Spicing Things Up!

Cooking for a toddler can be challenging. What was absolutely delicious today, might get spit out in disgust tomorrow. One thing both me and Ana have been focusing on is diversity in taste, texture and foods, mainly because we’re both passionate about food and cooking and want to encourage curiosity for the plethora of variety the culinary world has to offer. Ean has always been curious about food and has some weird favorites like pickled ginger but food has always been more about an adventure rather than actual sustenance.

Even the delivery preference changes regularly. Sometimes he loves the pouch (I’m actually reviewing two different pouch-types currently to crown a winner soon), sometimes he prefers being spoon fed. Other days he refuses to be fed and will only allow food delivered by his own hands or cutlery.

With our desire to encourage a rich variety of flavors in mind, I had an idea today. I had boiled some potato in broth for him and wanted to spice it up a bit. I didn’t know what to choose so I decided to let him do it. I took out some Indian masala, all spice, cumin, grillkrydda (a swedish mix of spices) and smoked paprika.

Armed with those aromatic and colorful spices I held them up individually to his nose and let him sniff them out and then pick one to season the mashed potatoes which had already been salted and drizzled with virgin olive oil.

In true toddler fashion, he could not decide and instead, for each spoonful, he added one spice and kept changing whenever he felt like it. He especially seemed to like the smoked paprika, all though it may just have been the container he liked to play with the most.

When he picked a spice, I said its name and had him try to repeat it, smell it, feel it between his fingers and sprinkle it and we spent a good 30 minutes like that, playing back and forth between flavors until he had finished his food.

He has rarely eaten as much as he did in that one sitting and I didn’t even have to insist once. Bringing such playfulness into something otherwise mundane definitely paid off and we both left the table feeling happy, full and content with the experience.