Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food, Glorious Food

Dear Ian,

Let's start this blog post off with a definition, shall we?

Epicurean: [ep-i-kyoo-ree-uhn, -kyoor-ee-] adjective.
1.  Having luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating or drinking
2.  fit for an epicure
synonyms: gourmet.

See also:  Ian Brooks

Since I started this blog when you were about seven months old, I realized that I missed out on blogging some of your milestone moments.  One of these was brought to my mind in full force as we ate lunch today.  I never blogged about your first meal and solid foods experience!  And what a shame that is, because darling boy, if there is one thing you love, it is food.  And I'm not talking about typical toddler food, either.  You have a palate way more sophisticated that mine ever dreamed of being when I was your age.  You are pretty dang adventurous when it comes to what you eat.  

Let me preface this story of your crazy taste buds by saying that Mommy has not always been an adventurous eater.  I had (and honestly still have) a culinary comfort zone that from which I was hesitant to move away.  I like to be able to pronounce what I am eating, recognize it and understand where it originated.  Raw veggies were not my style.  I prefer them cooked within an inch of their little veggie lives and hidden if possible.  I was shallow, limited, and naive.  Thankfully your Daddy slowly introduced me to random, weird foods, which if left to my own devices, I would have just lived without.  Things like Chinese dumplings (holy cow, am I glad he made me eat those), red wine, and the like were soon part of my life.  When we started traveling abroad, my palate was expanded by necessity.  I either ate or went hungry.  So, I learned to adapt and appreciate all kinds of foods I would have ordinarily never even tried.  Some things I loved, others, like beef tongue, which I ate by accident, I can go a lifetime without ever eating again.  Eww.  Russia and Malaysia would have been amazing places to diet had I not learned to expand my tastes.  

Fast forward a few years, and I was pregnant with you and determined to make sure that you started your life off with fabulous nutrition.  I ate a lion's share of veggies that I still to this day don't like, because I figured there was something in them you needed.  I balanced the veggies with proteins and fruits, I drank a crap ton of water and I craved stuff like applesauce, black-eyed peas and Malaysian food that, until we discovered The Curry Pot restaurant, I had to just deal with.  About halfway through my pregnancy, your Daddy and I watched a show on the Discovery Channel or the like that was all about developing babies and how their tendencies for things like food actually begin in the womb.  I was thrilled to know that you were learning to like all of the stuff I was eating, even if I wasn't wild about it myself.  But was all that really true?  Or was it baloney?  (Which for some reason, I cannot stand anymore. Hmm)

Your fancy first food.
Your first solid food experience was actually pretty cool.  While pregnant, Mommy and Daddy realized that our spoiled, slightly yuppie lifestyle was about to change drastically, so we ate out a lot at our favorite restaurant, Mozaik.  Chef Chris Traylor makes some amazing food, and since he uses some wacky ingredients, we figured we were helping your developing palate.  We joked around that since you were enjoying it so much in-utero, that perhaps he should make your first baby food.  And, that's exactly what happened.  Around your sixth-month-day, we took sweet little you to Mozaik, and Chef made you a puree of green beans.  Ahem.  Haricots verts.  You LOVED it, and from then on, we were on an eating adventure.  There was  hardly a thing that you didn't like.  

A few months and a few teeth later, I got a big shock as it pertained to food.   Daddy and I got last minute tickets to the Tallahassee Food and Wine Festival, and since we couldn't get spur of the moment child care, we took you with us.  I carried you around in the sling, and we wandered from table to table sampling yummies.  At one particular table, I reached for a treat, only to have you take it right out of my hand and start gumming away at it.  You ate it and three more!  Then the server told me what you were eating...  Portabello mushrooms with duck confit with a red wine reduction on a crustini.  Holy cow.  All I could do was pray that you would continue to eat regular food after this delicacy.  

Since that moment, you have continually shocked and amazed me with what you eat.  Most kids your age tend to rotate among things like chicken nuggets, spaghetti and the like.  While you eat those things too, you also enjoy all manner of veggies, black olives, hummus, Indian food, Chinese food, and your all time favorite: Veal Parmesan.  Going back to today's lunch, which prompted this post and trip down memory lane, we went to Subway.  You wanted a tuna sandwich, which is your norm, but then I held you up and you chose your toppings.  You ordered your tuna with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and black olives.  And you ate the whole dang thing.  Come to think of it, the only thing that tops the size of your food variety is the amount of what you eat!  Especially during a growth spurt.  I may just have to start working at Publix.  

Anyhoo.  I'm going to end this post with a few pictures of your most adorable first-foods moments.  It's so neat to look back on these baby days; I may have to do more of these flashback posts.

 Your first spoonful of big boy food, lovingly prepared by Chef Chris Traylor. 
Daddy getting in on the feeding action.  
 Sweet little you, covered in blueberries.  I made almost all of your baby food.  We sorta worked our way around the produce section of Publix.  Then I would steam and puree your fruits and veggies and put them in an ice cube tray.  Those colored ice cubes are one of my favorite food memories.
 Yay for carrots!  Yummy AND fun!
You eating carrots again, but this time diced up.  You wanted to start feeding yourself at a pretty early age.  And you were done with baby food purees at about 8 months old.  Time for more textured and tasty stuff Mom!

Time at the table, and time spent cooking, with you has been a great adventure for the two of us.  You've shown me that even though Mommy might not like a food, it doesn't mean that you won't like it.  And I must say, I do think I've become a little better about eating creatively, since I'm trying to show you that new things are fun and yummy.  We are learning about nutrition together, and it's my hope that you grow up a healthy eater.  Sure, we have treats every now and then, but knowing what it healthy to put in your body is a valuable and important lesson.  

Everything in moderation, little dude, except for how much I love you,
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