Skip to main content

Fulfilling Parental Duties: Creating Adventurous Eaters


To celebrate a new school year and to say farewell to Chef Brad (he's leaving to open his own restaurant), Aunt Jenn took us all to La Balena for dinner last night. It's one of our very favorite restaurants and we adore the owners, Anna and Emanuele. As we were leaving Anna gave them hats. They were thrilled though they both did lament, "We can't wear these to school!" It's against their dress codes to have any hats with writing or logos. And, of course, the big one - yes, I do mean my husband - joked, "Where's mine?!?"


While Jenn is one of my oldest and dearest friends, nothing makes me love her more than watching her kids eating adventurously. If you follow my posts at all, you already know that I feel it's our duty as parents to create kids who eat real food; I believe that we, as parents, are responsible for making kids picky eaters. If your kid doesn't eat vegetables, it's because you didn't offer them vegetables...or you allowed them to eat other things instead of the vegetables.

My rule has always been - and Jenn's obviously is also - they eat what we eat. Now that parenting style has its downsides: we have to share!

For several years the boys didn't care for lamb. Jake and I would grill lamb and they would get chicken, beef, or pork. But I had them try the lamb every time. And in the last few years, they have really started to enjoy lamb. So, now, I have to buy twice as much lamb and cringe because chicken, beef, and pork is less expensive. Oh, well. I really am glad they enjoy lamb now.

Back to my story...we settled into our table on the patio and G, who hadn't been to La Balena since he was 4 years old, exclaimed, "I remember this place! They have really good octopus. We're getting the octopus, right?!?" Of course! Back to the downside of creating adventurous eaters - we probably should have ordered two octopus plates.


What comes with the octopus changes with the seasons. This time, it was served with rustic chunks of watermelon, luscious tomatoes, piquant red onions, and seaweed. We battled over every last piece of octopus. In fact, I don't even think Jenn got to try a piece.


"Mom, you're going to order the tripe, too, right?!" asked R. I caught the eye of the man at the table next to us. He smiled. Yes, I will

"Your kids are good eaters, " he commented. It was my turn to smile. 


In addition to the octopus and tripe, we had their roasted cauliflower, sauteed dragon beans, two different salads, a whole roasted fish, ricotta gnocchi, and pasta made with squid ink. The polpettine are always amazing and, again, we probably should have ordered two plates. But we all shared and waited for the parade of deliciousness to continue.


After we had picked the bones clean from the fish, I caught G playing with the fish skeleton and my heart soared. He asked, "Can I eat the eyeball?" Sure. It's important to me that kids know that fish, the food, is actually an animal. It certainly doesn't come in breaded sticks naturally! I know my kids have never had fish sticks. And I doubt that Jenn's have either.


But balance is important and it's not all about whole animals, stomach lining, and fish eyeballs. Before we went, I emailed Anna and asked if they had D's favorite dessert - spumoni bomba. They did. And, unlike the octopus and meatballs, we actually did order two! Little N pointed at the wedges of spumoni with a chocolate shell and declared, "It's a boat!" He was so happy.


Thank you, Jenn, for treating us to a fabulous meal. We'll have to go back again soon. And when Chef Brad opens his place in the Fall, we'll all go. Our treat!!

Comments

  1. Wow, I can see why it is your favorite restaurant. I think it is good to let your kids try different and unique foods. My problem is my husband, while much better than when we first married, fights trying new foods. He wouldn't even look at my snail pilaf and it was amazing!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never tethered...free to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa