The Clean Plate Club

Discovering the enjoyment of a meal comes down to one final visible sign.  The clean plate.  At breakfast, the kids down their cereal, pancakes or bacon before zooming out the door.  Depending on the time everyone took getting ready, the amount of sleep savored and the interest in making it to the bus stop on time, there may or may not be a clean plate or two.  Steve does pretty well eating in the morning if he is not fixated on an upcoming meeting or still upset from some minor life dilemma. The lunches I pack the children are a mystery on whether they are finished or not.  I suspect most children throw away food that they don’t want to eat or do not swap.  Steve eats lunch out with his fellow managers but never mentions if it is delicious or not. I try my best to create a wholesome, tasty dinner every night to bring us all together.  I even think about the color of the food I am going to put on the plates to try not to make it all the same.  Beige dinners just aren’t tempting every night.  I don’t enforce the rule to eat everything on a plate but I do try and encourage a bite or two of something new.  Junior likes to make new food into an experiment and close his eyes while he tries it.  Sadly, I have seen his face after some of these scientific tasks and it wasn’t pleasant.  But at least he tries new foods.  Daisy has to be encouraged a little more to take a bite or two to see if she likes something she hasn’t had previously.  A little pickier and a little more discerning.  There was a whole year when she wouldn’t eat meat.  But she did chow down on vegetables and that is why she eats them more easily these days.  Steve is polite on my new recipe reviews.  It must be difficult to come home everyday and not know what will be on the table staring back at you.  I like to pick out special recipes when I am “in the mood” for something different.  I guess my family eats their way through my cravings.

My parents were big on finishing up everything you were given to eat.  I always attributed their need not to waste on their earlier lives of not having everything they wanted to eat.  When we rationed during the war, it was a pain sometimes not to have as much as we wanted to use, but it seemed like such a noble cause that you could never grumble about it.  Cooks were better at substituting one ingredient for another and kept us satisfied by inventing new desserts that don’t use as much sugar.  Rationing affected many items though and I still love the ability to have as many nylons as I want and relish the feel of a newly-opened pair by running them across my hands.  They are so soft just out of the package.

This morning I made my famous blueberry pancakes.  Since it was a weekend and the weather outside was not enticing, everyone took their time eating and mostly finished their breakfasts willingly.  It was a nice time to spend together in the kitchenette.  Afterward, clean up was a breeze after our meeting of the clean plates club.


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