Last night was a typical weekday dinner, where there was nothing planned and only a few minutes to bang something out. For Ted and myself, I made a Singapore noodle hodgepodge with rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, cabbage, ginger, bok choy, chicken, and lots of curry. It sounded a little bit much for Mikey, so I gave him just the chicken and some of the noodles without the sauce. We all sat down and began eating, but Mikey was more interested in playing with his noodles than eating them. We didn’t let him throw more than a few noodles against the wall before taking it away, an action he didn’t protest. The meal ended with Mikey first in my lap, then in Ted’s, and then back in mine, eating our dinner.
It shouldn’t have surprised me. One, Mikey likes to eat whatever we’re having. Two, we forget that Mikey likes spicy.
Our philosophy has been to try to have healthy food around the house, and when he shows an interest in any of it, we share it with him. Because man cannot live on brown rice alone, some not-so-good food sometimes slips into the house. I have a particular weakness for Tim’s Jalapeño Potato Chips, and catching me nibbling, Mikey asked for one, “Pease!”
“No, they’re spicy.”
“Picy chips, pease.”
“Very spicy,” I warned. As I’ve said before, I am a sucker for “pease.”
“Very picy chips, pease.”
When Mikey shows an interest in a rosebush, we take his hand and show him very, very gently that the thorns are “sharp,” so he understands what that means. I figured it was the same thing with the spicy chip. I gave him the smallest bit of a chip, and he ate it.
“Water pease,” he said, eyes wide.
I gave him a cup of water, and he drank it. A moment later:
“Mo picy chip, pease.”
At Senor Fred’s on Ventura, before we could stop him, he put a spoonful of salsa in his mouth. “Picy!”
At a party at friend’s where a celebrated Thai chef was showcasing her chili dipping sauces, we stupidly plunked Mikey right down on the counter next to the hottest one, and a moment later, his eyes were watering and his tongue was hanging out, “Picy!”
Yes, it’s important that his food is healthy, and his manners are good, but we like that Mikey dislikes bland food and wants big flavors. That’s what we call, in both senses of the phrase, having good taste.