I used to be dreadful with accepting change. Having a child, I am now a roller-with-the-puncher, a flyer-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal; the parent of an utterly astounding kinder. I always knew having a child would change my life. I knew that having a child would probably change the way I ate and the way I cooked – for myself as well as for him. I knew I would be the type of A-personality mum who made her child’s food with both gratification and determination…it’s purely who I am. Remember: I’m not good with change.
I just don’t think it ever dawned on me how thrilled I would be on the day my son ate something I had made for him. When he clapped his hands in excitement and smiled a heart-felt grin at me in appreciation when the food was ready. Or that when I put his dinner on the table and he exclaimed, “Mama, you made this? By yourself? It is good”, just how much those words would tug at my heart strings. And amazingly, all this was in reference to real food – not macaroni or chicken fingers. Food, with a capital “F”, that required prep time and cooking and spicing and even, dare I say it… presentation.
And lo the Domestic Baby was born and henceforth he shall be named “Leith” and he shall be called “Leithy” and “Leith-o the Potato” by his mother – mainly just to bug him.
My son is a foodie – at the ripe old age of nearly 4!. He knows the difference between the boring low-fat cheese that mummy eats sometimes to make sure her jeans will continue to fit and the really good, well-aged cheddar she chops up for him to eat with his lunch. He is well versed in the sweet, salty, hot, sour paradigm and loves the flavours with vim and vigor. He has a weakness for chopped tomatoes in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper, and adores hummus and baba ghanouj. This child will eat onions and broccoli and cauliflower. He won’t snub fish or chicken or lamb or beef and loves him some beef bacon, freshly fried, next to two, perfectly runny, sunny-side up eggs. And best of all – and this is the thing that makes my heart sing – he loves his mama’s cooking. Shepherd’s Pie, Turkey Burgers, Roast Chicken in Tomato-Basil Sauce and oh, please don’t you dare forget about mama’s Spaghetti and Meatballs.
I knew I could cook before I had a baby – of course I could cook. And I knew I enjoyed cooking for other people, it was just who I was. But now, I plan out meals that the two of us can eat together – that King Leith-o can eat and enjoy and expand his already blooming palate with. It was a challenge at first but now it comes as second nature to cook something he will eat and I will enjoy. It’s amazing, really…and something I had never expected would bring me such complete and unreserved delight.