Thursday, November 03, 2005

"And then a miracle occured..."

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.


Anonymous said...

What a special moment. Too funny!
I hated salad as a kid too. I think it was salad bars that changed my mind (interactive) but a good dressing makes anything appealing, especialy with toasted sesmae oil!
My Mom used to sneak tofu into things like carob pie for me. I was picky, but now we have a vegan food biz together! Bonding in the kitchen is the best!

bernusha said...

Wow! The greens mixed together sound really good! Then, adding everything else to boot...YUM! Hooray for little Shmoo! He ate one yummy salad!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the dressing recipe. I find most dressings way too acidic, so this sounds hopeful.

I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I too love your blog. Here's another dressing he might like. I just made it last night and it's great. It's from the vegweb site:

1/2 cup canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar (raspberry balsamic, if you can get it)
1/4 cup maple syrup or raspberry jam
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic (omit if not using on savory dish)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Molly said...

aw, congratulations! thanks for sharing this story (and the recipe of course)

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful, congratulations! I love the way you dealt with it, and that you don't force him to try things. He is obviously inclined to just follow your example!

Anonymous said...


I thought a heard of chorus of celestial beings last night around dinner time. LOL

Harmonia said...

Awesome! Congrats on the hit-of-a-dressing!

SilentGoddess said...

So there is hope for my 8 year old huh? He can and will find the minutest piece of lettuce in his quesadilla...and gag on it. Guaranteed.
Love your blog, pictures, and humor.

Anonymous said...

That rocks!

I'm still not so keen on salads, so I try to make sure to always have some "treat" to put in them (avocado, cherry tomatoes, apple, grapes, strawberries, orange sections, and/or nuts). I'm not really the type to pick stuff out of my food, so putting a bit of good stuff in gets me to eat the greens.

Shelly said...

I have the opposite issue...I'm trying to get my son to eat veggies without them being in a salad. He eats tons of salad. I have to put him on salad restriction. He'd eat two or three baby spinach salads a day if I didn't watch out. I wish my son would eat veggies by themselves, the way Scmoo does. :)

Anonymous said...

I've always loved salads! They were my favorite meal when I was little Shmoo's age. My favorite day at school was Salad Bar day, and I was always so jealous of my father because my mom made him salads and I had to eat steak.

I'm glad Little Shmoo liked that salad! I hope he'll eat them every now and then. I used to hate certain foods (like bananas and raisins) that I just can't get enough of now.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog!!! When I have kids I want to be just like you, seriously. Anyway, as a kid, the one thing that always got my family eating salad was when my mum added fruit to it (like sliced apple, or sliced strawberries, grapes or mandarin oranges). Strange...leafy greens, tomato and cucumber just sat on the table, but throw some oranges on top and there was never anything left behind!

L said...

This comment comes a year and 2 months later... I had missed this post, but I read this on the book and thought it was INCREDIBLE -- the best thing I had read in ages. While I haven't yet tried the dressing, it gave me hope that my sons will eat salad one day (they're 2 and 4). Anyway, my oldest ate salad for the very first time in his life when he was 2 and a half -- and do you know where? At the Olive Garden. Yes, the dressing, it's all in the dressing. He didn't continue eating it, though, but slowly he's warming up to the idea of salads. I have to try your recipe.

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