When the children were younger, they had limited tastes when it came to dinner. If it wasn’t fried, pasta, or pizza there would be exaggerated sighs of resignation as they moved their food about the plate in interesting but uneaten patterns. I recognized a declaration of war and began arming myself through the meals I cooked. Meatloaf, which for some reason they would eat now included finely ground carrots which were browned a bit with the also finely chopped onions. No complaints and no reality checks from the peanut gallery.
The seasoned tomato sauce for the pizza had steamed and pureed carrots and green beans in it. Blended with the tomato sauce, the opposing dinner forces never caught on. Initially, I had finely chopped and steamed carrots but a slightly larger bit of carrot caught the attention of one of the dinner-time police and I had to retreat and rethink strategy.
Spaghetti was the number-one favorite among my panel of judges. When I made a meaty tomato sauce, I would get a can of pinto bean, drain, rinse, and them puree them with some broth and add that to the sauce. The sauce would be creamy, meaty, and rapidly devoured by the family.
Have I shared these tips with my now older children? No, because, someday, they will have to deal with little versions of themselves and I think they should enjoy all the splendor of that period in their lives.