No, I am not using this post’s title to refer to a new show on Food Network.
Instead, I am referring to a quiet little war that brews in our house.
It’s a battle between me and my five-year-old.
Here’s the breakdown:
I like making the occasional casserole. I like casseroles because they typically require few pots, pans, and baking dishes (i.e., less clean-up for the win). I like them because they make it easy to sneak veggies onto my kids’ plates. I like them because, while there is great variety in the world of casseroles, they rarely require fancy cooking techniques, and they fit into busy mom-life pretty nicely. Easy to make ahead, easy to store as leftovers. Basically, the benefit list is long.
L., my five-year-old, adamantly dislikes casseroles. I can’t seem to get a straight answer out of him as to exactly why he doesn’t like casseroles. I know it’s not the veggies — he’ll often happily eat whatever veggies I serve. And I don’t think it’s related to the flavors — I try to keep things tasty without being “too adventurous.”
To be honest, I think it has something to do with the fact that in a casserole, all the food is combined into one dish.
L. prefers to have the different parts of his meal — the meat, the veggies, the additional starch or other items — to be conspiciously separated upon his plate. No touching allowed!
And in a casserole…it’s all touching. It’s all intermingled. Quite simply, it’s impossible to separate.
As a result, L. is not pleased.
We’ve fallen into a routine wherein I make a casserole every couple weeks — after days and days of doing the whole “food conspicously separated upon the plate” type of meals. The thing is, 3/4ths of the people who live here actually like the casseroles I make, so I’m not prepared to just give them up because of a certain kid’s food preferences. And yet, despite the fact that we only put very small amounts of the food/casserole on L.’s plate, and despite the fact that the casseroles are so rare, and despite the fact that I truly try to make the meals kid-friendly…L. is still not pleased.
He knows better than to complain loudly about food Mom prepares. But if you could see the look on his face — the look of sadness and distaste and do-I-really-have-to-eat-this-horribly-combined-food — you would see that my attempts at converting him to a casserole-lover are failing.
L.’s preschool teacher has been wonderful about encouraging the kids to try new foods, or even old foods that they think they don’t like. She tells them that tastes change as kids grow, and even if they don’t like something the first time…or the second…or even the third…well, who knows? Maybe they’ll love it the 15th time they try it!
Now, if we tried to explain this same principle to L., he wouldn’t believe us. But he does seem to believe his teacher.
In fact, just last week, L. gave Tomato Soup another try (soup is another “not-so-great” food in L.’s book). After finishing an entire [tiny] bowl of soup, he admitted that this time was definitely better than the last time he tried tomato soup (“Last time I felt like throwing up after I ate it; this time I didn’t.”) See? Improvement.
So I guess I’ll just keep making the occasional casserole, despite any looks of horror they might inspire, and hope that next time…or the time after that…or maybe in the year 2019, L. will finally look at me and say, “You know what? That casserole wasn’t so bad.”