The travels on my plate.

There are some advantages to the Doctor in the house being away. Which he is, a lot.

Mealtimes are just for me. Fishfinger sandwiches were one of the first things I ever wrote about on here.

Last night however, was a bit more elaborate. I enjoy my food, relish strong flavours and sometimes a meal can take me somewhere else completely in my head. Yesterday evening had me eating tofu with ginger, pak choi and jasmine rice. It was delicious. The recipe called for Sake, and the heady scent of plums, or is it cherries, took me straight to a Japanese snow covered mountainside.

Somewhere like this...

Somewhere like this…

I have never been to Japan and one day I would love to go. When the silence closes in around me, when the children have gone to bed and the quietness of the house hangs around me like a cloak, I think of places I have been to or might go to in the future. Those ‘glamorous getaways’ that I am sent emails about and that I can only sigh at before pressing the delete button.

Cooking has never been quite the same for me since I had children. My eldest son, at nine, is convinced that most food is actually poisonous. Black bits, green bits, fatty bits, lumpy bits? All qualify food for instant rejection. Don’t even mention fruit. Don’t even talk about it.

Then there is my daughter, who will gnaw on bits of meat like some kind of warrior queen. Provide her with a piece of steak that looks so rare that it is possible that the cow only just walked past the frying pan before ending up on the plate, and you will be greeted with a beatific smile. The little one is somewhere in between the two of them. I can never, ever, make them all happy at once.

Sometimes I like to forget the need to take a deep breath before putting a family meal on the table. Instead of waiting for a vote out of ten, or a thumbs up or down, I will eat a Thai curry with creamy coconut and the twang of kaffir lime leaves, remembering the time I spent in Bangkok in my twenties.

I will smell the rich enveloping fragrance of a lemony, buttery roast chicken and recall Sunday lunches for fourteen at my Grandma’s house, getting slightly tipsy on homemade ginger beer, and being allowed whipped cream from a can on my ice-cream for pudding.

Hand me a paper parcel of fat golden chips and freshly battered cod and I will be instantly transported to a pebbly Suffolk beach, on holiday, the sea so far away from where I am now.

I can’t wait until my children really start to love their food all the time, as sometimes they show me they do. They are missing out. In a world full of diet shakes, calorie counting and low fat, low taste, are you?

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13 thoughts on “The travels on my plate.

  1. Let me say first of all that fish finger sandwiches are one of my…I can’t remember the term…where you like a food, but you’re a bit ashamed to admit it…what do you call that?! Is it guilty pleasures? Anyway, fish finger sandwiches are one of mine too, except with salad cream instead of ketchup; the tang of the salad cream makes it taste a bit like a McDonalads filet-o-fish.

    I sometimes think that my kids are picky eaters, but then I see how some other kids are and I realise they’re really not – the problem I have though is that while they both like and eat a lot of things, they are different things from each other, there aren’t many things that are common ground for both (mostly just pasta is), so that’s why I struggle a bit with mealtimes; quite often I’ll cook them two different things. But they are willing to experiment and so when we go abroad, they are just as excited to explore the local food shops and restaurants as I am which is great!

    • There is them being different, I agree, but one of mine is very definitely a picky eater. I’m so envious of parents who are able to take their children to India (well that full stop, but that’s another issue) and say that they just ate their way round with no problem.

  2. Dang it. Now I am famished……..

    I love your respite. Food is a key ingredient of memory, of experiencing life. I still recall all the foods (legion) I deplored as a child. They will come around eventually. I think a lot of a child’s food dislikes are forms of rebellion. That was true for me, anyway. Now, I will go miles out of the way for a good meal.

    • Haha – what’ll you have?

      I’m afraid in my case, it is karma coming around to get me as I was just as bad as a child. It must make my own mother smile more than a little…. but I have faith that one day he’ll lose his fear.

  3. You have an open invitation to make meals for me. I’ll eat it! I’ll try it – all! šŸ™‚ The good news is that it does get better. I am once again enjoying cooking for my family now that my kids are 19 and 17. They actually eat what I make and enjoy exploring new tastes and recipes. Praise the Lord! šŸ™‚

  4. I’m with Maria! I need to hop on a plane for some of that buttery roast chicken. It sounds like it melts right off the bone. With this much dedication and love in the kitchen, I’m sure your babies will come around. Then, they will be passing down their mom’s recipes! šŸ™‚

  5. I hope you do get to see some of those places that grace your inbox. Traveling is what really made me appreciate a variety of foods. Now I lament the lack of ethnic cuisine available in our small town.

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