food

Links I Love

• It was spring, and raining—hard, and I was driving back from Ohio University with all my college furniture and belongings stuffed in the back of my parents’ pickup truck, covered in a tarp. With the rain came wind and the ropes holding my tarp down came undone. I pulled into a grocery parking lot. I kept trying to pull the tarp back over my belongings but the strong wind prohibited me from doing so. From out of nowhere a man in a nice suit pulled up next to me, got out and started yelling directions. He helped me get the tarp back in place and tied back down—he was soaking wet (as was I). I screamed “thank you” through the noise of the storm as he drove away. He was a kind stranger. He’s not alone. Here are five minutes worth of kind strangers doing kind things. The world can be terrible, but also so good.

3D paper hearts even I could make

• Have you ever wondered how historical figures would look today? (Whenever I’m in fine art museums, I do.) Here, some interpretations.

• I wear contacts mostly and, as such, my glasses were more than five years old (I remember being pregnant with Sophie when I picked them out). My prescription has changed yearly, and I was long overdue for a pair—but I couldn’t afford one from my eye doctor. Then I discovered Warby Parker. For $95 (mine were an extra $30 because my eyesight is so bad) you can get a complete pair of beautiful glasses—plus, for every pair you buy they give a pair to someone in need. Win-win.

• lovely floral fabric from Japan (scroll down)

what 30 families from around the world eat in one week (a pictorial essay)

• cute watermelon ‘cake’

• One of the reasons I love—and live in—old houses is the possibility of finding part of someone’s past up in the attic rafters or secreted in a wall. In our current house there are two bottles, filled with alcohol (we presume) and sealed. One has a piece of masking tape on it with “from prohibition era” written on it. There are more in our cistern. But that is small compared to what this family found.

These photographs, by Michael Wolf, are incredible (and the blog entry is pretty great, too).

“We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what? A camel-load of idol’s eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs.” —J.B. Priestly

Dinner Dance Party IV

Every year we get together with a few friends for a dinner/dance party. This year’s theme was “foods that rock” and the dinner was hosted by our good friends Marty and Angel.

Wine accompanies every course. And the food is prepared by Angel’s incredibly talented brother, Stephen Spyrou. Check out his catering business, Vertigo Catering. He’s on Facebook, too. The food, and presentation, are nothing short of amazing.

We started off with white truffle popcorn with parmesan cheese.

Tuna tartare with limon salt and pop rocks (pop rocks!) followed.

Next, arugula salad with pine nuts, halloumi cheese, kalamata olives and lemon vinaigrette.

Then, herb crusted pork tenderloin (which I failed to take a picture of).

lemon zinger tea and whiskey sorbet

poached pears with blue cheese mousse

maple bacon milkshake—this was so good.

Finally, flourless chocolate torte laced with tequila.

Next, we rocked our glow-in-the-dark necklaces and danced.

And admired Angel’s fabulous eye lashes.

Thank you, Stephen, for another wonderful dinner party. And seriously, if you’re hosting anything, large or small, check out Vertigo.

I want a maple bacon milkshake now.

“Truffle isn’t exactly aphrodisiac but under certain circumstances it tends to make women more tender and men more likable.” —J.A. Brillat-Savarin

Some Days, I Have No Words

“It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.” —Phyllis Diller

Finally, Non-Pureed Food

The boys, suddenly, love solid food. Seemingly overnight they’ve transitioned to it, no longer gagging, no longer choking. Perhaps they’ve decided they’ve frightened me with their inability-to-breath-face-turning-odd-shades-of-color antics enough. And, as usual, the immense amount of worry that has bounced around my brain (Why are they 11 months old and not able to handle a Puff? Are they getting enough nutrition with just pureed food and breast milk? What if they choke and I can’t get the choke-inducing bit of food out? How are they possibly going to handle birthday cake in a month?) was for nothing.

While they both have a fairly good pincer grasp, we still find it best to put bits of food in their mouths so that most of it doesn’t end on the floor (which is the same thing as Tucker’s mouth). So although still a little hazy I can begin to picture a time when the boys will pick at food on their trays while we eat our own meals, no longer combining the two.

I look at their small bodies and consider the amount of food they consume—it’s a lot. Yesterday they each had a peach yogurt cup, a 1/4 of an avocado, a 1/4 of a banana, peas and crumbled goat cheese in addition to 6-1/2 oz. bottles every three hours. As I type this on a rainy Tuesday morning they’re fast on their way to eating a 1/2 banana each for breakfast—only a half hour after downing their first-thing bottles.

This is wonderful, because they need to grow.

And terrifying, because someday, they’re going to be teenagers.

“When the boy is growing he has a wolf in his belly.” —German proverb

Introducing Solid Food

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Owen

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Owen

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James

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Owen

December 28, at 7 months and 9 days, we finally introduced the boys to rice cereal. Sophie was, perhaps, most excited about this and insisted that she get to help feed them. (She continues to insist daily, which makes for some very messy meal times.)

It’s funny. With Sophie I was shocked at how little information the pediatrician gave me regarding solid food. So I read. And researched. And talked to other mothers. I noted when I introduced each food and how long I stuck with that particular one. I paid attention to color, calories, consistency, and whether it was a fruit or vegetable. I made some (not much) and mostly bought organic. I wiped her mouth after every other bite so as not to stain her bibs.

Ha.

My poor boys are lucky if I remember to give them solid food these days.

There is no rhyme or reason as to what I give them. I stuck with rice cereal for about a week and then it was whatever was in the pantry or was easy to mash. So far they’ve had sweet potatoes and pears and bananas and apples and squash. I’m not doing vegetables first or all orange foods first—I’m not even sticking to one food for several days before introducing the next. I rarely take pictures. And I wipe their faces at the very end with a shared washcloth (I’m determined to cut down on laundry as it’s becoming quite ridiculous).

I’m still pumping milk for both of them and on good days, most days, really, they solely get breast milk (although, unfortunately, always out of bottles). Adding solid food to their diet has been fun (they’re growing! they’re getting older! they look so cute smacking their little lips on the tips of Sophie’s old pink and purple spoons!) but I forgot how terribly time consuming it is. It’s not replacing a bottle feeding as I follow up each solid-food meal with a bottle. Instead, it basically adds a solid hour of work to my day (and more once I add another solid meal in).

So I multitask. Sophie sits on my lap and while I spoon feed James, she dips Owen’s spoon into the food of the day and gets it ready for me. I then give Owen a bite while she takes care of James. And back and forth, back and forth. Or she serenades them with song while they eat. We listen to music on my iPod. Sometimes I manage to sip coffee between dips. And while I try to converse with them, as I believe eating is a highly social event and mealtime conversation an art to love, sometimes I flip through a magazine.

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It wasn’t so long ago I was in the NICU, feeding James another woman’s milk, from a very small bottle (that was almost as long as him). While feeding him I had to cup his impossibly small body in the palm of my hand and feel him to make sure he continued to breath. The process terrified me. I had to track his breaths by counting them, track time by noting when I started and when I stopped, and keep incredibly careful track of the amount of milk he consumed. He was so small and light and fragile-seeming yet all I wanted him to do was eat and eat and eat so he could come home (and eat he did).

Today he gulped down an entire jar of squash and talked throughout his dinner. There was a lot of “m” sounds coming from his mouth. At first I laughed, thinking he was saying “mmm,” as in “yum.” But then it also sounded an awful lot like “mama.”

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” —Voltaire