I always made a claim, even before parenthood, that I would do anything to not have a child who only eats chicken nuggets and french fries. You know, the kid that could eat at the most renowned restaurant with the broadest menu and would still want nuggets.
The one that would eat the same thing, day in, day out and never want to broaden his or her palate. What's frightening is that there are adults who are the same way. Why? Were they never exposed to other foods?
At nine months, my son appeared with me on a live TV segment. I talked about how I made his own baby food and shared one of his favorite recipes. While making the recipe I shared with the audience how I would have my son in the kitchen with me, describing to him every step and detail as if I was teaching a cooking class to a group of passionate foodies. Some would say that he wouldn’t have understood what I was saying. Maybe he didn’t but there was one thing I did believe. It was never too early to teach him about cooking and food.
My son and I were walking through a local store when I saw the simplest prefab greenhouse, consisting of a tray with a clear top and 72 dehydrated soil pods. The instructions were easy; soak the pods in water, plant chosen seeds and have patience. I figured for a $5 investment, I wouldn’t be disappointed if none of the seeds grew.
One afternoon we decided to take on the job of farmer. We hydrated the soil and planted our selected herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley). My son would take a popsicle stick and break the soil and I would fill in the holes with seeds. With his little thumbs, he would press the soil down over the seeds and smile at me each time with a look of accomplishment.
Every morning we would water the tray insuring the soil wasn't dried out. This went on for a couple weeks until the morning when we went to water and there were seedlings sprouted. Now, I have seen my son's eyes light up many times but never in this way. It was as if he had witnessed a miracle; but the thing is he had seen a miracle…the miracle of life.
Our herbs are growing now and it will be amazing this summer to harvest them for recipes. But the real treat was the quality time I spent with my son teaching him how a simple seed with time and care could turn into an edible life-giving food.