Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Keep It Simple, Sister: Beenie Weenies Rock Their Socks
There are some days where I can't put together a well-meaning, sophisticated meal for my tot. Sure...on Sunday I whipped up some ahi tuna steaks with a cracked pepper crust and Caesar salad...but this recent cold, blustery weather has me craving warm hearty meals that radiate warmth into my wide feet.
What can I say about Beenie Weenies? And I'm not talking about the ones with the unnaturally small weenie slices that have a strange, plump center mixed in a tomato slurry. I'm talking about the homemade kind where I boil my own weenies, open my own can of vegetarian beans (thusly, destroying their virtue), adding barbeque sauce and chopped bell peppers and BAM! Let it steep down into one delicious beenie weenie bechamel and you will have your own bourgie babe running to the table.
I knew my bourgie babe was destined for epicurean greatness, even in utero. I craved raw vegetables, well dressed grilled chicken sandwiches, hummus, and all variety of nuts, fish, and Thai food. But her gastronome leanings also lead her to appreciate the charm and bounty of Southern food and nostalgic staples. I remember when I was 2 weeks from delivery and my mother made me a huge pot of chicken and dumplings...she was convinced I had ate so many, Noodle would come out during her birth with one hanging out her mouth and one on her forehead. That would have been awkward, but, fortunately, she just looked like a dumpling in my arms.
As I watched my tot just pour herself over the beenie weenies, giving occasional mmmmm's and oooohhhh's, I was affirmed that my kid's exposure to the finest cuisines at places like Drago's or Byblos hadn't snootied up her palate. She rubbed her feet together and she did happy eating dances and wiggles just as she does whenever we take her out to eat. Obviously, I must be a good cook or I would have been like some moms on the opposite end of the spectrum who have to sue McDonald's in order to get her kids to eat healthy, if at all. A tough NO and the threat of starvation should fix that for ya'.
I always find it funny whenever I go out to eat with snooty types who couldn't imagine eating at a local BBQ haunt but end up swooning over a slow, cooked BBQ bologna sandwich topped with coleslaw. They usually end their gourmand session with, "I love how you Southern folks eat! This was the best meal of my life." It begs the question of whether they are starving at home or too busy laboring over snail shells and harvesting caviar in their basement. We can all admit that the best gourmet food isn't always the best, or well seasoned, or filling. In these lean times in America, we'd threaten the chef with mighty blows if our salad is a mere endive leaf topped with a tablespoon of ceviche and smear of cream sauce aesthetically placed on the plate and we're charged $30 bucks. But it is perfectly fine if your tot knows the joy of ceviche or who has the best charbroiled oysters or that tuna is best served rare to medium or how to spit their food out in the napkin or how to place their fork on your plate to let the waiter know you are done.
Folks, its all about exposure and appreciation; don't be afraid of relatives or friends reprimand of your kid's supposed "bourgie" ways (Texas de Brazil? Commander's Palace? Girl, just take their arses to McDonald's!). After all, it's about keeping it simple, Sister Moms, and cooking homemade meals as often as possible. Yet, its perfectly fine for training your kids to socialize and network in restaurants that are not mass marketed for quick in-and-out meals. Teach your tots balance, otherwise, those nitpicky eaters will throw that cabbage and corn bread back in your face and demand their French bistro inspired meal ASAP.