I could call it “Miracle on 3rd Street” or “Hannah, Dinner Diva” or “My Tiny Tot Idol”. Every night at about 5:30 at my sister’s house, dinner for three children, ages 4, 5 and 6 is started. By 5:50 it’s ready for the table, and by 6:00 the table is set–with no plastic–for three children who snap out their cloth napkins and belly up for one main, two veg, one starch and a fruit. Lately she was thrown the loop of “no wheat”. Not even a hiccup. The pasta is made from rice, tortillas from corn, and the bread is gluten free.
There is the occassional complaint from one or more of the diners and every so often one of the diners has to be excused to move their breakdown to the other room, but on the whole, everybody sits, everybody carries on polite conversation and everybody eats something. By 6:45 the diners are in the bathtub, and by 7:15 they have themselves dressed in night gear, ready to read.
I have never seen anything like it.
Here is what I noticed to be critical:
2. There were no processed foods used, but nothing had to be cooked longer than 10 minutes
3. A lot on the plate was raw–cut up fruit, carrots, endamame; or steamed–broccoli, zucchini, string beans
4. Everybody gets some of everything
5. Lots of things on the plate, but no variation from one plate to the other.
6. No alternative dinner requests were allowed or provided
7. Reflections are accepted by the kitchen, but not complaints
8. Diners are required to consider all items, but they are not required to finish
Tortillas stuffed with cheese and fried on a griddle (a little bit of olive oil on the griddle–cook one side, then flip)
with apple slices, carrots, endamame
Tiny burgers on toast squares with roasted potatoes and steamed string beans. For dessert–wearable fruit–place raspberries on fingers and then eat them one by one
Chicken skewers with a little salt, olive oil and one piece of onion at each end. Roast in the oven or saute. Served with fresh peach slices, steamed broccoli and yogurt and honey for dessert.
Pasta with butter and parmesan, sliced tomatoes on the side, field greens with pignoli, olive oil and salt.
Turkey tortillas and avocado (sliced turkey meat–you can roast a turkey breast yourself at the beginning of the week. 400 degrees with olive oil and salt. If you have fresh rosemary and garlic add that. Baste every 20 minutes with a little room temp. water til done) Fill tortillas with sliced turkey, shredded cheddar, and smashed avocado (add salt and a bit of lime and lemon). Saute on the griddle with a little bit of olive oil, and then flip.
Serve with grapes.
Omelettes with side of cucumbers, carrots, and whole wheat toast. Melon cubes for dessert.
Dinner for the adults (typically just as simple with a variation of ingredients) happens after all small diners are in bed.