Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Veggie Tales part une

I don't know if I have ever mentioned how much food my kids eat. Some people complain that they have kids that won't eat. Mine don't stop. They are consumed with food and consume it in mass quantities. My oldest is only 11 and I can't imagine how I'm going to keep up with the increasing demand for food once they are teenagers. I think we need to become Freegans. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that my kids love to eat and I love to cook (and love to eat too). So most days it's a perfectly symbiotic relationship. It's just that we go through food so fast it seems as though I live at the store and in the kitchen. Again, on most days I don't mind, at least not in the states where I could get any ingredient I wanted for any exotic dish on a whim. BUT, here in Morocco this process is alot more challenging than back in the states. Can I get those ingredients here? And if I can what the heck would they be called? Where do I get them from the souk, the supermarket or some black market guy I meet by the Kasbah at 10am with the goods? "I got 20 Dirhams did you bring the stuff? You know what I'm talking about.....the Romaine?"

Don't misunderstand, it's not as if my kids just naturally eat anything without whining and say "oh goody mum I can't wait for the kidney pie we're having for dinner, it smells so delicious. Thank you, thank you mummy." (Just as a disclaimer, I have never actually served organ meats and my kids don't talk with an English accent, normally) My dinner time food philosophy is this: I make one healthy dish for dinner. You can eat it, or just have salad (which we had on the dinner table every night in Colorado, here in Morocco it's hit or miss depending on good lettuce availability) or not eat at all. I think on two occasions a child of mine has chosen the not eating dinner option.

I hope that someday my kids will thank me for my adventurous, freakishly pseudo-gourmetish cooking tendencies. Either that or forgive me. I know that if this day ever comes it will be in the very, very distant future or in some other dimension. I'll probably be too old and senile by then to appreciate it anyway and I'll only remember how "fun and fantastic" every second of parenting was (quote marks denote sarcasm here, just for clarification). Some days I would take a little temporary senility, just for an hour maybe once a month. Some moms might prefer a massage. I frankly will take whatever works some days: senility...massage....dark Maybe an elixir of all the above.

So the other day after a morning of never-ending breakfast bar omelet making (where they ate their way through a whole dozen eggs), I was prepping some stuffed peppers. The girls walked into the kitchen and I had the big mixing bowl out which is usually synonymous with cookies, banana bread or some other tasty treat. "Whatcha makin'?" they ask hopefully. I know this will crush them, so I answer through a gritted teeth smile. "Stuffed Peppers", I say trying to exude optimism. "Ugggggghhhhh....we always have stuffed peppers!" Jade says with disdain. It's true. We eat them alot. It's my back up dish, because you can always find peppers here. Sure they may be covered in fruit flies, but you can always find them. Even though they are disappointed I'm happy that I don't have to make a trip to the store to get anything for it. Except, damn it......the kids ate every last egg in the house and now I have to go to #$% @#%^ Label Vie (the nearest and dearest grocery store to my house) to get some $%^&(@# eggs to finish these $%^&*#$ peppers that everyone will whine about eating! %#^@ it!!!

So, I grudgingly (to say the least) run to the store for some %$#%$ eggs. I'm so pissed to have to go mid day when it is insanely busy. And if you have never been to a grocery store in Morocco in the middle of the day, let me assure you it sucks worse than any Walmart story you could ever tell me. I will lose AT LEAST one hour of my life this trip even though I came for one item. From eggs (which are not refrigerated by the way, for you Americans out there), I spot the ridiculously expensive imported asparagus in produce. Suddenly, I don't care how much it costs, how much oil was used to get it from whatever farm it was grown at in whatever country or how many pesticides were used to grow it. I'm buying the &*(^%$*#/2 asparagus! Produce weigher guy thought I was simply weird American chick before, but I'm sure I'm now crazy American chick for buying what is the equivalent of $20 worth of asparagus. I don't care. It's a vegetable emergency!

Now you're asking yourself why would I be so excited over asparagus? If you have asked that question you obviously live in the US where you can get asparagus (or anything else you might crave) anytime you want it . AND you can go through the express lane and be in and out of the store in 10 minutes flat or less. I am so envious! Back to the point, ever since my kids were really little I have made them "Superhero soup", to disguise the fact that it's actually asparagus soup. The charade was over a few years ago when they saw me make it and learned that they really do love asparagus. Now they will TELL you they don't like asparagus, but they slurp down that soup like it's a beer bong at a frat party.

So I chop, simmer and puree to perfection. When the kids get home from school, Jade opens the door and draws in a breath and her eyes get big. "Is that THE soup?" she asks excitedly. "Yup" I say a big smile reserved just for this occasion. I think I would have paid more for that asparagus just to have this moment. Then I start making my favorite whole wheat salmon, goat cheese and corn quesadillas. I made the kids some cheese quesadillas, but when it comes time to eat dinner they actually WANT to try the salmon quesadillas. Strangely, even though my kids would proclaim that they don't like salmon, they love them. Every slurp and every crumb is gone. No leftovers. Damn. While there is no more soup to be slurped, there is the lingering gift of asparagus eaten. If you're an avid asparagus eater you may already know that if you have a variant on your rs4481887 gene eating it will cause your pee to smell way more putrid than pee normally smells. What's more fun than an informal morning after survey in which you get to describe in detail how putrid your pee smells? This is the extra added bonus of asparagus soup for me....errrrrr....I mean my kids.

So what's the moral of the story? I will let you come to your own conclusion via multiple choice:

a. Sometimes expense doesn't matter.

b. Sometimes all that matters is making the whining stop for 10 minutes

c. I was traumatized by my parents who routinely forced me to eat strange and unusual organ meats.

d. If you're senile do you notice that you have funky asparagus smelling pee or do you just not care? (Ok...that was more of a general question.)

e. (Fill in your own answer here.)

And please remember, if your child thumbs their nose up at the dinner that you've made for them please tell them there are starving children in Africa. I can provide our address...


Anonymous said...

I was going to say *#$%^% you for bursting my bubble about Moroccan produce being organic. Then I clicked on the link and read that *only* 33% of Moroccan farms use pesticides, and I'm like, hey, that's a number I can live with! Thanks for the research. I like your writing, you can spin something funny out of a pretty uneventful day, and that is a gift. Your writing reminds me of Catherine Newman's, do you know her?
Carry on, there are only 3 meals x 4 kids x a bazillion days worth of cooking left.
And forgive me if I am taking too familiar a tone in this comment. It's just that, via you're writing, I sort of "get you".
From one Morocco Mama to another.

The Loerzels said...

Thanks! I actually didn't realize those links were down there I couldn't get them to link...or so I thought. So I was saving the pesticide stuff for part deux. Coming soon. Now I'm kinda bummed you know where it's going. Damn. And sorry to burst your bubble. I know it's depressing!


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