First, there’s Mingus. At four and a half, he will try anything – mushrooms, raw onion, escargot… he likes to ask, “Is this edible?” because, truly, if it is, he’s eating it. In the kitchen, he’s scissor happy and loves his little knife. If you hand him a cucumber, he’ll be handing you slices a few moments later.
Going back, when Mingus son was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies at 6 months, I decided to become a Home Cook. It’s a superfluous skill in New York City, with more than 30 restaurants delivering in under 30 minutes unless you (or someone you love love love) is allergic to egg, wheat, fish, nuts and peanuts. Limiting, huh? Well, because of weird production processes the list actually expands much further to include such oddities as root beer, soy sauce, corn chips, and virtually all pre-prepared ingredients. Our task: three meals daily. So, we started learning how to cook great food together.
A year and a half later, Beluga came into the picture – with a sweet tooth and a ready smile. I try to tell him his tastes will change in time; he tells me, “I will always love ice cream.” Now three, he adores each and every member of the family. He carefully edges across our apartment to deliver Daddy his morning coffee. He counts out cookies to make sure everyone has their fair share, and then joyfully devours the odd extras.
Since we began, Mingus has outgrown most of his food allergies and Beluga got away with none. We started cooking together thinking about the result. It became a habit, and now, it’s all the kids have ever known. I daydream new recipes, and they surprise me with their own.