I could certainly use a slice of this Eggplant Caviar, Leeks & Goat Cheese Pizza.
What a hard week this was, and as I finally sit down to write these words, I do it with a deep sigh of relief and contentment. Of finally being back in this space, with you, and share what’s been on my mind (and at our table).
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a mom friend, and somehow I mentioned that Pablo loved radishes. She was slightly surprised, and
told me that even though she loved radishes, it had never occurred to her to
give them to her toddler.
The other day, at a barbecue, another mom told me she felt absolutely certain her daughter would never try eggplant.
Recently, there was an article in the New York Times’Motherlode columnwhere a mom vowed for one whole week to forgo processed
foods and home cook. As journalist Maryn McKenna pointed out, is home cooking really the Mount Everest of parenthood?
Some time ago, I found a blog who had kindly linked back to my blog, and found a thread of comments where some moms, while marveling at
Pablo’s menus, seemed to find them simply unachievable. A week without
pasta? Six kinds of vegetables in one meal? Unthinkable, apparently.
You see the common theme here. Eating mostly real foods, home
cooking, eating as a family on a daily basis, exposing infants and young
children to a wide variety of foods… appears to be far from mainstream.
And I’m always slightly puzzled by the surprise reaction I often get (“Pablo
really eats all this stuff? You really cook every day?”), because I was
fortunate enough to grow up in an environment and a culture where there’s nothing extraordinary about feeding young children radishes, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, duck or aged goat cheese, about cooking meals with real food (is there any other kind?) and eating in courseson a daily basis. In many places and for millions of families around the world, this is completely normal and feeding oneself any other way would be considered very strange.
Sure, there are financial factors and the lack of time, but mostly, I noticed the barrier is in the mind. And that’s one of my goals with this blog, to show it can be done. Not effortlessly (what is?), but reasonably
As I was watching Pablo happily macking asparagus (sans vinaigrette no less!) today at lunch, it struck me again how very normal this is to him. And scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, it is obvious there’s a whole community,
There’s a movement out there (Michael Pollan being one of its most famous proponents), and more and more resources and education, working to normalize real food and home-cooking.
And I’ve never been much of a “movement” gal, but I am happy, and proud, to be a tiny part of this one. It seems like a tall order to change mentalities of a whole generation. What we can do though, is normalize flavorful, real food for our children (from the very first foods they eat), have them grow up in an environment where good, real food, variety and enjoyable family meals are just the norm. And they will come to expect, and seek, these things as they grow up. These foods will become the comfort foods of their childhood.
I realize I might just be preaching to the choir here, as most of you reading this blog are probably reading it because you’re already sold on this idea. I guess my point is that by practicing this in your home with your family, by giving thought to mindful eating, making it a parenting priority to give your children a lifelong love of a good meal, by embracing the process of cooking as something that ultimately, and in many different ways, makes our lives and that of our families better, by not giving up in the face of societal pressures, you are part of this movement as well. Your children might just
consider any other way to nourish oneself an abnormality.
Speaking of abnormal, for this new installment of the Summer Goat Cheese series in collaboration with Vermont Creamery and the Kids &Kids Campaign, I am sharing this “pizza”, of sorts. See, I have a confession to
make: I actually do not like pizza. It does nothing for me. Call me a French
snob, but I would have to be pretty desperate to eat a Domino’s pizza or the
like. I don’t get the excitement around it, I don’t get why it is pitched to
kids as the best food ever, I don’t get why a kid’s birthday party without it
seems unthinkable to so many people. Perhaps a trip to Naples, Italyto the birth place of pizza would change my mind, and that’s definitely on my
bucket list, but for the time being, I remain a pizza skeptic.
I suppose I could have called this a flatbread rather than a
pizza (though it’s not very flat, as I prefer pizza dough to be thick and a bit
chewy), since it doesn’t really have any of the traditional pizza ingredients.
But no matter what you call it, it has turned out to be one delectable
It all started with the eggplant caviar I made for the
Fourth of July. Slightly sweet and tangy. A delicious dip, which my mom
couldn’t get enough of with some savory thyme crackers.
We had a lot leftover, so after spotting the fresh pizza
dough sold at Trader Joe’s, it gave me an idea. And when I imagined VermontCreamery’s beautiful goat cheese crottins
melting over the top, I was sold. I hope you will be too.
The tangy sweetness of the eggplant caviar is so nicely complemented by the burst of salty in the goat cheese and the subtle savory flavor of the leeks.
Think of it. As you and your family might enjoy a bite of this eggplant, leek, artisan goat cheese pizza, in a small way, you will help create a new normal for generations to come. Talk about two birds with one stone 😉