Sunday, March 1, 2009

Willy Nilly on The Bean Frontier

We're having rice and beans tonight. With tomatoes, avocados, cheese, radishes and maybe even sour cream, if I think it'll make them eat the rice and beans. No meat. 

We are not bean eaters.  I think we eat so much animal protein that my kids' bodies don't really see the point of beans. Every effort at introducing beans has resulted in struggles, and even tears. Usually I just let it go. Beans and bean soups are for grownups in our house. 

But I'm trying to push the less-meat agenda (and I'm suspended at the Coop and can't get the farm-raised meat I like to have), so it's rice and beans tonight. The kid have had ample warning. Researchers in school food programs have shown that kids are more likely to accept a new food if they have studied it, and also if they help prepare it. So, we've been talking about beans, and they're going to help me cook. Unfortunately, the conversations are not going quite as planned, because there is something wrong with me, and I am obviously conflicted about eating less meat. 

Here's one:

Mom: Look, this is a picture of rice and beans. People and kids eat rice and beans all over the world. (Shows a picture of rice and beans on the computer.)

Kid (glancing up with barely any interest): Eww, that’s digusting. It’s got orange stuff in it. (Orange-y bits of sautéed onions.)

Mom: That’s just onions. You don’t have to eat those if you don’t want to.

Kid: [disinterested silence]

Mom (desperate to entice): Orrr… maybe the orange bits would be bacon in the rice and beans.

Kid: I would eat it if it was bacon.

Mom (backpedaling after the bacon suggestion [stupid, stupid!]): The nice thing about rice and beans is that no animals got killed for us to eat.

Kid: Because we love animals.

Mom: Right, we really love animals.

Kid: Except fish. We hate fish, right?

Mom: I don’t hate fish.

Kid: Well, we like to eat fish, but we don’t love fish.

Mom: Oh, you mean we don’t like to snuggle with fish.

Kid: Right.

Mom: Right. We don't snuggle with fish. So, anyway, that’s nice if we have rice and beans, and no animals were killed.

Kid: Let’s never kill animals.

Mom (pathetically, goes on the defensive): Welllll, let’s just try to cut down. What if we had some days every week where we never ate animals?

Kid: Today! No animals today! Just rice and beans.

Mom (again, pathetically, gets defensive, and also thinking that a little bit of bacon in the beans would be deLISHous): Not even bacon in the rice and beans?

Kid (thinks for a minute): Yes, bacon!

Some time later….

Mom: So you’re going to have rice and beans tonight?

Kid: Rice. Rice and fish sauce.
Mom: with limes, right?

Kid: Yeah, with limes. 



Cay said...

my kids will eat rice and beans if they get to wrap them up in a tortilla with cheese and salsa. something about the wrapper and getting to build it themselves. plus then i think they forget a little bit about what's inside. or at least they don't have to look at it.

Larissa Phillips said...

I dream of getting to that point.
My son will eat tortillas with cheese and quacamole, but nothing else in it. My daughter has recently been persuaded to try a bite, but generally hates tortillas. They are finicky, I-need-to-know-what-the-#$%-that-#$%-is kids.
But they're getting better. We'll try tortillas next time!