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Cooking

Carys’ updates to a classic waffle recipe

 

 

***we interrupt your regular programming on what I learned in Reggio Emilia to bring you some much-needed food relief***

I know exactly when we bought our waffle maker – it was the autumn of 2009.  We had just moved out to the East Coast so I could go to grad school; I moved first and Alvin waited until I was gone to buy himself a new car (we weren’t yet married).  He paid $1,000 to have it shipped cross-country and I threatened that if the car got there before he did I was going to send it back.  He didn’t have a job yet (or a plan to make his car payments), and he was pining for waffles – so I told him I’d buy a waffle maker when he got a job.  We thought he’d end up working in New York but we got lucky and he found something in the town where we lived; he used to like to complain that his new car didn’t get warmed up in winter by the time he finished the five minute drive to work, while my wet hair would freeze on the two-minute walk to the train station, and then I had 50 minutes on the train and a 20 minute walk at the other end…

 

peeling banans

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Cooking

How to make ravioli like an Italian

I hired an Italian lady to look after Carys while I participated in the Reggio Emilia study group; I have to say that Alvin was more than a little nervous about it (“What do you mean you haven’t done a background check?”) but Adriana – whom I found on the Italian equivalent of Care.com – ended up being simply fabulous.  She picked us up at the train station after a very confusing journey (the guy at the fast train ticket counter told me the trains were full for the rest of the day, when it turned out that only the fast trains were full and there was lots of space on the regular trains, and I hadn’t even realized there were different ticket counters for each kind…) and took us grocery shopping.  The Study Group began with a walking tour of the town the next day, so Adriana came over early to spend some time with Carys while teaching us how to make pasta. Continue Reading

Cooking

Carys’ endlessly adaptable recipe for delicious scones

 

Alvin recently splurged on an espresso machine that non-coffee drinkers (and perhaps even some coffee drinkers) might consider to be ridiculously expensive.  We were ‘discussing’ the cost of said appliance and how long it might take to pay for itself when he blurted out “Well I’ve been spending five bucks a day on coffee and pastries so it shouldn’t actually take that long…”

I said “Five bucks a day?! ” and I dug out my The Cheeseboard Collective Works cookbook (*affiliate link) and asked Carys and Meg to bake some scones.  Cheeseboard is famous around here for its communist (it’s a worker-owned co-op) pizza; they make one kind a day and the line runs down the block, day after day.  They have a fabulous cheese shop next door that also happens to bake delicious bread and pastries.

Here’s a picture of Carys ‘standing’ in line for pizza at two days old, just after we left the hospital. Yup – she went to Cheeseboard before she went home.  And Alvin was getting hit on by the baby-loving ladies while I was hobbling around the drugstore across the street looking for laxatives.

 

standing in line cheeseboard pizza.jpg

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Cooking

How to cook with a toddler

No, not cook with the toddler as an ingredient…

One thing that really surprised me coming out of the recent reader survey that I ran was that every single person who responded to the question “what topics would you like me to write about?” said some variation on food/recipes/cooking.

Really?” I thought.  “There are 3,000,000,000,000 cooking blogs in the world but we still need another one?”  (Much the same as parenting blogs, I suppose, and yet here we are…)

I’m a decent cook but not a great one (although perhaps I should shift my mindset on that and start thinking I am a great chef? Who knows what I might be able to achieve…); I tend to follow and riff on recipes rather than creating my own.  The success I do have is largely due to my long years of experience – I’ve been cooking dinner every night for over 15 years now and in general I can read a recipe and get some idea of whether I’ll like it.  But one thing I have been having a ton of fun with recently that y’all might be interested in hearing about is cooking with Carys. Continue Reading

Cooking Parenting

Baby-Led Weaning: How (and why) to try it

 

When I was still pregnant I stumbled on a NYT article with a fabulous quote about the baby food industry:

Jeff Boutelle, chief executive of Beech-Nut Nutrition [a manufacturer of prepared baby food], said, “When I got here a year and a half ago, the common sense was that the category was declining because birthrates were down.

“But I knew that birthrates had stabilized,” he added, “and babies are not getting any thinner.”

“Underlying our problem, there was a silent, pernicious trend going on that no one was really paying much attention to,” he said — mothers making their own food at home.

The mommy blogging machine went nuts over that quote, as I bet you can imagine.  And I sort of figure if there’s a multi-billion dollar industry riding on my decision as a parent, chances are I want to at least investigate how to do things differently.

A few months earlier I visited my friend Michelle in Ottawa (yes, she of the baby sign language advice) and was impressed at her toddler’s eating habits – she ate what the adults ate, at the table with the adults, and sometimes requested snacks between meals: “Daddy, can I have some pineapple?”.  How did Michelle do that?

She told me she’d used baby-led weaning (BLW), which in North America usually means allowing the baby to stop nursing when she is ready, but she had read that in the U.K. it means something entirely different: skipping purees, and introducing baby straight to solid foods.

I was intrigued.

As usual I did a lot of reading around on the topic (this is the classic book), but the basics are pretty simple.  This video explains it nicely, and here’s a lovely video of a child’s skill improving with BLW between 6 1/2 and 10 months.  The basics are: Continue Reading

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