Though for many of us food is serious business, it is also wonderful how playful it can be. After all, from a very young age, we all have a tendency to “play with our food.”
I am sure I am not the only kid that made up names and stories about my food. The fantasy especially helped the vegetables go down easier. Broccoli florets were trees, cauliflower were my birch trees, brussels sprouts were bushes, cooked carrots became telephone poles and stringy squash made rough telephone wires. The landscape, when arranged appropriately on the plate, most certainly helped the food taste better.
As Mini Whipped enters full toddlerhood, I have tried a number of things to get more veggies down her hatch. Luckily, she isn’t the pickiest of eaters but like most kids, she has her particularities. I encourage her to be playful with her food and the technique seems to be working. She helps me cook regularly and we enjoy gathering ingredients, assessing recipes by discussing the photos in the cookbooks, using the most fun kitchen tools from whisks to citrus zesters and making up stories about what we are eating.
Eating is necessary for sustenance and survival. But, how fortunate we are that we have the luxury to also make it so much fun! For those of us who are writing and reading food blogs, we can be grateful to have enough to eat and to have enough time on our hands to “play with our food.”
Broccoli with Cheddar Sauce
“Trees with Cheese”
6 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Sea salt, to taste
1 cup low fat milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
White pepper, to taste
Steam broccoli until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour, mustard powder and salt to taste. Gradually stir in milk, whisking over medium-low heat until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until completely melted. Season to taste with white pepper. Pour over steamed broccoli and serve immediately.