twenty four may


 

My Daughter, the Foodie

The Pies by Bink

Bink loves food. In fact, her relationship with it goes far beyond what tastes good and satisfies her hunger. She loves looking at cookbooks, finding recipes on the computer, and watching cooking shows. The painting subject she selects for her weekly art class is often something edible. The paintings on our walls at home, and the stacked finished canvases along the baseboard in the living room, depict pies, ice cream sundaes, candy apples, oysters, brie cheese, jars of pickles, and other things that make her mouth water.

She enjoys cooking and baking. Although she needs the substantial assistance of another adult and takes frequent breaks, her enthusiasm about picking recipes and helping to make them is always high.

One of my favorite observations about this love affair Bink has with food is the photography it’s generated. The girl takes pictures of everything she eats, or finds appealing. That “everything” means every rendition. If she tastes her own meal or snack and finds it lacking, she has learned to say, sometimes, that it needs more salt, or sweet, or some vinegar. Once the missing taste is added, she’ll take another picture. The food on her plate may look exactly the same as it did a few moments before, but to her it is quite new.

A definite omnivore, my daughter wouldn’t dream of eating pedestrian fare like hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, or chicken nuggets. I certainly have no problem with her avoidance of those foods, and I do celebrate her widening palate. When she was three years old, she went through a phase where she would eat only blueberries and dry Cheerios. Neither is on her Yes list now. So, what does she eat?

Bink is attracted to the spicy, the sweet, the pungent, and the pickled. In her relatively short life, she’s enjoyed an enormous variety of comestibles that you’ve likely never granted transport across your own lips. She once had Ostrich Carpaccio with her father when she was about ten years old. She loved it, as she has also relished occasional octopus, eel, braised rabbit, many kinds of lamb, a rainbow of pickled plant life, anchovies prepared a number of ways, and a small variety of dried spiced crickets. She salivates at the thought of raw oysters and enjoys Teriyaki seaweed and ostrich jerky as a snack, when available. Very, very few of those things have made it onto my plate.
Most ethnic foods are yesses, especially Indian, Moroccan, and Japanese. She also loves many of the Korean delicacies her dear Aunt Young makes for her. Think homemade Kkaennip Jangajji (pickled Perilla leaves) and Japchae ( spicy glass noodles with vegetables).
Over the years, I’ve honed my cooking skills to suit her palate. Eggplant, bell peppers, smoked duck, goat cheese, and the above-mentioned lamb, are generally high on my own list of Will Not Eat. Still, I can handily transform them into dishes with an Indian, Chinese, or Japanese twist for my gourmet daughter.

Bink takes her lunch to her day program most days, and we plan those lunches together. On Saturdays, she’ll decide what she’d like to have for her lunches during the following week. We shop for the ingredients on Sundays, and cook more or less together most Sunday afternoons. Bink favors warm lunches, so typically she’ll take a lidded ceramic container of soup or stew, along with a side of something pickled or some sticky rice chips, and water. Yesterday morning, however, we had to cobble together a cold lunch, as her day program was headed to Newport, Rhode Island, wouldn’t be back in time for her to heat her lunch. She and I managed with anchovy fillets, some of my recent batch of zucchini pickles, Kalamata olives, and some coconut sticky rice chips, each of those foods nestled into a little Tupperware container. The beverage is always water, which makes it easier.

One of Bink’s quirks is that her food preferences can turn on a dime. When she requests something, it can come from memory, or from perusing cookbooks and The Food Channel. Sometimes, she’ll get very excited at one of my (or our) creations, and will eat it with gusto until it’s gone. Other times, she’ll enjoy it once or twice, and then I’ll get a text during a weekday, or she’ll announce at dinner or breakfast,” I’m tired of ______ (that thing that took two hours to make). ”

On rare occasions, we can negotiate a way to doctor the taste of the food with a seasoning or sauce, and she might deign to try it again. Often, though, she will not touch said food again, at least for a few months. So, we might end up with a container of some very spicy eggplant, or a soup that tastes and smells like strong fish sauce. I really don’t like to waste food, but Superguy and I just don’t have the stomach for some of Bink’s choices. We do know a few hardy souls who enjoy some of these things, so we can share some of the cast-offs as well as the excess from my more successful creations.

I’m well aware of how fortunate we are to be able to offer this quirky gourmet a variety of things she enjoys. It’s important to me that she eat as well rounded a diet as possible, and I have come to enjoy a little adventure in my cooking. Also, not all of her preferences are expensive or unusual. She likes particular pizza from certain places, and she’ll sometimes enjoy garlic bread and simple vegetable soups. Raw carrots are in occasional favor at the moment. She really likes sweets and baked goods, though she limits them to once a day and generally writes four NO TREAT days into her wall calendar. That last one is a story for another time.

