I want to start by sharing an “Aha” moment I had when serving the first dish, KALE AND MUSHROOMS WITH CREAMY POLENTA. At first, Morgan tried this but didn’t like it and Audrey refused to try it. I had read a long long time ago, in Feeding Your Child For Lifelong Health by Susan B. Roberts, that kids need to try a new food up to fifteen times before they decide they like it, because they have a deeply held instinct from about age two on to be suspicious of new foods. This was a self-preserving instinct that kept hunter-gatherer preschoolers from poisoning themselves to death as they ventured into the forest. My “Aha” moment was to actually explain this to my kids – that they had instincts like animals do that were protecting them. But, they needed to use their minds to 1) understand that Mommy or Daddy will not serve them a poisonous mushroom and 2) that their body needs time to get used to a new food. At the end of this conversation, Morgan was eating the kale and mushrooms and Audrey, of course, was eating the cheesy grits (we didn’t have polenta). A baby step in the right direction. I highly recommend this book for its facts and strategies, though I do think she’s a bit extreme. In my book, homemade cookies are part of life, not something to try and remove from the earth.
The next recipe, WHITE BEAN AND SAUSAGE RAGOUT WITH TOMATOES, KALE AND OTHER VEGETABLE OF CHOICE led me to investigate the word “ragout” which does not mean a spaghetti sauce from a jar, but “well seasoned meat and vegetables served in a thick sauce”. Even in fake-winter LA, I mostly want to make soup this time of year, but a ragout seemed like a nice change of pace. Morgan really liked this and Audrey had not heard the gospel of 15 tries yet, so she didn’t touch it.
Finally, SPINACH SALAD WITH ORANGES AND ALMONDS is an old favorite and a nice combination of the wonderful citrus and greens available at Farmer’s Markets these days.