Today, one of my children dry heaved at lunch. He wasn’t sick, either. He just didn’t like the food.
The other kids hated the meal just as much, but, with the reward of a peanut butter apple dangling over their heads, they plodded onward, using their bits of rationed toast (“no more until your soup is all gone!”) to scoop up the bits of pasta and spinach.
However, when the gagging happened, I threw in the towel. They were mostly done anyway and I was sick of playing The Evil Witch. The chickens got the dregs and the kids got their apples.
I suppose I should feel guilty that my kids suffer through their meals so. Many people think it’s ridiculous, wrong even, to make children eat something they don’t like. I don’t feel any remorse, though. Just prickly irritation. Dagnabbit, you ungrateful wretches, THIS IS GOOD FOOD! Buck up and eat it and don’t forget to kiss my feet and say thank you when you're done!
(For the record, I regularly make my kids eat foods they don't prefer, such as—and it depends on the child—dried beans, peas, squash, stewed apples, semi-burnt toast crusts, tomato chunks, egg casserole, oatmeal, potato peels, etc. Foods I choose not to push include peanut butter, dark chocolate, burnt toast crusts, kale, mushrooms, meat, pie, polenta, and grapefruit. Don't waste time trying to find a rhyme or reason because there mostly isn't one. Also, if you have any brilliant food-and-kid policies, feel free to share.)
I loved the soup. Loved, loved, loved it. It fed my soul.
But after our tumultuous lunch, I started to feel like maybe I was weird for liking it, so I looked the recipe up on-line again, this time checking the comments. Everyone raved about it which made me feel better.
Clearly, my kids are the weird ones, not me. I will never doubt myself again.
Nor will I try to feed them this soup for a very, very, very long time.
Spinach Lemon Orzo Soup
Adapted from sprinkledwithflour’s recipe on the Tasty Kitchen Blog
This soup is bright and flavorful and spicy and alive. I think the kids were reacting to the textures more than the tastes. They’d probably like it just fine if I used shell pasta and broccoli in place of the orzo and spinach. A bit of ground sausage (or shrimp!) wouldn’t hurt either.
a hearty drizzle of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ample cup orzo
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, drained
6 cups chicken broth (part of which can be water)
1-2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the lemon zest, red pepper and thyme and stir for a couple minutes. Stir in the orzo and spinach and toss around until heated through. Add the broth, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is nearly tender. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the soup. Cook for several more minutes. Taste to correct seasonings before ladling into bowls and sprinkling with Parmesan. Serve with buttered toast.
This same time, years previous: kiddling shenanigans