The saucy gourmand

by DaniGirl on February 27, 2007 · 42 comments

in Ah, me boys

Dinner last night was spaghetti. I like spaghetti, Beloved likes spaghetti, the boys like spaghetti. Spaghetti is cheap, healthy, and so easy to cook even I can’t screw it up (although I’m not so good with the quantity thing. We either have too much spaghetti and not enough sauce, or too much sauce, or enough spaghetti and sauce to feed a platoon.) We eat spaghetti for dinner every single week.

So, as I said, dinner last night was spaghetti. Actually, it was spaghettini, because they were sold out of the whole wheat spaghetti. It’s okay, I have a modicom of flexibility. I can deal with spaghettini instead of spaghetti – it just takes less time to boil the snot out of it. And even though it was a weeknight, we even had sauce with meat because spaghetti sauce is one of the few foods the ONLY food I ever even think to make in bulk and freeze, like all those magazine articles about organizing your life suggest you ought to do.

We had a salad, too, because I loves me a salad with my spaghetti, but truth be told, the salad was a little on the pathetic side. I only had about a cup of leaves left in the bottom of the box (what, you don’t buy your lettuce by the box? It’s so much better than the stuff in the bag, I kid you not) so when I tossed on a can of mandarin slices and some almonds, I think the mandarins and almonds outweighed the leafy bits by about two to one.

So we had spaghetti, and salad. I put some pasta in the bowl for Tristan, and gave it a spritz with the Becel non-fat butter substitute (again you laugh, but I’m telling you, that stuff is good!) and cut his spaghettini into manageable bites. It’s at this point in the story that I have to make clear the point that nothing even remotely resembling sauce may touch Tristan’s pasta. Butter, margarine, and various oil product imposters may be added in small quantities, and parmesan cheese will be added liberally by Tristan himself and ONLY Tristan himself. But for the love of all things holy, do not even attempt to sully his noodles with sauce. This has been the lay of the land in our family since he was old enough to hurl a bowl of pasta right back at the chef, and we’ve come to an entente (an al dente entente, matter of fact) under which we all can live happily.

Simon, on the other hand, likes his spaghetti sauced. It’s messier that way, you know. And frankly, adding a spoonful of sauce to one bowl and a spritz of non-butter substitute to another is not so much of a stretch of my culinary capabilities.

And so we sit down to eat, Beloved and I and even Simon with our proportional bowls filled with noodly, saucy goodness, and Tristan with his bowl of plain pasta. That’s when Tristan upset the balance of the universe forever by asking, “Can I have some sauce?”

After a moment of stunned silence, and a few very slow blinks on my part, I stuttered, “Um, sure. You mean, like, on your pasta?”

“Yeah!” he replied brightly. “Sauce! On my pasta!”

Now, it just so happens that yesterday was one of those days that I made enough pasta to feed Outer Mongolia, so I knew there was leftover spaghettini in the collander, should this be some sort of nefarious plot on Tristan’s part to get out of eating his dinner. So I put a small spoonful, really more of a dollop, carefully on the pasta in his bowl and brought it back to him. And damn if he didn’t eat every last speck of sauce, and ask for more half way through the bowl. And then he finished that off and asked for more pasta and more sauce, and I started scanning the kitchen for hidden cameras, wondering when the ghost of Allan Funt was going to leap out and accost me.

And through it all, Tristan the Notoriously Fussy Eater, the boy who insists YOU pick off the bits of the pizza he doesn’t like, including the toppings and the cheese and the sauce, the boy who once barfed up an entire meal because I forced him to eat a single green bean, this boy of mine regaled us throughout the meal with an ongoing Ode to Sauce.

“I love sauce, Mommy! It’s really great! Mmmm, it’s so good, this sauce. I could eat sauce every day. I really really love sauce, Mommy! It’s a little bit great.”

Tomorrow, he’s getting spaghetti sauce on ham for dinner, and the next night I’m going to whip up some mashed potatoes and roast beef – with sauce. This mothering thing, it’s all about going with the flow, and apparently what’s flowing is sauce.


