Dear to our hearts are the tastes of childhood. For me, chicken and dumplings bring back memories of birthdays, chili is the food of Christmas and New Years, and of course, the almighty turkey and its side dish friends remind me of my favorite secular holiday.
I had looked forward to introducing LO to all the wonders of the Thanksgiving table. While this was not his first Thanksgiving, it was his first turkey day on solid foods. We already knew that he liked smoked turkey legs:So it didn't seem like too much of a stretch to believe the child would embrace all those delicacies that pair so well with turkey: Mashed potatoes! Gravy! Stuffing! Cranberry sauce! Green beans! Freshly baked bread! Sauerkraut! (I grew up in a German area. Just go with it. It's a delicious addition to Thanksgiving).
We got off to a great start. While I was mashing the potatoes, LO came sidling up, wondering what I was doing. I got a spoon and gave him a taste of the mashed goodness.
"More, please!" LO said.
(As a matter of fact, he shrieked loudly while bouncing up and down. I took that to mean "More, please!" because I'd like to think I'm raising a polite young man rather than a monkey who communicates through screeching and throwing items).
He ate mashed potatoes off my sample spoon until he got bored. (LO's attention span is a great deal longer than that of most babies. He can keep at the same thing for up to 0.000000076587654 nanomicroseconds before needing to find something new to stimulate his imagination.)
Once we were ready to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, I put a generous dollop of mashed potatoes on LO's tray to keep him occupied while we dealt with carving, serving, and cat-herding-away-from-turkey. The child put a tentative hand out toward the potatoes, touched them gently, and then flailed violently away from the inoffensive mound of deliciousness as if it were a hissing snake. Apparently, touching the texture of the potatoes caused LO's internal "That looks like food" system to register a rejection. (Keep in mind the fact that this child has eaten dog food. And gone back for more).
I quickly tore off some bread to hand to the child so that we could continue to bring the meal to the table without any unsolicited feline help.
I should note that I have been trying desperately to find a challah recipe that will work for us, as Lafayette is not exactly a community that is bursting at the seams with Jewish bakeries. I had such high hopes for these loaves whose recipe came from LO's "Sammy the Spider's First Shabbat" book. (Side note, since spiders can't be kosher, can they be Jewish?)Sadly, the beauty of these loaves was not borne out by their taste. They are dry, as if they'd come out of the oven pre-stale for our convenience.
The child who said a big fat no to the mashed potatoes got busy gnawing on the stale-tasting bread. No accounting for taste.
After going around the table and sharing what we were thankful for (LO: Ba! Babababaaba! Ba! We're not sure what he meant, but he was quite emphatic about it), I tried to interest LO in some turkey. No dice. Similar reaction to stuffing. He consented to hold a green bean before throwing it to the ground.
At this point, all the child had eaten was some bread for his Thanksgiving dinner, and I was a little concerned about him going hungry on the most gluttonous day of the year. That would be downright anti-Amurrican! So I got him a Fig Newton to tide him over until I could put together some of the foods I know he'll eat.
"Try some cranberry sauce," J suggested.
Since cranberry sauce is a food that one only gives to a small child if one plans on immediately bathing said child and moving out of the house in which the cranberry sauce was eaten, I spread a thin layer on a piece of challah and passed it over.
"More, please!" LO said. (See above).
All told, LO ate an enormous dollop of cranberry sauce, a hunk of stale bread, and a Fig Newton for his first Thanksgiving. How dear to our hearts are the tastes of our childhood holidays...