Feeding Junior

From the minute Ferdinand was born, I have been consumed with What Ferdinand Eats and Is Ferdinand Eating Enough?  To say, “Hey, don’t worry about it” is ridiculous.  It’s akin to saying, “Your baby will float” to a mother in a windstorm, in a dinghy, in the middle of the ocean.  Even being in the privileged position of having a grocery store and enough money to buy the groceries, can leave you unable to sleep.  Out of your grasp and in the clutches of a school cafeteria or grandmother, the child’s main food group can easily become air or chocolate or chips.  Then there are the fun facts like, our children are part a generation that for the first time is predicted to die at an earlier age than their parents because of diet related issues like diabetes and that their food sources are plagued with antibiotics and super strains of corn that are not digestible.  It’s a problem.  Here is what I do; you let me know what you do:

1.  Homemade stock is a winner.  Science has proven it’s good for you.  There is no science backing up dusty old stock cubes that have a shelf life of many years.  God knows what goes in stock cans or long-life chicken stock boxes.  Make some at some point in the week and you will only feel good.  Start with (organic if you can) chicken soup bones or wings and add a leek, an onion, a garlic clove, a bay leaf, a thyme sprig, a parsley sprig, a carrot and a celery stalk. None of these things go bad too quickly, so put them on your grocery list if you don’t have them.  Simmer for at least an hour or even two as soon as come home and then strain and use or freeze.  Use for chicken soup (cook a chicken breast or thigh right along with the rest of the stuff, once the stock has been simmering for at least  half an hour) or ladle out  into a smaller pan and cook single serving pastas in it (add peas and parmesan.)

2.  Dried beans are best, but in a pinch, canned beans rinsed, and added to a finely chopped, sauteed onion with a little parsley and coriander (and hot stuff like chile in adobe sauce if they like it hot) are great smashed with a fork and served with rice and a stack of warm tortillas.  Toss broccoli with olive oil and salt and roast at 375 degrees until bright green to serve along side.

3.  Make a pound of meatballs, serve some that night with a little tomato added to them for sauce, and a quick cooking polenta and save (or freeze) the rest of the meatballs to serve with pasta or sliced on a sandwich.  They are good for a snack.

4.  Potato and leek soup can have spinach added and eaten as long as the whole thing is pureed.  (saute one bunch of leeks and add four big peeled, chopped potatoes, cover just to the top with water and simmer til tender.  Right at the end add a few good handfuls of washed baby spinach leaves.  Puree.)  Top with hand grated parmesan cheese

5.  Serve a bowl of frozen peas and corn with a little butter and salt for a snack while dinner is getting ready.  Carrot sticks with hummus or blue corn chips and salsa, or (all natural, no sugar) peanut butter and celery, apple slices, pear slices, a banana or a bowl of plain yogurt with a drizzle of real maple syrup.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will not find it’s way into your grocery cart if you don’t put it in there. Doritos–same thing.  Don’t feel bad about not buying them.  Your child is going to have plenty of opportunity to find and eat these things outside of your kitchen.  When it’s not around, they won’t get in the habit of making those things a meal.
6.  Buy a whole chicken, set the oven to 375 degrees, drizzle the thing with olive oil, give it a grind of salt and pepper and stick it in the oven.  You can eat this for dinner, for sandwiches, to put in soup, on top of a cracker with an avocado or in tortillas with red peppers and onions.

7.  For treats I buy really good chocolate in bulk and Ferd has a small chunk.  Prime their taste buds.  I bake cookies, because there is just so much time for that kind of thing, which makes it unlikely that there will be pounds and pounds of them hanging around.  Plus, it’s something to do together.  I buy good ice cream that has only ingredients that Ferd can read and identify and I give less because it’s expensive.

8.  I buy cereals from the health food section of the grocery store, which used to be embarrassingly similar to cow feed, but now come in zippy boxes and tasty flavors.  (Kashi is a good brand)  He has a bowl of cereal with milk almost every night before he goes to bed.

9.  For breakfasts there are wholesome pancake mixes around or you can make your own, or yesterday’s bread soaked in a little egg and milk for French toast or whole oats for oatmeal (too many ingredients in the instant packets) which is easy enough to make–boil water, add oats and a pinch of salt.  A bowl of yogurt with banana topped toast and on Sundays we go all out and get bacon that has no nitrates or nitrites and fry it up.  It tastes like it came from a farm.

That’s what he eats.

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