We had salad for dinner last night.
All four of us.
Salad and some leftover rice Bill had made the other night.
And everybody loved the meal.
I feel like I need to say “even the kids,” except that I don’t have that problem, for the most part. My kids like their vegetables. Most of their vegetables, anyway. Enough so that if they dislike one or two, I don’t worry about it.
I know. I’m lucky.
Except that I don’t think it’s luck. I think it’s just that we have always grown vegetables, and the kids have always eaten them. Often (as in the case of the very tiny ornamental chili peppers about seven or eight years ago) right off the plant. (Yes, once upon a time, tiny little Alex ate little hot peppers right off the plant. Didn’t phase him a bit. He loves this story.)
Anyway, Bill harvested tatsoi and arugula from our winter garden – those two, and carrots – are about the only things left at this point – and we had a head of romaine in the fridge. We cut up sun dried tomatoes, sliced some ham, the last of the duck prosciutto, some pepperoni, some cheddar and some muenster, offered crumbled gorgonzola, dried cranberries, hard-boiled egg, and for crunch – Chinese noodles. Bill made a vinaigrette. I reheated the rice, and we ate.
The whole make-your-own thing happened because Alex doesn’t like eggs in any form, so I figured we’d put them on the side. And Julia doesn’t like gorgonzola. So…I thought I’d just put everything in little dishes around the main bowl of greens, and we’d all get to use just the add-ins that we liked.
I think that was the main reason the kids were so happy about the salad. They were involved. They had a say about their meal. No one had to have a bite of something they didn’t like. (And yes, I make them eat at least a couple bites of everything I serve.) Alex had seconds and suggested we do make-your-own salads EVERY NIGHT.
I’m thinking no, because there are lots of other foods we like, but once a week would work – it would be something we can look forward to. As the year progresses, we’ll start having baby lettuces again, and fresh asparagus!…and more and more of our favorite vegetables as the spring and summer roll along.
Endless variety. Endless opportunities to be creative.
Truly happy meals. No toy surprise necessary.