While her diet may not be particularly varied, Talia eats quite well. She eats noodles (or rice or couscous) and beans for almost every meal. I make a big box of noodles every few days and then just dish them out and open a can of beans. She doesn't need the beans heated or even drained (I know, gross!) She likes lemon juice on everything. Sometimes she eats a hot dog or fish sticks or mac and cheese like all other kids. She particularly likes my homemade chicken nuggets (slice up some chicken breast, dip it in egg and then panko bread crumbs mixed with essence of emeril. fry them in a little olive oil). The easiest and best received meal, however, is still noodles and beans. I don't complain-- it's easy as hell for me and usually carry a can or two of beans (plus can-opener-- that's a story for another time!) in my car in case we go to a restaurant or home that doesn't have anything for her.
Still, it would be nice if she ate more veggies and I would like to see her eat a dish that has more than one ingredient in it. She does like to help me cook and will usually try a tiny bite of most things. I decided to let her pick put a recipe from the kids' Moosewood cookbook, "Salad People". She picked out "Counting Soup" and modified it to meet her tastes. She left out the tofu and carrots and added chickpeas. We also talked about other ways we could change the recipe and decided we could use lima beans instead of chickpeas and different noodles, like shells or flakes (small squares-- my absolute fave although they are hard to find).
Whenever we do an art project I always encourage her to make her own decisions. When I color Ariel's hair blue and she protests, I say "I'm the artist so I decide" and she often says it back to me too. I wanted her to understand that the chef gets to make decisions in cooking and that she can change recipes to suit her needs, just like I do. I like seeing that flash of understanding, power and satisfaction on her face.
She really liked the soup and ate a lot of it. Today she didn't want any because, like Ron, she doesn't "do" leftovers. She did want to make it again though.