Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Encouragement from a Four-Year-Old

I had a babysitting double header Saturday.  I've already mentioned that the four-year-old I babysit (who told me that night that I can call her "Keeks") has a much more mature palette than I do.  She encouraged me to eat cauliflower after all.

For my morning shift, we ate sausages and toast with Nutella and almond butter.  Nothing too fancy or adventurous.  Also, it was delicious.

When I came back for my night shift, her parents had made fish empanadas.  Keeks was eating a hot dog.  Her mother graciously offered me the empanadas (and a slice of delicious pie).  I diplomatically said, "Cool," but I didn't commit to eating the fish.

After her parents left and I was trying to get her to stop running long enough to eat some hot dog, Keeks said, "I don't like fish."

"I don't like fish, either," I said.

"And that's okay, Kayla!"

I smiled at her enthusiastic acceptance of different tastes.  "You're right."  But would a real grown-up just stop right there?  Fish and chips are alright.  What if empanadas are alright?  "But I'm going to try the empanadas."

There.  Few people hold you accountable for your words like four-year-olds.  Now I had to try them.

I put one on my plate, reminding myself that if I tried this I would have totally earned that delicious pie.  Then I sat next to Keeks.

All that unknown grossness hidden in an inconspicuous pasty.

I broke off a piece and smelled it.  Unsurprisingly, it smelled like fish.  I held it out for Keeks to smell.  "It smells gross," she confirmed.  "You're gonna eat it?"

I sighed.  "Yes.  You should try new things.  So I'm gonna eat it."

"Okay, Kayla.  I'll count to five.  No, ten."

"And then I have to eat it?"

She nodded.  "One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six."  I put the fork up to my mouth and took a deep breath.  "Seven.  Eight.  Nine.  Ten, Kayla!"

I ate it.  It was okay.  It didn't have the texture of a slab of fish.  It was lightly seasoned, which cut down on the grossness.  Not as good as fish and chips, but better than most of the fish I've tried on this blog.

And I ate the whole thing!

"Good job, Kayla."

"Thanks, Keeks.  You need to eat more hot dog."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Change in the List

So last time, I talked about judging Worcestershire Sauce a "Do Not Eat" food without so much as a taste.  Turns out, it's pretty innocent.  But I don't count that as a true shift from the "Do Not Eat" list to the "Totally Eat" list.  That's just another case of my flawed judicial system.

Beans were a food that landed on the "Do Not Eat" list for flagrant crimes against taste buds.  Like I said, they taste like paste.  After burritos made at home and enchiladas ordered at a Mexican restaurant, I've definitely been warming up to beans.  I still wonder if they could be used in art projects, but eating them now seems like a better alternative.

I know.  I barely know who I am anymore.

To put my feelings to the test, I wanted to try Black Bean Burgers.  I wasn't sure how a burger without cow could still be a burger let alone something a person would want to eat.   And there was mustard in it.  But I got Joey on board (he was more willing to give them a go than I was), and off we went on our adventure.

As I was patting the bean concoction into its burger shape, my dad passed through the kitchen.  "Are you baking cookies?" he asked.

"No," my sister answered.  "She's making black bean burgers.  That's what vegetarians eat when they say they're eating burgers."

He looked at my burgers.  "Well, looks like I'm not becoming a vegetarian."

I didn't blame him.  There were oats in the burger.  It didn't read as kosher to omnivores like us.  But that's what made it an adventure.

But how was the final product?

Can you see the oats?  Don't the beans almost look like chocolate chips?  That's why my dad thought they were cookies.

It was pretty delicious.  Like, we're-totally-making-this-again delicious.  The mustard was a bit strong, but other than that I only have praise.  The burger was super filling.  And they were super easy to make.  And the ingredients are cheap.  As someone whose student loans just kicked in, I appreciate food that doesn't put a dent in my student loan fund.

Black beans are officially on the "Totally Eat" list.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Case of Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Joey got a Scottish-American cookbook for Christmas.  We were recently snowed (and polar vortex-ed) in.  We decided to make some recipes from the new cookbook.  The first recipe we made was Bacon and Egg Cups.  Didn't turn out so pretty, but they were delicious.  Next time we'll make the cups prettier so we can get them out of the tin better.  Live and learn, right?

Then Joey sees the recipe for Mince and Tatties.  "We have to make this.  I love mince," he says.

I look at the recipe and see Worcestershire Sauce.  Gross.  I hate Worcestershire Sauce. It is horrible and terrible and I have never actually had it before.

Doesn't it just look dreadful?  Also, maybe it was knocked over and sauce spilled on the bottle....

So I voice how disgusting Worcestershire Sauce to Joey.

"Have you ever tried it?"

"No.  It's gross."

"But how can you know it's gross?"  He's trying to use logic to win the argument!  That cheater!  He also looks so excited to make a mince.  So I give in.  "You'll love it!  It's like Scottish Sloppy Joes!  I promise!"

So we start preparing the mince.  A lot of it is like Sloppy Joes.  But that doesn't make Worcestershire Sauce okay!

Scottish Sloppy Joes?

But if you're making Mince and Tatties, you need tatties to complete the meal.  Luckily tatties are not relate to tats and are in fact potatoes.  We don't have the energy to mash them ourselves nor do we think to make boiled potatoes.  We go for instant mashed tatties from a pouch.

Scottish Sloppy Joes!

Long story short, I owe Worcestershire Sauce an apology.  It's pretty good.  It's quite mild but definitely enhances the flavor of the meat.  Mince and Tatties is a delicious meal and perfect to cook when you are vortex-ed into your house!