{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bex February 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm

That’s HILARIOUS! I had to chuckle, cuz growing up, while I was the notorious picky eater (potatoes only mashed-no other way, canned veggies-never frozen!, and PC honey lemon chicken over any sort of fish), my brother was the one who would have plain spaghetti with butter/margerine and parmesean cheese. I do believe at the age of 24 he has grown out of this. And I too have grown out of the picky-eater syndrome- frozen corn is now my favourite side dish, with simply boiled potatoes with a dallop of sour cream and escargots are my favourite food on the planet (drenched in butter and garlic and cheese of course).

2 Bex February 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm

That’s HILARIOUS! I had to chuckle, cuz growing up, while I was the notorious picky eater (potatoes only mashed-no other way, canned veggies-never frozen!, and PC honey lemon chicken over any sort of fish), my brother was the one who would have plain spaghetti with butter/margerine and parmesean cheese. I do believe at the age of 24 he has grown out of this. And I too have grown out of the picky-eater syndrome- frozen corn is now my favourite side dish, with simply boiled potatoes with a dallop of sour cream and escargots are my favourite food on the planet (drenched in butter and garlic and cheese of course).

3 suze February 27, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Oh my that is so funny. But considering that I am also notorious for suddenly liking (and sometimes, even LOVING) foods that I previously detested (for example, mushrooms, which only last week became delicious to me as opposed to repulsive) I can understand where Tristan is coming from. Our tastebuds change…
Hope the saucy goodness continues šŸ™‚

4 suze February 27, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Oh my that is so funny. But considering that I am also notorious for suddenly liking (and sometimes, even LOVING) foods that I previously detested (for example, mushrooms, which only last week became delicious to me as opposed to repulsive) I can understand where Tristan is coming from. Our tastebuds change…
Hope the saucy goodness continues šŸ™‚

5 Loukia February 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Ahh, picky eaters! I have officially had several mild heart attacks this year alone since sometimes, dinner with my toddler can be such a struggle I want to die. Some nights, he pushes away the spoon before even trying what is on the plate. It makes me crazy! Lately, though, and knock on wood, he’s been a good little eater – and it is because he loves feeding himself now! Finger foods are what he loves eating now. And I try to keep it healthy, but you know how it is. Yay for Tristan eating and loving his sauce!

6 Loukia February 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Ahh, picky eaters! I have officially had several mild heart attacks this year alone since sometimes, dinner with my toddler can be such a struggle I want to die. Some nights, he pushes away the spoon before even trying what is on the plate. It makes me crazy! Lately, though, and knock on wood, he’s been a good little eater – and it is because he loves feeding himself now! Finger foods are what he loves eating now. And I try to keep it healthy, but you know how it is. Yay for Tristan eating and loving his sauce!

7 twinmomplusone February 27, 2007 at 4:33 pm

ohh, the ebbs and tides of motherhood!
you really made me chuckle as you described by very own baby boy to a “T” till you got to the part about wanting sauce. We are still awaiting that one šŸ˜‰ And the funny thing here is he will NOT eat sauce, not even plain tomato one YET he puts ketchup on EVERYTHING else, weird

8 twinmomplusone February 27, 2007 at 4:33 pm

ohh, the ebbs and tides of motherhood!
you really made me chuckle as you described by very own baby boy to a “T” till you got to the part about wanting sauce. We are still awaiting that one šŸ˜‰ And the funny thing here is he will NOT eat sauce, not even plain tomato one YET he puts ketchup on EVERYTHING else, weird

9 Critter Guy February 27, 2007 at 5:38 pm

For me it was (and still is?) ketchup on rice. Now wait a sec….think about it. What is rice but simply tiny pieces of pasta? And ‘sauce’ is basically glorified ketchup! So it does have some logic to it…..right?
And Suze…you mentioned ‘Our tastebuds change…’. Oh yah, pre-15 years old I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of beer. Now?
MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm….BBBBBEEEEEeeeerrrrrr……..

