Week Forty Two – Fussy (again)

I know I have written about fussy eaters previously but a few things have happened recently to make me want to revisit the subject.

My brother in law visited with his partner and her children last week. I cooked a mushroom risotto for the adults and pasta in a tomato and garlic sauce for the kids. I made two dishes because the children don’t like mushrooms. They are lovely kids but between the three of them the list of things they don’t like is enormous. If I had to feed them on a regular basis I think I would replace the contents of my store cupboard with pasta and ready made pasta sauces (I think I finally realise why these vile concoctions sell: it isn’t that they are convenient it is that they are so bland even the fussiest of rugrats will eat them).

My brother-in-laws own ankle biter is a tad less fussy although his standard response to being told what he will be served is “I don’t like it”. He can be persuaded the try things though and once he has tasted things he can be surprising: he doesn’t like pasta but liked anchovies when I served them to him in a salad.

On Wednesday last week I was pointed to a piece of research from University College London on the effects of bribing children to eat vegetables they don’t like. It turns out that giving children a reward, even just praise, does make them eat their greens. Or at least less likely to hate them. I especially liked that the researchers (one of whom was my niece) thought about the effects of their research in the home. If you have both fussy and non fussy children social rewards will not create a sense of unfairness.

Of course the other method of getting children to eat food they don’t like is to make them sit at the table until they have cleared their plate. I have a feeling that this might be counter productive though as nobody has ever said to me “My parents sat me at the table and forced me to eat sprouts/swede/brocolli and now I love it.” I doubt the research needed to investigate would get past the ethic committee though.

Talking of fussy eaters brings me to Debbie. One day last week I made Ossobuco and, in homage to Polpetto, decided to make a saffron risotto to go with it. I put the ossobuco in the oven on a low heat before I went to work intending to cook the rice when I got home. Whilst at work it occurred to me that I had a packet of fregula pasta sitting in the cupboard. “Why not make a risotto type of thing with that?” I thought. When I got home I suggested it to Debbie who pulled one of her faces. So I made her a risotto and myself a, well, would it be called a pastotto?

Pasta made like risotto (portions are for a side dish)
1 dribble olive oil
1/2 Onion, diced
1 Stick celery, diced
50g dried pasta (a small type will work best)
1 Splosh of white wine
Hot Stock
1 Pinch saffron (three threads perhaps?)
Grated parmesan

Gently fry the onion and celery until soft then add the pasta and wine. Once the wine has been absorbed add the saffron and then the stock. When making risottos I tend to forgo the “add a bit, wait for it to be absorbed, add a bit more” method in favour of a brisk whisk at the end but as this is an unknown quantity I added the stock a little at a time. I was making a risotto along side this and I noticed that this took more liquid and cooking time. When the pasta is cooked to you liking stir through the cheese.

This is not the frog's spawn you are looking for

I suppose I could have used a rewards system to get Debbie to at least try it but, to be honest, I prefer to use bribes for other things.

This week I lost the half pound that I gained last week. I am currently vacillating between trying to reboot the diet or accepting that I will maintain until spring arrives.

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