All this time I have been telling everyone there is not one single thing the lil' dude will not eat.
I take that back.
She will not eat my homemade mashed potatoes.
I know, right. What type of girl won't eat a comfort food like mashed potatoes?
In our house, we eat way more rice than we do potatoes. I can honestly say I don't love spuds. I'll eat a baked potato once or twice a year, at a banquet or wedding, what have you. Never by my own volition. The lil' dude has come this far eating rice three times a week or so- brown rice, wild rice, rice pilaf, white rice, cheesy rice. So maybe it's my fault she won't eat potatoes.
I've seen her employ french fries as a mere vehicle to deliver the ketchup to her tasty little palate. She'll dip the same fry over and over again until it's too mushy to stand up to the task. The lil' dude will then discard it, reaching for another.
Last summer, when she was on her vaca circuit and spent the week at my parents', my mom emailed she wouldn't eat her mashed potatoes and gravy. I didn't dwell on it. She was seven months old.
At Thanksgiving, same thing. No, uh-uh.
Christmas Eve, we showed up at my grandma's unannounced and were treated to an early meal of homemade Swedish meatballs, gravy, and potatoes. That kid all but devoured the meatballs, gulped at the gravy, and threw the potatoes to the house dog.
And my mashed potatoes? are good. Lots of real butter, salt, freshly smashed garlic, heavy cream or milk. They are whipped up into a mound of velvety goodness. They are the perfect complement to any side of beef or pork. Add steamed green beans or broccoli and that's a helluva meal. Just not what the lil' dude wants.
Last night, I made a similar dinner. Roasted pork, potatoes, cheesy broccoli. I divided little portions of each out for the lil' dude and put her bowl on her highchair tray.
Minutes later, I inspected her bowl. Most of the potatoes were gone. The Beagle, a forever fixture on the linoleum beside the table was drooling, proof he hadn't been tossed anything. I knew she would come around to Mama's mashed potatoes.
I was about to walk away from her when something made me stop and inspect my daughter.
I got to eye-level and said very quietly, "lil', dude, what did you do with your potatoes?"
She smiled at me.
Turned her head ever so slightly to the left.
Where I saw all her potatoes, smashed into the dewy softness of her hair.
Handfuls of garlicky starch all over the back of her scalp, her neck, her highchair.
Big nonpotatoeatin' grin on her face.