Oh my god did I brag.

Like any parent, I balance the self-deprecating act of downplaying how bright/adorable/cute/smart/funny/fill-in-the-blank my kids are with legitimately complaining about their aversions to sleep, cleaning and sharing.

But when it came to food, I was full-stop crowing about my daughter’s love of food. All foods. Every food. She was the daughter of a restaurant critic, she grew up in dining rooms, she was breastfeed while I stared the server in the eyes and ordered Arctic char. She tangled seaweed salad around chopsticks and ate tuna sashimi with the same enthusiasm as gliding down a slide. We once filmed a how-to video of her using injera to pick up the Ethiopian stews circling the platter (for her grandparents use only).

I even wrote an advice piece for Little Sous about how eating out, especially at restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world, trained her to be a “good eater.”

And then I quit my job. And she was stuck with parsnip soup.

I think my 4 year old is having a harder time with the transitions of my new job than I am. I am elated to be at home, cooking for my family, instead of driving to Manassas and Woodbridge and Sterling and eating sometimes great, most of the time just okay, restaurant meals. I treasure being home, in my sweats, playing with turnips and tofu. My husband is thrilled I no longer leave him to put two kids to bed by himself.

But Windsor, she misses our date nights (I’d often leave my husband home with the baby) and the wide variety of foods available throughout any one meal. As a critic, I over-ordered to cover much of the menu, so out of the half-dozen or more items on the table, there was always something Windsor would love. Now we all gather around the same table, every night, usually around one option.

She’s not used to everyone eating the same thing. She’s not used to eating at home, with the lure of toys just steps from the table. And she’s not used to parsnip soup, decorated with crispy, sizzled chickpeas, as the lone edible.

She looks at her bowl. She touches the tip of her tongue to the smidge of soup on her spoon and says, “This is not to my taste.”

I gave her that line. It’s paraphrased from a tweet by the San Francisco chef Pim Techamuanvivit.

Windsor would say things were yucky or gross or some other very preschool-type word. I am trying to put the onus on her for not liking something, not the food. It’s not that this Vitamix-pureed parsnip soup is bad, or I failed at cooking it (which sure, not everything I make is amazing, but my husband and her more selective younger sister liked this soup), it’s that she isn’t appreciating it tonight. And maybe the next time she tries something similar, maybe that could change.


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