...give in to that boy's supermarket tantrums, he eats for a lifetime???
Like many moms, I try to do my grocery shopping sans whining mouths and small hands reaching from the cart to pull things off the shelves. For those mothers who lug their kids to grocery, department and clothing stores every time they go, I salute you. For me, I try to plan my meals and grocery shopping so that as many of those dreaded trips are during hubby's days off. But until I learn how to make a casserole solely out of assorted condiments and over-ripe bananas, some days we simply need to go buy food. There are also those occasions where everyone is home and occupied, when I believe I'm home free, and just as I'm grabbing my purse to head out, Luke inevitably spots me, and so starts the whining...er, bargaining. It's still better shopping with only Luke in tow, at least I don't have to constantly tell Toby to sit back down, before he takes a header of the cart. But like all who have gone before me...shopping with a preschooler adds up to a lot of "I want that"s. Unlike all who have gone before me, shopping with Luke would not be easier if I could manage to avoid the junk food aisles...we'd have to avoid the condiments, the deli, the produce and most importantly the fish counter. I realize that Luke enjoys sauces to dip his food, as most preschoolers do, and I even don't mind giving into the odd request for mock chicken or a pepperoni stick.
I'm sure you're all thinking "why would a child wanting fruits and vegetables be a problem?" Well, it's not that he wants carrot sticks or a different kind of apple...that I could understand. No, the screams from our cart are "I WANT AN ARTICHOKE!!!". I've given in and bought eggplant (which he didn't eat), brussell sprouts (which he didn't eat), dragon fruit (which he didn't eat), and so on. I've repeatedly been burned on produce like kiwis, avocados, green beans and parsnips which I seem to continually buy only for him to spit out with disdain. I'll admit, as we speak, there is a kiwi in my fruit basket headed for such a fate. But I wouldn't know what to do with a fresh artichoke...the only kind I've ever used are the jarred artichoke hearts...but the peppers are right by the artichokes, so I can't seem to avoid them, and the inevitable begging, which escalates to whining and then turns to yelling.
Remember I said "most importantly the fish counter"? Yes, there are things more embarrassing than a tantrum over an artichoke. Maybe he's watched the IMAX's "Deep Sea" one too many times, maybe it's because I used to stop at the fish counter and show Luke the live lobsters and crabs whenever we'd go to a store selling shellfish. But now, as we walk in the door Luke starts asking to go to the fish counter. Our regular grocery store doesn't have tanks with live shellfish thankfully...but it does have rainbow trout. Small and with head still intact must be what's so appealing, but that doesn't ease the embarrassment of a 45 pound, red-faced monster screaming "I WANT RAINBOW TROUT! I WANT RAINBOW TROUT! I WANT RAINBOW TROUT!!!!!" as he is dragged to the checkstands to pay for the food we do need. He used to eat salmon and pickerel, cod, and even halibut on occasion, but in the past year, the fish I serve tends to get pushed around the plate, so you can see my reluctance at buying the elusive Rainbow Trout. Last month, while I was sitting planning meals and making my grocery list I asked Luke what he wanted for meals that week. He diplomatically said rainbow trout, so although we had steaks marinating for supper, I added it to the list...surf and turf. We stopped at the fish counter, where I requested the smallest rainbow trout available. Before it was wrapped I asked the man to hold it up so Luke would actually believe me when I said we had a trout in the cart. The man, quite amused (possibly remembering me pulling a screaming Luke past his counter on previous visits), hammed it up, making the Mr. Trout swim through the air for a while before parcelling it. Although there was still an artichoke request logged that day, it was quickly quelled by threats to release his catch of the day.
Finally. He had won. He had his trout, and surprisingly, he ate some. Expecting a little more peace the following week I zoomed past the fish counter...make that attempted to zoom past the fish counter, only to discover, to my dismay,that I hadn't satisfied the beast, only whet it's appetite. Although...he did do even better with last night's rainbow trout, so maybe I'd better start looking for a good artichoke recipe.