or rather refuse everything, in front of them--especially if the girls were eating it. so now he's an omnivore. you've got awhile before that kicks in, though....

  2. somehow, it comes as little surprise that mr. gassy jesse loves that milk and cheese... ;P