My Son, The Foodie

Tonight, we made a feast for dinner, certainly by Tuesday night workday standards: grilled vegetables and steak on the BBQ and pan-fried scallops in butter. Courtesy of some thoughtful shopping on Dearest’s part months ago, and the impending signs of freezer burn noted this morning. When everything was finally set on the table at 7pm, delayed by a surprise evening visit by Grandpapa, Bonhomme was a very understandable bucket of wiggles and whines. I figured the best we could get in him was a slice or two of zuchinni, a previously acknowledged fave.

I was wrong.

Bonhomme said “No!” to the slice of grilled zuchinni on his plate, and very generously transferred it to my plate.

Bonhomme said “NO!” to the slice of grilled egglant on his plate, and again, kindly shared.

Bonhomme said “NOoooO!” to the grilled mushoom on his plate, and ungently plopped it onto my plate.

“What about a scallop, love? You could squeeze some lemon on it.”

Bonhomme gave it due consideration.

Bonhomme keenly watched me gently squeeze my fresh lemon wedge and delicately cut the mammoth, gorgeous, steaming scallop in two and pop it into my mouth.

“Yes, please!” Bonhomme nodded his head decisively.

I placed a scallop on his plate, handed him the lemon, and let him have at it.

Fifteen minutes and four more scallops later, Dearest and I had enjoyed our lovely dinner in relative peace and quiet. Bonhomme had eaten nothing but scallops and steak sauce, although in kindness to readers with Foodie sensibilities, not together.

Bonhomme disolved again into a perfectly legitimate whiny puddle as soon as the scallops were cleared away. Dearest promised five minutes of TV if Bonhomme could manage to get his diaper changed and PJs on with a minimum of fuss. A pleasant toddler again miraculously emerged.

It just so happens that Dearest had come home with a boxed set of Julia Child’s original cooking show, I predictably having expressed an interest after having recently seen Julie & Julia (c’mon, it’s a movie about a blog, you expected me to resist?). Dearest figured that after five minutes, Bonhomme would be begging for storytime and bed.

Dearest was wrong.

Bonhomme sat on the couch, perfectly still, perfectly absorbed.

“Momma, she’s patting! That lady’s patting da dough!”

“Yes, Love, she is! That’s called kneading. She’s kneading the dough, to get all the gluten to stick together and make the dough all stretchy.”

“Yah! She’s kneading da dough! And she’s rolling it!”

“Yup, and now she’s adding the butter. That’s a lot of butter. Oh, and she’s sprinkling some flour on it!”

Bonhomme started kneading pretend dough on me.

“Spwinka, spwinka, spwinka!”

“Momma, she needs to put it in da oven!”

“Yes, Love, she will, but the dough’s not ready yet. It needs to rise.”

Bonhomme started giving instructions to the TV, getting more and more animated.

We watched the entire 30 minute episode, complete with pretend brioche-making on the couch. Bonhomme could not be negotiated with, cajoled or torn away. We even tried bargaining a trade-in of storytime for the termination of the show, but no. We were quickly disabused of this very poor offer.

The end of the show resulted in theatrics. Not on the part of Julia Child.

Off to bed, wailing.

I read Bonhomme an exciting brand-new Harvey The Painter book, and sang him his favourite Mockingbird song (lyrics à la Bonhomme). Bonhomme did not calm down until Momma bought him a brioche, after which when too hot, Momma bought him a copper pot.

“To put in the oven!” Bonhomme told me.

“Yes, Love, a copper pot to put in the oven,” I agreed, kissing him goodnight and making my escape.

To date, Bonhomme has had a love affair with cooking for half of his life. Throughout the cruising stage, Dearest despaired of our livingroom full of colourful, thoughtful, age-appropriate toys only to trip over stacks of cookie sheets and pots covering the kitchen floor. Bonhomme’s first three-syllable words were spatula and colander at fifteen months. The last time I had a friend over for a glass of wine, Bonhomme raced full-tilt to the door, cork in hand, to entreat my newly arrived guest to hurry because it was time to “do da deCANTer!”.

I can’t tell if Foodieism is genetic, or simply contagious.

At the end of the day, I just hope there’ll always be enough scallops left for me.

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