I know this isn't lunch related, but tonight my son ATE A SALAD! An actual salad went in my son's mouth and down his throat -- I saw it happen! He has hated all green leafies -- cooked or raw -- pretty much since he joined planet earth. A shred of lettuce on his burrito is enough to send him into a fit.
So tonight there I was, chopping romaine, spinach, and cabbage for what is usually a salad for one (Hubby doesn't care much for salad, either). Little shmoo came into the kitchen and watched for a while without saying anything. He picked up a baby spinach leaf and looked at it, then handed it to me. "I think I could eat that salad if it had a yummy dressing on it," he told me, "and if it had things I like in it, like carrots."
Stay calm, stay calm, I told myself. "I think we can do that," I said.
I put him to work spinning the lettuce and chopping chunks of baby carrots and apple while I toasted walnuts and thought about the dressing.
I had to think fast. This was a moment I had been waiting for, and I didn't want to blow it. My usual sprinkle of balsamic was not going to cut it, no way. I remembered a vinaigrette that Dreena Burton had talked about once on an Erik's Diner podcast. I pulled out my notes. She had mentioned that adding a sweetener, like maple syrup, can cut acidity and allow you to use less oil. Starting with her example, I put together a dressing I am now calling
Asian Miracle Dressing
(results atypical, individual results may vary, please try this at home)
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 TB maple syrup
a pinch of salt
a grind of pepper
1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
Combine and whisk with a fork until well-blended.
Together we brought the salad and dressing to the table, and I served him up a bowlful. "Mmm, this dressing is my number one dressing," he said as he started in. "So many flavors!" he said a few bites later. I told him salads were like that. He set it aside to eat his spiral pastas with lima beans and rosemary, and I thought that was it. Then he came back to the salad, served himself some more, and ended up eating two bowls.
I tried to act encouraging without dancing on the tabletops. I'll probably wait a few days before I make another salad, and I won't be at all surprised if he doesn't like it next time. If this is the only salad he ever eats, that's okay. I'm just glad I was there to see it happen.