Next month, Bink will turn twenty seven. Some kind friends, a family with a wonderful adult son who is also on the spectrum, have invited us out to dinner to celebrate in a few weeks. Bink is already anticipating an order of creamy raita, with just the right amount of tamarind and mint sauces mixed in, to savor with her Peshwari naan. She’ll probably share an appetizer of vegetable Samosas with me. Then there’ll be some kind of spicy lamb dish, and perhaps she’ll have a little of whatever curried vegetable there is to share. For dessert, she will be delighted with some cardamom scented Kheer (Indian rice pudding) or sweet sticky balls of rosewater infused Gulab Jamun.

Truth: Just now, on this Wednesday midday as I sat editing this piece for the blog, Bink called me from her program. That doesn’t happen too often, and usually it means Something Is Wrong. What was today’s message? “ I’m tired of the lemon risotto. Lunch I want balsamic mushroom barley soup tomorrow.” And so it is. Would anyone like a serving of perfectly good parmesan infused lemon risotto?

–Melinda Coppola

The Melting Popsicles by Bink

 


~ Read More Posts ~

My Daughter, the Foodie

Bink loves food. In fact, her relationship with it goes far beyond what tastes good and satisfies her hunger. She ...
Read More

Turn, turn, turn, turn

OCTOBER October is like an unplanned drive, the roads back country and meandering, the other cars occasional, a determined deer ...
Read More

In Plain Sight

Deus Occultatum Love sparks and cells cluster, forming flowers and rainstorms, people and evergreens, calling bees and grasshoppers to song, ...
Read More

WALKING

At twelve, thirteen, fourteen months, when most children begin to walk, or make a show of pulling their soft wobbly ...
Read More

Kind or Write?

I’ve been finding it challenging to encapsulate life with my daughter, Bink, lately. Hard to shape words for the page ...
Read More

Temporal Tryst

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, meaning “seize the day while trusting as little as possible on what tomorrow might ...
Read More

Perhaps his name is Three Dollar Bill

The Emissary To the man on Pleasant Street You pace the same stretch of sidewalk every morning, purposefully, in one ...
Read More

Hearing the Ocean in a Tea Cup ( again)

The Sea, the Sea I met the Pacific in 1982, she in her blue-green majesty, and I, in perpetual denim, ...
Read More

Pentimento

pentimento noun pen·ti·men·to | \ ˌpen-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō Definition of pentimento A reappearance in a painting of an original drawn or painted ...
Read More

Tender

Tender. Unless I am speaking of meat, which I mostly don’t, the very word owns its ness, as in, what ...
Read More

Hmmm. I thought I put me down right there

Here is Where All day the wind blew the trees against the house, and my old ears heard the hearty ...
Read More

Dear Future Roadmaker

It's still April, still Autism Awareness month. I'm thinking, as I so often do, of all the people I have ...
Read More

Inch by Inch

Dear small band of loyal readers, I'm pleased to share that my poem, Reset, has placed second in the Light of ...
Read More

April is…

I'm truly grateful to be here to greet another April. It's such a hopeful month, with spring springing up everywhere ...
Read More

Our small eyes

Perchance Perhaps nothing begins or ends, not exactly. The field mouse knows the tall grass to be her world. We ...
Read More

To Sleep, Perchance to Wake and See the Stars

Bink does not sleep solidly through the night, ever. When she was younger it was especially challenging, because she'd wake ...
Read More

Love is a Rendering

Love is a Rendering Telling you how I love you is like trying to find things that haven’t been said ...
Read More

Daisy Bell

I'm showing my age, and proudly, when I ask this—do you remember the sweet old song called Daisy Bell? "Daisy, ...
Read More

There’s no write time

  BLOCKED This morning the mirrorcaught my eyes,and I locked gazewith the creature staring back at me, wondering, as I sometimes do,what ...
Read More

Dreamed some dreams

"A DREAM NOT INTERPRETED IS LIKE A LETTER NOT READ." -- The Talmud Last was a night of serial dreams, ...
Read More

2 thoughts on “twenty four may

  1. Your beautiful singing/poetry enriches my life, is part of the amazing tapestry of my life like the Trees and the Sky and the Crows. Such a wonderful blessing at this profound bend of the river in this particular journey of life for me. So appreciative that l appreciate it. A companion that arrives without notice like dappled Light.
    Thank You! I have such profound Love for You.

Leave a Reply to Melinda Cancel reply

.