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 loved...in 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?