10 Critter Guy February 27, 2007 at 5:38 pm

For me it was (and still is?) ketchup on rice. Now wait a sec….think about it. What is rice but simply tiny pieces of pasta? And ‘sauce’ is basically glorified ketchup! So it does have some logic to it…..right?
And Suze…you mentioned ‘Our tastebuds change…’. Oh yah, pre-15 years old I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of beer. Now?
MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm….BBBBBEEEEEeeeerrrrrr……..

11 Phantom Scribbler February 27, 2007 at 6:26 pm

šŸ˜†
(Wipes eyes.)
It was the “al dente entente” that really got me.

12 Phantom Scribbler February 27, 2007 at 6:26 pm

šŸ˜†
(Wipes eyes.)
It was the “al dente entente” that really got me.

13 cinnamon gurl February 27, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I’m a capellini girl myself… can’t spaghetti… too many memories of bad cafeteria spaghetti.

14 cinnamon gurl February 27, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I’m a capellini girl myself… can’t spaghetti… too many memories of bad cafeteria spaghetti.

15 Mel February 27, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Oh please, please, please, send him to my house and have him teach this lesson to my son.

16 Mel February 27, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Oh please, please, please, send him to my house and have him teach this lesson to my son.

17 alison February 27, 2007 at 7:18 pm

I can *so* relate. I’ve lived this with Leah, the uber-pickiness. But wait, we just recently made the Hamburger Breakthrough. Sure, it’s only been two McDonalds hamburgers so far, but someday…someday it might lead to the eating of shepherd’s pie, and spaghetti with meat sauce, meatloaf, and lasagna. I can dream, can’t I?

18 alison February 27, 2007 at 7:18 pm

I can *so* relate. I’ve lived this with Leah, the uber-pickiness. But wait, we just recently made the Hamburger Breakthrough. Sure, it’s only been two McDonalds hamburgers so far, but someday…someday it might lead to the eating of shepherd’s pie, and spaghetti with meat sauce, meatloaf, and lasagna. I can dream, can’t I?

19 Madeleine February 27, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Oh Dani, Dani, Dani.
Now we know where you went wrong in your dishwashing saga. Never leave pasta in the colander. Srubbing the little pasta-starch windows out of all those little dots will make you lose your mind! Dump drained pasta into the pot (much easier to scrub) and rinse colander immediately in hot water.
You’re welcome šŸ˜‰ And congrats on the widening culinary horizons!

20 Madeleine February 27, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Oh Dani, Dani, Dani.
Now we know where you went wrong in your dishwashing saga. Never leave pasta in the colander. Srubbing the little pasta-starch windows out of all those little dots will make you lose your mind! Dump drained pasta into the pot (much easier to scrub) and rinse colander immediately in hot water.
You’re welcome šŸ˜‰ And congrats on the widening culinary horizons!

21 Meg February 27, 2007 at 9:44 pm

I just keep giving my girls different foods. Eventually they surprise you and gobble it all down-usually when they are hungry!

22 Meg February 27, 2007 at 9:44 pm

I just keep giving my girls different foods. Eventually they surprise you and gobble it all down-usually when they are hungry!

23 Kerry February 28, 2007 at 12:28 am

I can totally see Tristan babbling on about how much he loves sauce. No really? I have a perfect image of it in my head. SAUCE!!!

24 Kerry February 28, 2007 at 12:28 am

I can totally see Tristan babbling on about how much he loves sauce. No really? I have a perfect image of it in my head. SAUCE!!!

25 Ingrid February 28, 2007 at 1:13 am

Have you read “Bread and Jam for Frances”? It’s a cute story about a badger who eats only bread and jam until one night at supper she has..guess what… and the rest of the family has spaghetti and meatballs. She suddenly doesn’t care much for the bread and jam and loves the spaghetti and meatballs. Damian now often asks for spaghetti and meatballs based on that story – although definitely NO sauce!!

