Jensen, 5, will eat anything he grows except tomatoes. Yet he loves tomato soup – and when homemade with actual tomatoes, will still slurp it down with grilled cheese sandwiches. He’ll also enjoy passata [read: squashed tomatoes] on the pizzas he makes for dinner – but he hates tomatoes apparently and won’t hear of it if we say otherwise. He loves what he grows – peas, corn and fruits in the garden – and a pea has yet to make it as far as the steamer because he eats them all raw.
Hero, 1, eats whatever he sees everyone else eating. He’s easy.
Now, I’m no Jamie Oliver, although I wish I was able to create more from scratch for my boys. Not because I want everyone to think I’m not just solely a brilliant chef when it comes to boiled eggs, crèpes, cupcakes and lasagne [I’m a sous-chef to my husband for the rest of it] but because I worry. A lot.
Whilst pregnant with Hero I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, causing me to monitor everything I ate quite carefully – and in doing so, I realised in horror that there were an awful lot of hidden nasties in food I’d always taken for granted as being good for my children.
Before this week, I was pretty sure that margarine was something we needed to be cutting back on – or making the switch to butter. I’d very recently read an article which had turned my stomach completely and then completely by coincidence I received an invite from the lovely people at Flora’s public relations agency who invited me along to their press day to see what was happening in the world of spread. I was so keen to attend that I awoke at 3.30am on Wednesday morning to drive to Richmond and take the first tube to Kings Cross St. Pancreas for breakfast with a difference.
Children are quite disconnected from what’s on their dinner plate – probably because they don’t actually know what is on the menu – often because we’ve hidden it in some genius plan to infuse them with healthy foods, or because there’s just not much excitement in a plate of asparagus spears.
It’s tough. My boys would readily reach for chicken – they think it makes them grow up big and strong and like a superhero. So why not vegetables? As Flora’s team pointed out, both the world’s strongest and oldest men were vegetarians…and so were many of the planet’s biggest, strongest creatures; dinosaurs.
After a thorough and frank question and answer session, we were able to watch how Flora can be made – with no hidden ingredients – and then encouraged to try our hands [and biceps] at making our own. After making butter at River Cottage last year, I decided I definitely had to try to see which one was easier on the arm-cramp. Flora wins.
After a morning filled with fun, facts and fabulous food, we left armed with the new spread, some delicious oat biscuits for the return journey – and a little sunflower growing kit to get us started at home. Now to field the “what were the favourite foods of a [insert dinosaur here]?” questions!