“What kind of soup should I make?” I asked Leo, faux-casually. “Oh, I’ll just have something else and you and Daddy can have whatever soup you like,” my sophisticated negotiator replied. I know. Leo hates lentil soup. He hates minestrone. He liked escarole soup for a minute, but these days—you know, soup season?—he’s super suspicious of anything soup-ish (sorry, couldn’t resist!). I think I’ve got his number: soup contains too many items, all mixed up. Leo prefers to see his foods, all separate, arrayed plainly before his eyes. But dammit, people eat soup in November! So I persisted.
After much conversation, Leo and I determined that because he likes carrots and rice, he would like carrot-rice soup. So off I went to concoct a substance at once bland and simple enough to pass muster with the three-year-old and also interesting enough to actually eat. A tiny bit of curry and thyme went under the radar, and I served Leo’s soup unblended so he could make the personal acquaintance of each carrot slice and grain of rice. Then I pureed our soup, gave it a hit of lemon and a dollop of crème fraiche and called it dinner. A hit! (Of course Leo wouldn’t let a taste of the creamy soup anywhere near his mouth.)
Stay tuned for the stir-fry summit. Casserole conference? Or perhaps the pasta peace talks. At least we’re all at the same table, right?
Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.