Monday Meal Review: Peru

THE SCENE

Ava’s on to us. When we pull up to the dining table on Thursday nights she knows. It’s Global Table Adventure night. In fact, she strung together these words for the first time this week: “”Gwobal” Table Adventure (“can I go there, mama?”).

When a three year-old child knows that she is expected to try an unusual meal every week, one of three things can happen.

1. She can go for it wholeheartedly.

2. She can eat with normal interest/disinterest, depending on the day.

3. She can rebel. With tears.

Man, that last one’s a doozy.

Two and a half years ago, when we started this adventure, Ava simply ate what we gave her. Sure, she spit some of it out (she was a baby after all), but overall she was more open than we were to trying new foods. She had zero preconceived notions.

Now that she’s hit the ripe ol’ age of three, Ava is way less accepting than she used to be. While still extremely open minded compared to her peers, she’s entering a picky stage. This new stage means she’s not keen on new textures and flavors.

More than one meal has had to be “restarted” either later in the day, or postponed until the next day, when we are in the… right frame of mind.

It’s not all negative though. This child loves tabbouleh. Hummus. Towers of sticky rice (hello?!).

Over the years, I’ve used the following tactics to lure her along:

1. Have Ava help me make the food.

2. Watch a clip of the food being made or harvested together.

3. Let her pick out a special treat at an international market.

Here’s what doesn’t work:

1. Telling her she’ll love it, because it’s “tasty” (Thanks to my overuse of this word, Ava now thinks “Tasty” means yucky. She recently took a sip of medicine, shuddered, and said “but mama, it’s tasty.”). Instead, I have to be honest with her when something doesn’t taste great. I now tell her when I don’t like things and then add “but I’m glad I tried it, because I was really curious about what it would taste like.” or “Oh my goodness, that was squishy, but a fun game for my mouth.” She really perks up when I do this.

2. Showing too  much interest just makes her lose interest. Classic kid stuff.

Even with all these tips and tricks, our Global Table Adventure needs a burst of fresh life.

And we finally figured out what to do about it.

Last week, when we were in Beaver’s Bend for Paraguay, things were different. We were surrounded by family. The meal was exciting. Ava was upbeat, excited, and hungry in a new way. Instead of indifferent and somewhat irritated, she was ready to go.

This week, as I was layering the Peruvian Tiramisu (layering is a great thinking activity), I realized we’ve been just going through the  motions. I dusted the cocoa powder on the top and popped the tiramisu in the fridge. As I shut it I made a little vow. We need to make our Global Table dinners more fun. More adventurous.

I don’t mean anything crazy. I don’t mean we’ll be eating our meals while bungee jumping.

I just want to mix things up a bit. With this in mind, we took our Peruvian Tiramisu out to the I Am festival in Tulsa last weekend. Clouds hung low in the air. Even after a rainy night, the ground was surprisingly dry and the air was cool.  There were groups doing yoga, hoola hooping, and belly dancing.

Ava did two yoga sessions with kiddos her age.

And when the time was right, we rolled out our tablecloth right in the middle of the festival and put the Tiramisu in the center.

Keith’s grandbaby Kaiden got a few licks of his first Global Table Adventure.

Even the lure of the most giant Frisbee couldn’t keep Ava away from the lucuma laced tiramisu when it was time to pack up.

One last lick…

Remember, don’t just go through the motions.

Have fun. Take your global table with you.

Get out of the house and enjoy that beautiful fall weather.

Rethink what stovetop travel can do for you and your family.

THE FOOD

Ceviche [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Oh, Ceviche… I didn’t want to make you but after trying the one at Mi Tierra, I fell in love. This is not simply a mound of fish, but a platter of potatoes, avocado, and anything else your heart desires. It’s a fun collection of bright flavors. The common addition of sweet potato helps this dish straddle summer and fall, which was perfect for the weather we’ve been having here in Tulsa.

What I loved least about this dish:

I’m not a huge fan of ceviche with raw centers, so I marinated mine on the longish side in order to get it opaque throughout. Possibly a big no-no with aficionados, but a great way to get started with ceviche (and I think it worked, because Keith said he liked mine quite a bit more than the one at the restaurant). Just be aware, the longer the fish marinates, the more likely it is for the fish to fall apart. An hour should be plenty of time.

Chifa Beef Stirfy | Lomo Saltado [Recipe

What I loved most about this dish:

The gravy. It’s all about the juices released by the tomatoes and onions, which meld with the vinegar and soy sauce. I swiped my fries through this gravy in complete happiness (I’ve even heard of people who like to add some extra beef broth, to stretch the sauce even further.

What I loved least about this dish:

If you marinate the meat for maximum flavor, it is hard to brown because it release a lot of liquid. A good option is to let the meat sit with the cumin and garlic for a bit, then add the vinegar and soy sauce after browning.

Peruvian Tiramisu [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Enjoying the classic tiramisu with a hint of lucuma is such fun. The warm, caramel/sweet potato flavor is mild, not overpowering. It’s one of those great ways to introduce people to food from another country without shocking them too much. IF they love tiramisu, of course, they’ll love the Peruvian version.

What I loved least about this dish:

The only real problem with this recipe is getting your hands on the lucuma pulp. A few calls to Latin grocers should help immensely.

Ava’s Corner

THE GIVEAWAY

This week’s giveaway, for a $150 Shopping Spree to Whole Foods (sponsored by Saffron Road) will continue until November 11, 2012. You can still enter, so keep the party hopping!

Opt In Image
Hungry for more?
Be notified when National Geographic releases my memoir.

Simply fill in your details below.

Comments

  1. Leslie Litz Ryan says:

    Sasha once again you took me away with your words and reminded me that life is not a dress rehearsal, go for it now, don’t wait for the perfect weather, the stars to align or even the money to flow, live today for today. Blessings

  2. Love the photo from the I Am festival! I had wanted to go and have my DD take Dana’s class, too, but we wound up at my MIL’s. And even my 7yo still has picky moments. They come and they go, and we still make progress. With such a patient mom like you, she’ll come around!

Speak Your Mind

*