I’m a horrible cook. Downright terrible. So bad that the lobster screams BEFORE I put it in the boiling water. Some people are born with the ability to do great things in the kitchen. They can take butter, some Italian seasoning, maybe a dash of vinegar, and end up with Filet Mignon. It is a mystery that rivals Stonehenge and the popularity of Justin Bieber. I do not know how they do this. My brother-in-law is one of those people. I am not one of those people.
I would like to be a good cook. In part so that when someone says “these hot dogs are incredible! Who made these?” I can humbly submit that, yes, it was I that made those hot dogs. But the main reason is that I really want to inspire my kids. Inspire them to eat something other than goldfish crackers.
One of our biggest frustrations has been getting our kids to eat well. The psychology of getting a two year old to eat, say, a vegetable is twisted at best. You lie. You make empty promises. I have imitated the behavior of a Chimpanzee to encourage the consumption of broccoli. I am only mildly ashamed of this. My daughter, for instance, loves ham. But she doesn’t think that she loves ham, she thinks that she loves turkey. So we don’t call ham ham, we call ham turkey. And she eats the ham because we call it turkey, but will not eat the turkey, because it, after all, is not ham but turkey. Do you see where I’m going with this? Do you see how quickly something as mundane as lunch can spiral into some strange psychological ballet where foods become anthropomorphic (dancing macaroni!) and utensils suddenly spring to life as airplanes/space shuttles/buses/trains/weapons of mass food destruction? Yes, weapons of mass food destruction. I like to break it down like this. Let’s say there are 6 ounces of green beans on a child’s plate. The laws of parenting physics show that when the child applies force to the beans, using his or her fork/spoon, 2 ounces of green beans will end up on the wall and 6 ounces of green beans will end up on the floor. This means that the child will consume -2 ounces of green beans. Despite this routine negative consumption of all things healthy, the child will continue to grow at an alarming rate.
Now don’t get me wrong, my wife is an amazing cook. She’s also an amazing baker. People talk about her cakes in hushed, reverential tones. “Did Sarah make that cake?”is a whisper often heard at parties and get-togethers. No one wants to be too loud and let the cat out of the bag lest someone, in a fit of crazed sugar-fix-needing madness, grab the cake and run for the door. It’s happened before. The results weren’t pretty. And my wife tries really, really hard to get our kids to eat well. She reads books, and follows the blogs of Wisteria-lane-like women whose rosy-cheeked children eat their broccoli without protest. It’s a pack of Photoshopped lies in my opinion. Pictures of kids eating arugula? Nice try. Someone went crazy with the crop and paste.
Maybe one day I’ll put Bobby Flay to shame on ‘Throwdown’, or make Mario Batali cry on ‘Iron Chef’ (secret ingredient: hog dogs!). Probably not, though. Honestly, I’d be happier just getting my kids to eat something green other than green icing on a sugar cookie. Until then we’ll just have to make due with the dancing macaroni, the spoon that doubles as a 757, and the ham masquerading as turkey. Oh, and the brownies my wife made that have diced broccoli mixed into them (sinister!).