At breakfast the other day, Lucy put down her fork to make a declaration. “Here are the foods I don’t like, right now,” she said, starting to count on her fingers. Danny and I looked at each other across the table and smiled at each other’s eyes.
“Okay,” I said, putting down my fork. “I’d love to hear.”
“I don’t like mustard.” We knew that. She’s a mayonnaise girl. Mustard is too tangy for her taste. It puckers at the lips and makes you sit up straight. Mayonnaise is smooth, sliding in without much need for attention. We haven’t given her mustard in awhile. Next?
She leaned in toward us, picking up speed now. “I don’t like cabbage.”
For months, we were all eating our tacos on fresh cabbage leaves instead of tortillas. As much as I love a warm corn tortilla, there’s something enticing about a crisp cold cabbage leaf curled around a tangle of hot slow-braised pork with melted cheese and guacamole. (In fact, I’m hungry for one right now.) We started eating our tacos this way last year, when a friend of ours from Mexico told us her family always eats cabbage tacos. The first time we tried them, Lucy looked at me and shouted, “I love cabbage! This is my favorite food.” But her interest in those tacos has been dwindling.
She is six.
“Okay, Lu. No cabbage.” Desmond banged on the white plane of his highchair with a spoon, picking up on her eagerness and wanting to share too.
“Also,” Lu continued. “I don’t like broccoli or chard or cauliflower or kale.” She sat back in her chair with a big exhale, clearly done orating for a bit.
Danny and I looked at each other and shrugged. “You got it, kiddo,” he said. “We’ll keep those off your plate for now.”
Sometimes, I have stories. Often, I have stories. Our daughter is bursting with stories and questions and imaginings and more stories. I listen to her talk about her imaginary brother and his flight to Chicago in the morning to teach a cooking class in a restaurant. Apparently, he’s teaching people how to make spinach and cheese puffs and gumbo. I ask her questions to keep her going and I smile. Since before she was born, Danny and I have been telling her stories and now she’s telling them to us. Goodness.
But today, I don’t really have a story. I mean, I could tell you a story, but at the moment? I know any story would stand between you and this roasted beet salad with dill horseradish vinaigrette that Danny made for us for lunch.
Tofu and I have a long, sometimes fractious relationship. We didnt start off well. When I was in high school, I decided to become a vegetarian. Suddenly disgusted by meat, I announced to my mother that…