Monday, June 2, 2008

adventures in eating

I've said before that Bug will eat anything. He loves to try new foods and would rather taste something he's never had than eat something he considers only average. In comparison, Pook is picky, but in the grand scheme of things, I'd say he's amazingly good too.

I had to take them both to the grocery. (Ah, the joy!) While there I saw artichokes on sale. Hmm. An interesting food they've never seen. We bought two and they argued over holding them the rest of the trip (two artichokes, two boys... a natural cause for an argument, right?) They sat on the counter for a few days until we had time for a relaxed dinner over the weekend. Then we brought out the big guns: "Anyone want an... appetizer?"

Cocktails and appetizers were introduced to them last spring by CD's uncle in Florida ("It's 5:00 somewhere") and have been a hit ever since. I really should buy some little umbrella toothpicks someday.

Bug, barely age 3: I'm hungry.
Me: It's almost dinner time.
Bug: Can I have a snack?
Me: You already had a snack.
Bug: Well then, can I have a appetizer?

So, both boys were excited by the idea of appetizers. The idea of dipping the new food into butter sealed the deal. While they steamed, I explained the technique: pull off leaf, dip in butter (ONCE ONLY) and scrape off yummy part with your teeth. The four of us sat and tried it out. They both seemed to be enjoying the process and maybe the taste too. Bug discovered that the curve of the leaf made for a good spoon and seemed to be drinking melted butter. Pook liked the tender leaves but decided to pass on the heart. He was quite pleased with himself for having had something new. He was once told that eating a new food will add seven years to his life. He's counting.

Last night we went out to dinner with my parents before they headed home this morning. CD and I had been to a Bangladeshi restaurant in town and had had a great experience, so I suggested taking them. I wasn't quite sure what the kids would like, but there's always rice and naan.

You know it's good when the owner introduces himself and then calls the kids by name the whole dinner. But the best part was the menu, or lack of menu. We told him that they were newcomers and he decided to feed us some items off the menu. He even explained what we were eating and how to eat it as each course showed up. We had an appetizer the kids would refer to as a shrimp roll-up (Poori Shrimp). Eating with fingers definitely appealed. Then he brought us four dishes to have with our biriyani rice. Neither peas nor raisins count among Pook's favorite foods. He tasted everything and even called things "yummy", but didn't eat much. He liked his mango lassi, as did Bug until his Papa declared that he didn't like it. Then Bug didn't either*. There was plenty of naan, some with a bit too much onion for Pook, but all good. We had a dish of sweet potatoes and lima beans (not sure the name since nothing similar is on the take-home menu I have), probably Chicken Makhani in a "buttery tomato sauce with aromatic herbs & cream", Malai Kopta, a dish made of vegetable fritters which are then shredded and sauteed (need any more ghee?) and a lamb dish that might have been "spiced with ginger, herbs and onions".

Bug: Are we eating sheep?
Nana: The food kind. (hehehe- good try)
Bug: But like with fluffy fur and stuff?
Nana: um, sort of. Do you like it?
Bug: yep. (that's my little fickle vegetarian for ya!)

Then when we thought we couldn't fit in another bite, around came bowls with Laal-mohon, "little homemade cheese and milk whey balls, dipped in honey & sugar syrup".

And I get the leftovers today for lunch.

*Bug's best part of the meal? He got a real stemmed glass to drink from for his lassi.


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