26 Ingrid February 28, 2007 at 1:13 am

Have you read “Bread and Jam for Frances”? It’s a cute story about a badger who eats only bread and jam until one night at supper she has..guess what… and the rest of the family has spaghetti and meatballs. She suddenly doesn’t care much for the bread and jam and loves the spaghetti and meatballs. Damian now often asks for spaghetti and meatballs based on that story – although definitely NO sauce!!

27 BubandPie February 28, 2007 at 1:25 am

The same thing happened here last night, only with scrambled eggs (cleverly nicknamed “scramblers” by my husband in case Bub decided to continue his lifelong pattern of flatly refusing to eat eggs). Halfway through dinner, Bub looked up happily and announced, “I love scramblers!”

28 BubandPie February 28, 2007 at 1:25 am

The same thing happened here last night, only with scrambled eggs (cleverly nicknamed “scramblers” by my husband in case Bub decided to continue his lifelong pattern of flatly refusing to eat eggs). Halfway through dinner, Bub looked up happily and announced, “I love scramblers!”

29 Shan February 28, 2007 at 3:16 am

Oh my that was funny.
We have a bit of a fussy eater here ourselves and I have spent many a dinner hour scraping toppings off pizza. Which drives me crazy because they have pizza day once a week at school. Everybody gets pepperoni pizza and she eats it. She comes home every week and tells me how she ate her whole pizza even the pepperoni. And here at home we’re still scraping the toppings off.
She does promise me that she’ll try new foods when she’s older. Now that she can print her name I should get it in writing.

30 Shan February 28, 2007 at 3:16 am

Oh my that was funny.
We have a bit of a fussy eater here ourselves and I have spent many a dinner hour scraping toppings off pizza. Which drives me crazy because they have pizza day once a week at school. Everybody gets pepperoni pizza and she eats it. She comes home every week and tells me how she ate her whole pizza even the pepperoni. And here at home we’re still scraping the toppings off.
She does promise me that she’ll try new foods when she’s older. Now that she can print her name I should get it in writing.

31 trixie February 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm

You’ve hit on a universal story, it seems– and it’s a great read! Yes, sounds a lot like Sam’s staunch resistance and then sudden about faces (in either direction). You need add only the fact that he will then usually produce a revisionist history to argue that he’s only ever liked pasta with sauce, and that we must be thinking of some other child when we comment on his “new” favourite foods. He’s so convincing, I’m half-reminded of the novel 1984 — aren’t we rationing sugar? war with Oceania? Two plus two equals five, and Sam has always liked pizza toppings. Great post!

32 trixie February 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm

You’ve hit on a universal story, it seems– and it’s a great read! Yes, sounds a lot like Sam’s staunch resistance and then sudden about faces (in either direction). You need add only the fact that he will then usually produce a revisionist history to argue that he’s only ever liked pasta with sauce, and that we must be thinking of some other child when we comment on his “new” favourite foods. He’s so convincing, I’m half-reminded of the novel 1984 — aren’t we rationing sugar? war with Oceania? Two plus two equals five, and Sam has always liked pizza toppings. Great post!

33 Kim February 28, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Love it!

34 Kim February 28, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Love it!

35 BeachMama February 28, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Ooh, I am waiting for that day when J decides he wants sauce again!

36 BeachMama February 28, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Ooh, I am waiting for that day when J decides he wants sauce again!

37 Chantal February 28, 2007 at 2:45 pm

I went out and bought that Becel spritz stuff. All because of you! šŸ˜‰

38 Chantal February 28, 2007 at 2:45 pm

I went out and bought that Becel spritz stuff. All because of you! šŸ˜‰

39 DaniGirl February 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Chantal – try it on popcorn. Yummy!

40 DaniGirl February 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Chantal – try it on popcorn. Yummy!

41 Tanya March 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

You have given me hope!! The three-year-old won’t even eat plain pasta, let alone pasta with sauce. Maybe someday he’ll surprise us and ask to eat some normal food!

42 Tanya March 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

You have given me hope!! The three-year-old won’t even eat plain pasta, let alone pasta with sauce. Maybe someday he’ll surprise us and ask to eat some normal food!

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