Monday 9 July 2007

Fish chowder trickery

I have been whipping up all sorts of culinary delights for Betty recently. Amongst other things, Betty has dined on chicken casserole, beef stew, and fish with carrot and orange, in the last week. And for these recipes I have been sourcing the best possible ingredients for my precious darling daughter. I have visited the local butcher to purchase one small organic chicken fillet, the fishmonger to purchase one small fillet of cod, and the greengrocer to purchase one small organic apple. I think I have built up quite a reputation in the local town in the last few days. Not only because of my miniature purchases but also my fussiness - each shop assistant has suffered a grilling from me about where exactly their produce has come from and how the chicken/fish/apple tree was treated. A recent cashflow crisis has meant that while Betty has been dining on fresh, seasonal, organic food, Tom and I have been dining on pot noodles.

Yesterday while I was feeding Betty her fish, carrot and orange purée, it was so delicious, I found myself feeding myself every other spoonful – one for me, one for Betty. It started off as a game to encourage Betty to eat it. However, Betty didn’t need any encouragement to eat it. I was just being a mean, selfish mummy and depriving my baby of her daily nutritional requirements, for my own enjoyment. About half way through, poor Betty dared to look away for one moment and I said: ‘Oop have you had enough sweetheart?’ before quickly shovelling the rest into my gob. When Betty realised that there was no more food she burst into tears. She, unsurprisingly, was still hungry. So I had to very quickly whip up something else to fill the hole.

Later on, as there was a little bit of cod left over in the fridge, I decided to make an ‘adult’ version (by adding salt) of this baby purée and serve it up for mine and Tom’s supper. I had to slightly improvise and use marmalade instead of an orange, but I felt very chuffed with myself for my creativity. When it was ready, Tom came to the table and asked what it was. I couldn’t really tell him that it was a baby purée and so I told him it was ‘fish chowder’. He said it looked delicious and started tucking in. He commented that it tasted ‘very fruity’. I proudly told him it was marmalade. He took about two more spoonfuls and then politely told me that he just couldn’t eat it, and that it wasn’t one of my ‘finer kitchen moments’ and would I mind if he made himself a bacon sandwich instead. I defensively told him that Betty had loved it earlier. He then said: ‘Have you just tried to feed me baby purée?’ I proudly said ‘yes’.

Later, when I was talking to my mum on the phone, I mentioned that I had made the fish, carrot and orange purée for me and Tom, because I thought it was delicious and also because there had been a spare bit of cod left in the fridge. She patiently explained to me that Betty should be starting to eat what we eat, and not the other way round.