“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
– Carl Sagan
“Mummy? Would you ever eat an insect?” This from my seven-year-old, Daniel, who is going through a fascination with all things winged or crawly.
“You mean on purpose? Probably not,” I answer.
“I did. I mean, I ate an ant.” Dan stares at me, eyes framed by wire glasses that make him appear concentrated and innocent. “Just now.”
“Oh.” I mean, what else can I say except maybe, “Probably next time you should let the ant live. You know, get on with being an ant.”
“Okay,” he nods, his eyes searching mine and then the ground.
In the hopes of distracting him from scrounging his next snack, I say, “But there are lots of places where people eat bugs every day – because they like them.” This makes even my nine-year-old, Jamie, stop throwing the ball against the side of the house and come over.
“Yeah like in Ghana,” Jamie, our junior librarian says. “They eat winged termites.” His brother is in awe.
Jamie nods. “Could we go to Ghana?”
They turn to me. Their sister, Julia, and younger brother, Will, appear on the porch, hands covered in chalk. “Um…maybe? Someday.”
“So some people think bugs are delicious,” Daniel muses, as though his munching on the ant had merit.
“I think chocolate covered worms could be really good,” Jamie offers.
I love food and I love kids. The only thing equally inspirational is travel – hiking the Icelandic hillsides, wandering in Umbria’s outdoor markets, soaking up the smells and tastes of New Dehli’s night streets. Parenting is nothing if not a journey into routine and familiarity. Structure, comfort, sure-fire techniques to avoid the hassles of parenting – the screaming fits, the sleepless nights, the soggy nuggets and fries. We eschew roads untraveled because, let’s be honest – if you’re on an unfamiliar road and you happen to break down and don’t have any snacks for the children in the back – you’re doomed. The thrill of arriving somewhere new, or even revisiting a beloved vacation spot right near home – getting out of the day-to-day, tasting local breads or steaming soups, leaving town, even for a morning while picking raspberries at a nearby farm, wakes us up, shakes us up, and bonds us with our kids. Even better if we come back with new food ideas and recipes to create together.
Imagine stepping away from the same old routine, traveling with four kids to explore global cuisines…
“Better you than me,” one friend said when I told her we were taking the kids to North Africa. “But tell me everything when you get back.
Sure, to some – okay, most – people, long-haul (or even day trips) with four kids under nine years of age is on par with root canal (without Novocain). But to me, it’s exciting. It’s delicious. It’s a must.
Maybe you read my memoir-cookbook, TOO MANY COOKS: KITCHEN ADVENTURES WITH 1 MOM, 4 KIDS, and 102 NEW RECIPES. Maybe not. Either way, this blog chronicles the continuing culinary adventurous of my family, eating in the kitchens of the world with my four children (now ages 11, 9, 6, and 4…and one baggage-toting, passport-armed, picky, pediatrician husband. And the recent addition of one giant Newfoundland puppy, Atticus.
This is also a place to read about EMMA’s PANTRY…more info to follow.