Monday, March 05, 2012

Beans and Greens and Bitchiness

It finally happened.

About a week ago I was in line with Jude at the grocery store behind a woman writing personal checks to pay for three separate orders. It was almost lunch time, so Jude was done with his toys and sitting in a cart. In order to keep the peace, I grabbed a container of Gerber puffs from the aisle behind me and poured him a big handful. "You're lucky," I told him, "You never get to have these!"

The woman paused and looked at me. "Why not?" she asked.

"Well," I replied, "I make most of his food."

She raised her eyebrows, "Oh, you're that kind of mom."

That kind of mom? Excuse me? Homegirl was lucky I was in a nice kind of mood or I would have said something along the lines of: "You mean the kind of mom who enjoys cooking? The kind who wants to know what's going into her baby's mouth? So maybe your kids were raised on blue box mac and cheese, and they grew up fine. That's great. So did my husband. So did I. But if you want to be all Judgy Judy let's start with that dye job. 1982 called and it wants its roots back."

Of course I didn't say any of that. But I was pissed. What is it about having children that makes people feel the right to pass out unsolicited advice or criticism? I was spared that when pregnant with Jude. Amazingly no one tried to touch my belly or asked if I was taking my pre-natals. Maybe it was the "Don't friggin touch me," look plastered on my face. Whatever it was, it has passed. Because obviously this woman felt the need to say something judgmental and nasty to me. Next time I'll be ready.

I went home and cooked. Another meal that works well for us and the babe. It's vegan and gluten free, too, in case you, like so many of my friends now, have dietary restrictions. Or babies with dietary restrictions. The only thing I can't figure out is how to lose the onions (sorry Jess!).

Garlicky Beans and Greens
Adapted from Bob's Red Mill
3 cups cooked cranberry beans (canned cannelini or kidney beans are also fine!)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. kale, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes, depending on your taste
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup water
juice of one lemon

In a large dutch oven, combine all but the last three ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until kale is tender, about 8-10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk cornmeal into water and lemon juice. Stir slowly into the pot and continue to simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread if you wish.

Adaptations for Young Babies:
Guess what, your baby can totally eat this. At about 7 months it's safe to introduce leafy greens and garlic, so go for it! You may want to do a few adaptations to reduce the amount of spices if your baby has yet to try them until you know he likes it.

Just start with the first five ingredients (beans through kale)  in the pot and simmer until tender. Puree as much as baby will eat and set it aside. Then you can add the tomato paste and seasonings to the pot and simmer for five minutes before adding the cornmeal mixture. That way you can still enjoy the full flavor of the meal and your baby can get a taste, too. Jude loves this. He's bean eating variations of greens and beans for months and it is one of my favorite go-to combos now!


Chris HyeThymeCafe said...

She was just deflecting - taking the focus off of her slow check-writing. She's one of T-H-O-S-E people! ;)

sheri leach said...

this recipe is right up my alley ... gotta bookmark this one - and as for miss prissypants - screw her. I don't know what it IS about motherhood that makes strangers feel like they need to add their crappy two cents. I have plenty of change.

Kat said...

The kind of mom that cares enough about her child to give them a warm, healthy, thoughtful home cooked meal. I would have lost it - go you for being nice. ps- I'm that kind of mom too. out daycare provides lunches for toddlers and up and I am the only one that insists on bringing in P's lunch day in and day out. They gave me some "i don't get it" looks but you know what? It's all worth it to me. Now I'm still battling with them because on top of my food they give her whatever the other kids are eating and it drives me nuts! Then again, I feel bad if P wants some of the food the other kids get. Oh motherhood...

Michelle D said...

I just got introduced to your blog while looking for healthy snacks for an upcoming road trip I am taking. Love this post! Had a similar situation at the store yesterday when I was buying a bento box for my son's lunch for summer camp. The person bagging commented on it and I said that I liked it because it had an ice pack so I could send him with something other than a PB&J every day. She asked what was wrong with PB&J? I said that variety is the spice of life and a healthy diet! She just rolled her eyes at me and said something along the lines of we all ate PB&Js and we came out just fine. Yes, and every vegetable I ate growing up came out of a can, that doesn't mean its right! People think because you have made choices, you are judging their choices or that you have a poor opinion of how they raised their kids. I am a live and let live kinda gal! If all you could afford, or had time to give, or had the energy to give was a PB&J (or vegetables out of a can), okay! To each his own!