I know this happens to you: the kids ask what’s for dinner, you tell them, they groan. Or whine. Or pout. Or lament the lousiness of what you have to offer. Usually the question comes around 4 or 5 PM, when they’re most hungry and ready to have a melt down. I’m sick of it. And I’m most sick of it not because my kids are hard to please at the table. I’m sick of the complaining because it’s not true. On almost every night that they whine and complain, they end up eating dinner happily. So, I know, maybe I shouldn’t be whining myself, but I am really, really sick of the complaining, and climbing that hill of anguish that leads up to the table (we all have our battles). I have taken to doing 2 things to avoid it: 1) Responding “I don’t know” or 2) Telling them in no uncertain terms that they are not getting anything other than what’s on their plate….
So, it was with some trepidation that I made chili on Sunday–the first batch I’ve made in years. It was unfamiliar, to them, & soup type things are not always a hit. So I kept my mouth shut, and warned them not to complain when they sat down. There was corn bread. Which may be their favorite thing on earth right now, so that helped. Still, I was expecting the very worst. Even my husband gave me a hard time for expecting the worst. And I was so very, very wrong. The corn bread was the lure, and the chili was a big hit. So much so that Ella asked if she could bring it to school for lunch (with corn bread of course)–and leftovers for school lunch are pretty much verboten in her mind.
So I offer this story for three reasons, and none of them have to do with chili, because my chili recipe is really nothing special. Heck, I’m not even sure it’s chili. But for what it’s worth: 1) don’t let whining keep you from introducing new food 2) don’t underestimate your kids; they may love something now they didn’t a year ago 3) stick to your guns 4 ) serve corn bread.
- Sautee 1 chopped red onion & 3 cloves garlic & 1 bay leaf
- Add 1 stalk chopped celery, 1 large chopped carrot
- Add 1lb ground beef and sautee until no longer pink
- Add 1 can tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutesto
- Add 1 large can plum tomatoes, 1 can kidney beans, 1/2 cup dark beer, 1-2 Tablespoons chili powder, and enough vegetable juice to make a consistency you like.
- Cook on very low heat for 30-60 minutes, to let flavors blend.
- Serve with cornbread.
And children: This is how you should answer your mother when she tells you what’s for dinner:
Nothing to do with chili, but I have the same dress Ella’s wearing, and I even wore it yesterday. Lol.
Years ago, I read in one of Penelope Leach’s fabulous books about child rearing that one should always put bread on the table to help ease the path to a new food (or to let the kids fill themselves with *something* if they won’t eat the new food). Rice often serves that purpose in our house (as I’ll write about tomorrow) but I still forget this lesson too often; thanks for the good reminder, about bread and so much more!
Love it! And the recipe is so simple too. I think the reverse is also true though, I remember serving Calum chilli when he was a toddler and he absolutely loved it – he used to pop the kidney beans in his mouth like they were jelly beans. The last time I served chill – which was about a yezr ago – he acutally gagged on it. Myabe it’s time to brave up, ignore the whining and serve it again. He also ‘gave up’ lasagne for lent a few years ago (only because it was his least favourite dinner) and now it is back on the favourite list.
I will let you know if I have some success!
Learning To Eat » Archivio » Pan-Seared Tofu and Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
[…] at least something on the table I’m confident the kids will like. Like Lisa using cornbread to ease the way to chili earlier in the week, I usually make sure there’s either bread or rice on the table (our standard rice/quinoa mix) […]