Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I like to think of myself as someone who won’t trick her children to get them to do what she wants them to. I also like to think of myself as thin, fabulously wealthy and sweet-tempered.

Apparently, I substitute “think of” for “pretend that I am.” Because in the days that my children didn’t like tuna (which were the days that my boy ate very little besides milk and goldfish crackers), I told them that the candy by the check-out counter was tuna (and hoo-bloody-ray that my kids are as gullible as they come).
I am not fat, but nor am I skinny as I'd like to be. Possibly preventing a perfect level of skinniness (besides a fondness for cheese, butter and pastries that I cannot pretend, per dumb diet article suggestions, that “I learned that 3 celery sticks and a little bit of indulgent carrot can be just as satisfying as an éclair!”) is that I am extremely bad-tempered when hungry, which can make diets tricky, because I’ll be snarling around the house while my loved ones hurl danishes at me in an attempt to save one another from my foodless, skinnifying wrath. I am a happier person when carbohydrates are in my life.

And fabulously wealthy? Not so much, but given that I did get to go to Hawaii (and am always scheming on how to get somewhere, particularly places where Italian is spoken), I’m happy. Sure, the couch upholstery has steadily growing holes in it. I deal with it by trying not to wear my glasses when I'm near the couch. Given a choice between travel and a freshly re-upholstered couch, I will have a couch that gets steadily shabbier. And... I have a couch that is getting steadily shabbier.

Still, I am much flexier with the truth and my children than I should probably be when I think I can get them to do what I want.

I love the Spanish variation on bruschetta, rubbing the grilled bread with tomato as well as garlic, before adding a bit of salt and olive oil.

My boy, however, remains suspicious of most vegetables, although he will eat many of them, albeit in microscopic quantities. And with a dinner that I wanted to include this variation of grilled bread in, I was already serving a fava bean and fennel salad (and sure, it had feta and prosciutto, both of which he likes, but it was a vegetal duo, which is even more suspicious in his book than a vegetable flying solo) and a tomato-olive salsa.

I just went ahead and served it. When my boy asked, with enormous suspicion, what sort of bread it was, I replied “pinkbread,” because it sounded incredibly innocuous— who’s afraid of pinkbread, after all?— and went on with eating my dinner, pretending not to watch him closely.

He totally fell for it.
Down it went, he noted it was good, and then asked what else was on it. Since he already liked it, I told him. He kept eating. Mostly I think: everybody wins, so what's the problem? It's not as if I snuck macadamia nuts into dinner and then got Curly to eat some, just to see if she is still deathly allergic to them.

Still, the win probably does not help my somewhat slippery set of situational ethics with the kids (is it right to make dessert contingent on vegetable consumption? Well, the experts say no. Except it works like a freaking charm.) become more… standardized.

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