Now we have picky eater syndrome.
She doesn't like meat at all. She eats chicken but only if it's boneless, skinless breast, baked, with no visible seasonings. We used to be able to feed her on black beans if all else failed, but now she won't eat those because of the texture of the skins. She won't eat most vegetables. She won't eat American cheese or string cheese, though she will eat a very expensive two-year aged cheddar. I know a lot of you have empathy for our plight regarding feeding her, so now I'm going to trump you.
We keep kosher. So that means: no dairy with meat. No cheese on chicken. No butter to bake the chicken. No seafood. No non-kosher meat, so no chicken nuggets in a restaurant. Can you feed your picky eater without chicken in restaurants? Because mine won't eat tomato sauce or long noodles, either. And she doesn't like mac and cheese unless it's homemade (not that that inherently displeases me at all).
During a regular week she lives mostly on fruit: apples, raspberries, strawberries, mangoes and banana. She eats slices of baked chicken breast every day. And she rounds out her daily diet with that expensive cheddar and crackers. It's not really a bad diet at all, although I wish there was something green in it.
But now, let's make it more complicated. Passover starts tonight. The fruit is still okay. The baked chicken is still okay. But I can't get that cheese kosher for Passover, and crackers are out. It could be a long, long week.
Ever since I began writing for DC Metro Moms, I've been eligible to receive some fun new books every month. This month we got Annabel Karmel's Top 100 Finger Foods and Top 100 Baby Purees. Now E, the child who won't eat anything, she loves to flip through a cookbook and decide, based on the pictures, what we should make. I have a rule that I agree to anything she wants to make because I am constantly trying to expose her to new foods with the hope of re-expanding her palate. (It's working, too: in just these last three months she's decided she likes pizza again. You must understand that that's a huge victory.) Because of the strictures of keeping kosher we often can't follow a recipe exactly, so we modify it. There's a second lesson here I love to expose her to, and that is that like her mama, she doesn't come to flexibility naturally. So we practice.
So now we have these two new beautiful cookbooks and E wants to play in the kitchen. Let's make this, she says enthusiastically. She points to "Italian Soldiers," which are breadsticks wrapped in prosciutto. We can't use ham, but we'll wrap them in corned beef or tofu bacon or something. So I agree: "sure thing, love." Ooh, let's make this! Let's bring this book to Grams's and make this at her house for Passover! She's looking at Karmel's "Welsh 'Rabbits,'" a take on Welsh rarebit made to look like a bunny face through the clever placement of fresh peas, some chives and a black olive. Welsh rarebit is little more than cheese toast, and I think we can do that on matzah. More or less, anyway. But she wants to play in the kitchen again, so naturally I agree. "We'll make that, too!"
Who knows. Maybe she'll even eat it.