Regular readers of TLT already know about my one child who has been a steadfast veggie-phobe since toddlerhood, continually amazing me with his resolve to avoid all things green (and yellow and orange), regardless of how enticingly prepared or how many other people at the table are visibly enjoying them. It’s true that a while back I’d described a big breakthrough (“A Miracle Takes Place in Houston“) but since then, things haven’t changed much on the veggie front and I was starting to feel that we were back where we started.
Well, last night I decided to take Amanda Hesser’s new The Essential New York Times Cookbook out for a spin. (Side note to foodies out there: run, don’t walk, to get your hands on this book. You will love it.). I decided to make an Italian dish called malfatti, which are like gnocchi but using bread instead of potatoes as the base. This particular recipe called for almost a pound and a half of spinach, and the resulting dumplings were a dark, dark green. (By the way, “malfatti” means “badly made,” and mine certainly fit that description: the dough wouldn’t firm up properly so I had to add a ton of uncalled-for flour, and even then it was so sticky that it was impossible to form anything but irregular, ugly lumps out of it. Nonetheless, delicious!)
As I’ve advocated here in the past (“Short Order Cookery – Just Say No“), I normally try have a few things on the table for dinner so that everyone can find a safe “out” if they’re not into the main dish. But last night I was pressed for time and it was either my dark green, rather scary-looking malfatti and salad — or going hungry.
Well, lo and behold, my little veggie-hater dove right in to the dish and immediately stated, “This is going to become one of those foods I ask for when it’s my turn to say what we have for dinner.” I nearly fell out of my chair. All was going swimmingly until my husband rather unhelpfully asked, “Is there spinach in here? I taste spinach.” While I hadn’t exactly lied about the spinach, I had been guilty of, shall we say, a useful omission. While trying awkwardly to kick my husband under the table, I watched my son anxiously, expecting him to drop his fork in disgust. He did pause for second, looking a little troubled, but then shrugged and said, nonchalantly, “I don’t care if it’s spinach” and kept right on eating.
Cue up the angelic choir.
My point in sharing this story? For all you parents of the picky, who believe that no child could possibly be as recalcitrant about certain foods as yours, don’t despair.
Miracles do happen, and apparently sometimes they come in the unlikely form of ugly, green dumplings.