FOR PICKY EATERS OR TODDLERS (which are basically the same) sometimes it takes a stick. In Italy, they do amazing little kabobs called arrosticini, which are actually made from lamb. It’s a specialty dish from the Abruzzo region but often found everywhere. However, I’m guessing that a. lamb is harder to find at your grocery store than it is mine and b. you don’t like eating baby sheep. Totally understood on both fronts. Just check out the method though. Grilled little cubes of meat on a stick. They’re so simple: ask the butcher to dice the meat for you or just cut it at home. Slide onto a skewer and either grill it outside or use a grill pan. I always use a grill pan because a. I hate grilling outside and b. don’t have a grill outside.
Other than meat, all you need is a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then dust the kabobs with salt again when they’re done. I paired them most recently with oven roasted vegetables (onions, fennel and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper) plus broccoli sauteed in a mix of water and oil with garlic. No marinating, no special steps. Just olive oil, salt plus pepper. Grill. Salt. Eat.
Phoebe loves these sticks so much they work brilliantly to encourage eating veggies too. She likes broccoli but the roasted trio were tough. Before we gave her another stick-o-meat this time, we just asked her to try the roasted vegetables. The key in our house is not getting crazy about it. The tone is no-big-deal and the stakes are very low. She’d already had more meat than I did. If she wanted another one, she just needed to take a bite of everything else first. Delivered with a shrug, I almost convinced myself that maybe I WAS an easy going gal after all (I can already hear my friends and family laughing at this one, not to mention my husband) but normally pushy personalities aside I have found that a casual presentation of the choices works best. There’s less to rail against when you’re not backed into a corner, even when you’re two. Especially when you’re two.
Other people even tried to get in on the meaty action. Granted Estelle was less successful but I like what I see. Except for a possible future of fighting…but back to the interest in our family dinner!