OK, so kids and parents often disagree about food, right? At the tender age of 4 (or, um, 18 *cough* just for full disclosure, you know...) subsisting off of Kool-aid powder and Marshmallow Fluff seems like a good idea, but as slightly mature parents we know better, and try to impress our hard won knowledge upon our offspring.
Zion has always been a fairly easy kid as far as food goes. He'll try anything and likes most of it. But lately he's been announcing that he doesn't like X- usually when faced with it at dinner time. I suspect this is a part of his burgeoning independence; he's marking his territory, as it were. Luckily, we have a plan. We've had it from before we even had kids, as a matter of fact, and truth be told, it's actually my parent's plan. But we like it, and imitation and flattery and all.
So the plan is this: each child is allowed a short list (probably about 5 items) of foods that they don't have to eat. The list can be changed any time other than immediately prior to a meal. This way the working-towards-independence child can have a voice in his/her food choices, while we as parents still get to pretend that we can enforce our will. Perfect.
Anyway, last night I made lentil soup. Both kids like lentil soup. Except last night Zion decided that he didn't. We figured he was old enough to understand and appreciate the food list, so we explained the concept and he enthusiastically put lentil soup on his list. He'd have cashew butter and honey for dinner, he decided. It was easy and peaceful and the rest of us sat down with our soup while Zion munched on sandwich. But a funny thing happened. About halfway through his meal Zion's face started looking a little bit sad and he announced that he was tired of cashew butter. I asked if he'd like some lentil soup and he brightened up and said that he would. So I brought him some soup and he ate it. And then he told us that he didn't think he wanted to have a list of foods he didn't have to eat- he'd just eat everything. We told him to rock on.
Coconut Lentil Soup
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced or grated
1.5 tsp garam masala
2 c lentils
4 c chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 c water
1 can coconut milk (NOT cream!)
Saute the onion in some oil in your soup pot. When it's browned a bit add the garlic and ginger and garam masala and saute another minute or so (if you think it's starting to burn it's time to stop!). Pour in the broth and water and lentils and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I don't usually do pepper, but you might like to). Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.