If you read my account of the pathetic and twisted conversation I led my five-year-old daughter through earlier this evening (see below) in an effort to interest her in eating beans and rice for dinner, you may be as shocked as I am to learn that it all turned out great.
She and I cooked dinner together: cut up radishes, pounded garlic in the mortar to make the vinaigrette, spun salad, grated cheese, cut avocados, set table, and squeezed limes for her fish-sauce-and-lime sauce. She also peeled brussels sprouts and garlic, and tossed them in olive oil. (Why roasted B. sprouts in a Latin-style dish? Because we had them.)
My daughter is the kind of kid who, in order to erase an Etch-a-Sketch drawing, holds the tablet really rigidly in her arms and jumps up and down really hard for five minutes. She has a lot of energy and she loves doing things. So she was so happy to help.
Okay, I did chop up a little bit of bacon and fry it and then add it to the beans. I did not put any interesting dried smoky chilies in the beans, since I was hoping my kids would eat the beans and didn't want to add any spice.
Anyway, the rice and beans were delicious to us, of course. My daughter ate rice with fish sauce and limes, just like she'd said, along with a brussels sprout in exchange for a few scraps of bacon. The big surprise was... my 9-year-old son, who topped his rice and beans with everything there was and then fought with my husband for the last serving of salad.
"When can we have this again?" he asked.
"We're always having no meat on Sundays," my daughter informed him.
"How about next Sunday?" I said.
"How about Wednesday?" he countered (Wednesday being the next night we eat together, since I work late the next two nights). Before bed he asked again when we could have rice and beans again.