Our daughter isn't quite three yet. She's generally a pretty good eater. She's got some quirks, of course. All kids, and I suppose all people, do. Someone convinced her that she doesn't like spicy food. I have my suspicions as to who that might be but I can't prove it. She thinks she doesn't like mushrooms, although she'll eat them quite happily if she can't see that they're in something. She won't eat meatballs unless you tell her that they're beef or chicken or turkey. She's also got some behaviors around food that are really, really irritating but I'm told that they're age appropriate. She loves food and has a fairly adventurous palate but she hates to focus on eating. She doesn't want to stop playing to eat, or stop running around to eat, or stop cuddling to eat. She's creative, so everything around her is a toy. Getting her to eat, especially at dinner time, is a challenge. I was trying to involve her in the process of creating dinner one night. I asked her what she wanted for the starch dish. I said, "Do you want rice?" She said, "Yes. Also I want eggs and peas."
I thought about it for a second. "How about if I put those things into the rice?"
She considered. "Okay."
In the end it didn't help. She preferred to climb, and at one point she was actually sitting on my head. When I did actually coax her into eating it was with bribery and songs: if you eat five bites of the rice we'll sing "You Are My Sunshine." If you eat five more, we'll do "Under My Skin." It works, although it takes forever and if I get another round of the Boston Death Cold she may well starve. At any rate, when she actually did eat she agreed that she really, really liked this fairly basic fried brown rice. I use brown rice because I'm trying to make sure that she gets some nutritional value from the foods she will eat, and frankly I'm trying to minimize the refined starches in our diets in general. The eggs and peas give her even more nutrition than she'd normally accept, so I'm happy with it too.
Sophia's Special Rice (serves 8; approx. $0.91/serving)
2 cups brown basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Ginger Salt
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 pound frozen peas
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- Saucepan with glass lid
- Bring the water to a boil in the saucepan.
- Add the rice and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the water. This is why you're using a glass lid. You can do this well in advance or even the day before.
- When you're ready to do the final product, heat the oil in the wok.
- Add the ginger salt and garlic. Saute about 20 seconds.
- Add the peas. Saute about 10 seconds.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cook about 1 minute.
- Add the rice. Cook until thoroughly re-heated, stirring almost constantly so that the peas, garlic and ginger are well mixed into the rice.
- Make a well in the center of the rice.
- Pour the beaten eggs into the well. Let sit for about 30 seconds.
- Stir the eggs furiously into the rice. Continue to stir-fry until the eggs are thoroughly cooked and the rice is heated through.
- Serve hot.