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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Culinary Adventure and a Nouveau Gourmand

Ecstasy - my first taste of pesto!

This past week has been an amazing string of firsts in my young life. And all these firsts have to do with food. It isn't just that I had new foods that I never tasted before, but some of them have been so exotic that I think I am on track to be un petit gourmand. Here is how this all transpired.

Some of this has been inspired by authentic Italians, like my cousin Jake. Hearing about Jake's daily feeding frenzy, all cooked up by his nonna, Rosie, left me in a tizzy of jealousy. Mommy took some inspiration from cousin's Sabrina's email (and yes, Sabrina, mommy will email you before the century is over). Other inspiration was derived from Ravid, an authentic Israeli and mother of one of my Shalva buddies, Shahaf. She makes everything fresh and from scratch plus she had a few tips - add tehina or avocado to everything in order to bulk it up. She adds either of those items to fruit shakes and oatmeal.

After having read Sabrina's recounting of Jake's Italian menu, and as she sat next to Ravid feeding me a carton of yogurt, mommy, ever the sleuth, realized what the problem was: She doesn't really cook. In order for me to eat the good food, she might actually have to devote time to cooking and pureeing. Time to get to work!

I'm always a little serious when taking my first bite

Armed with this inspiration and a burst of creative energy mommy went shopping and then dedicated an evening to cooking. Mommy is an "all or nothing" personality. That means she cooked everything in one evening and then stored much of it in the freezer, so she doesn't have to cook again for the rest of the week. It also means that she can't control herself with the seasoning. 

Her reasoning is that just because I am a baby doesn't mean I shouldn't also be exposed to the proper flavors. Accordingly, she has thrown caution to the wind including fears of food allergies or spices that a baby cannot handle. Whole milk at one year? Well, straight up, sure, we can wait. But included as part of something greater, why not? Lucky for her I have complied, having no strange reactions. And in the meantime I'm developing quite a sophisticated palate.

My food journey began on Saturday last week. It was mommy and abba's anniversary and they told me they had been together for six years. This is slightly confusing to me as I thought life only began on Aug. 15, 2010. But apparently it has stretched back more than just that and more than even those six years of my parents. Hmm. But instead of dwelling on these new concepts, I took advantage of the occasion to taste some new foods. We had pancakes with raspberries and maple syrup. Yum! And then later - after I awoke magically in an outdoor restaurant - I tasted, for the first time, pizza! I'd like to note that while the media dissed Donald Trump and Sarah Palin for eating pizza with a fork and knife, now that I'm a pizza connoisseur I have been duly informed that my own very sophisticated Italian grandparents have never eaten pizza WITHOUT utensils. And they are 100 percent Italian, grazie mille. I'd rather follow their wisdom than that of the mainstream media.

Got pesto?

The rest of this week of new beginnings unfolded like this:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not exotic, but an American staple. This wasn't meant for me, but mommy was eating it and my puppy dog eyes begged for a bite. I had several.
  • Spinach with bechamel sauce, or besciamela for you real Italians (link to recipe for the sauce, and grazie for the inspiration Rosie via Sabrina!)
  • Homemade tehina - meaning mommy controlled the quantities, meaning zero garlic!
  • Cheddar cheese omelette 
  • Cream of broccoli mush (not quite soup) with carrots, potatoes and cream. Like I said, she's "all or nothing" so she couldn't stop with just broccoli. I devoured this. 
  • And the crown jewel of the week, Trofie al pesto, a delectable Ligurian pasta (link to recipe and explanation), with mommy's homemade pesto again employing portion control - no garlic, just like the real Genovese Italians! The texture was excited, the pesto popped in my mouth and, even having never been there, the very taste conjured up images of the Italian coast. Ahhh. 
Hurry up and feed me!

I also perfected my use of the straw cup. The first time I tried it was on Sunday. By Tuesday, I was an expert. And then I did another funny thing - I took a bottle. I have been on a bottle strike for 7 months now. Remember all the fretting around marathon season when my parents thought I would starve? Haha, silly them. Well this week we had a minor heat wave here, so my parents thought they would try to get some liquids into me in a quick fix. Just for the heck of it. Well, I shocked them all - perhaps you felt the shock waves around the world - by willingly sucking down a whole bottle. 

I'm a new baby. 

Me about to awake at yet another restaurant
I awake and the smothering begins
Enough with the kisses! I want more pizza!


  1. I trust that mommy put the "king of cheeses" on your trofie!

  2. Aww wait until I tell Jake he got name dropped in your blog...he's going to be excited. Way to go Mommy for jumping into the baby food making process - super easy right? Glad we could be part of your menu inspiration. Counting down until August!!! xoxoxo

  3. Daniel,
    Your first slice if New York pizza is on me!!


  4. Daniel, pasticcio in August! I'll have it ready for you and your sophisticated taste buds.