Monday Meal Review: Saint Lucia

“I don’t like nutmeg,” a willowy, blond girl of about ten whined. Her mother looked reproachfully at her.

“Have you ever tried it?” I asked with what I hoped was an encouraging smile.

“No,” she quietly replied, eyes downcast. She stood with one hip turned away from me, as if my slightest move would send her scampering away.

“Well, here, smell it,” I said as I picked up the whole nutmeg and passed it to her. “Isn’t it amazing?”  The nut was about one inch in diameter and was round except for a flat spot where it had been grated by dozens of kids throughout the afternoon.

The girl jerked back her head and furrowed her brow at the prospect, but after a particularly stern look from her mother, she dipped her head close to the nutmeg and gave a tentative whiff.

She scrunched up her nose distastefully.

The mother seemed bothered, but I simply said “Good for you. Now whaddya think about grating some of that nutmeg on your Cocoa Tea?” and added “This is what they wake up to in Saint Lucia, more often than coffee, juice, or milk.”

And she did. And we cheered her on. And then we begged her to taste it, just a little.

I felt my hair turn white, waiting for her to try the drink – essentially super yummy hot cocoa. If Ava has taught me anything over the course of this Adventure, I knew I needed to be casual about the whole thing. I gave her one more encouraging smile, then turned partially to help some other kids with their drinks. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the girl tip the cup ever so slightly back and taste the cocoa tea inside. She grimaced again and set the cup down.

She did it quickly, hoping no one would see, but I did. I gave her a wink and a nod. “Good for you,” I said one more time, then quickly added: “Being open minded enough to try something is more important than liking it.”

She looked a little surprised by my words.

Kid after kid walked up to our exhibit at Kid’s World that day, but none touched me more than that wisp of a girl. The girl who tried the Cocoa Tea, despite the fact that she absolutely, positively didn’t want to.

If we could all be this brave in life. If we could all overcome our hangups, just for a moment. It would give us wings.

Ava at Kid’s World.



Fry Bakes [Recipe]

What I love most about this dish:

To summarize, here is my conversation with three year-old Ava:

Me: “What do you think of these Bakes?”

Ava: “It’s pretty good.”

Me: “How can they be better?”

Ava: “If we make more.”

I asked Mr Picky and he equivocally agreed. I do not however. There is – despite my love for them – a limit to how much doughy goodness I can consume in one sitting.

What I love least about this dish:

Not much. Keep an eye on your oil; if it gets too hot, you’ll have burned bakes before they can cook on the inside. The key is to pat them thin enough – about  a 1/2 inch – so that the bake remains doughy and soft, but still cooks through.

Cocoa Tea [Recipe]

What I love most about this dish:

This is a winter must-make. It’s everything you love about hot cocoa, with amped up richness and beautiful flavor. Have kids?  All those tiny, frosty fingers will love cradling a giant, steaming mug of cocoa tea.

What I love least about this dish:

There’s really nothing wrong with this recipe. You can add more milk. You can add more cinnamon. You can cook the nutmeg in, instead of grating it on top. So have fun with it.

WATCH Ava’s Corner:


Congratulations to Dutchgirl who said:

Love the leggings!

In Holland no special meals this week. Normally I cook from a variety of countries during the week (Italian, Dutch, Indonesian…)

Yay! Please email me by December 3, 2012 to claim your prize.


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