Friday, December 04, 2009

Interview with Aimée

Photo by Angela Chin

Several months ago, Julie Van Rosendaal interviewed me for one of her local papers and I kept a transcript of the exchange. I thought it might come in handy one day and so it has, because let's face it, I'm not doing a whole heck of a lot of cooking this week! My kitchen is packing up in boxes, and we're existing on sandwiches, eggs, and the mercy of friends who bring us a meal.

Tomorrow is the big move! I keep telling myself that, YES, everything will get done and NO, it will not snow.
We've got lots to look forward to, starting with celebrating the holidays in our new home. I for one, can't WAIT to get back to cooking three square meals a day.

In the meantime, as blatantly obvious 'blog filler', here is my interview with Julie...

JVR: What made you want to write a blog?

UtHC: It’s funny because I am more artist than techie and before I started blogging I only used the computer to check email; it never crossed my mind to start a blog.I frequently had people asking me for recipes and cooking tips and finally, someone, bless their heart, suggested I start a blog and share my recipes there. This advice seemed to make sense to me, so I launched UtHC with little hope of keeping it up for long; I guess I imagined it would fizzle out like the journals of my teens. Happily it almost immediately became a creative outlet for photography, writing and cooking, not to mention an invaluable connection to many other amazing individuals with similar interests and I am in my third year now.

JVR: Would you consider UtHC more food or parenting-related?

UtHC:I was surprised when other web sites started pegging UtHC as a family blog, because I saw it entirely as a food blog. Apparently I can't keep my babies out of my writing and so along the way I've embraced the ‘Mommy-Blogger’ label and slant the blogs content ever so slightly toward parents. It remains primarily a food blog, though.

JVR: What makes mealtimes unique for parents of small children?

UtHC: Cold food? Eating one-handed? Getting up from the table a million times? Oh, the family dinner table is held in high esteem by the psychology experts, but rare are the moments of domestic bliss around our table and we only have two children! Ideally dinnertime should signal the start of a relaxing evening, but if you have young members, it can be the most exhausting part of the whole day.

We have our laughs at the table, too; it's not all bad, no way. As the boys get older, the communication grows exponentially and we're making good memories together as well.

JVR: Any dinnertime disasters to share?

UtHC: Any meal that I put love into and is later rejected by the little ones is a small failure for me. I remember one time watching my son repeatedly spit out a gorgeous maple-glazed grilled pork chop and in my silent fury I muttered to my husband:

“I may as well just be feeding him pooh”.

I believe I was implying the food equivalent to pooh, such as Hamburger Helper or KD, not, of course, real pooh, but one can't be sure. I was pretty upset.

JVR: What are your biggest mealtime challenges?

UtHC: I'm trying to avoid taking the easy way out, which is preparing three different meals; a flavorful dish for us adults, an egg/bread combination for my 4 year-old, and some form of mushy finger food for the toddler. That may not sound easy for some, but my background as a former chef makes it a cinch and we can then eat in peace, avoiding the power struggles and the vocalizing of dislikes. Unfortunately, not only could this be a potential health hazard for my eldest son (no greens, meat), it doesn't exactly provide opportunity for trying new things.

I'm trained to keep the customer happy, but when the client is a picky preschooler who only wants pancakes or meatballs, I need to ignore his requests and serve up the chef’s special—for everyone.

JVR: Do you cook or approach food differently now that you're a mom?

UtHC: Hmm, friend once suggested to that I have a glass of wine before dinner gets underway to help me relax; I like that approach, but I don't think that is what you are asking, right?

I certainly make more of a conscience effort to serve a balanced meal than I did before we had kids. We always ate fairly healthy then, but often finished meals with a wedge of triple cream brie or a slice of cake. Now I rarely have those options available for the kids; dessert is fruit or yogurt.

Oh, we still eat sweets, just after the little ones are in bed!

* * *

Now let's hear from YOU!

Mealtime challenges? Dinnertime disasters? Dish on the above questions in the comments section below.

Share your wisdom; I'd love to hear it (and obviously I could use it!)


Angie F said...

Great interview! Once you get settled again (congrats, by the way!) I'd love to see a week or two of what your "normal meals" look like. Not something you are super-proud of and can't wait to show off, but just a normal old breakfast, lunch, or quick dinner that a normal person can make with relative ease and without multiple trips to the grocery.

It seems like food bloggers regularly apologize for gaps in blogging due to uninteresting meals they claim to have served. But us mommys could sure use some inspiration for new meals to add to the daily grind. Even if they don't seem very inspiring or interesting to you, it might be the very thing that gets us out of a slump.

I've been doing the whole three squares a day for two picky eaters for eight years now, and they regularly complain that I never make anything they like. At least hubby's happy. Sigh.

Maybe you can give us some new recipes or ideas for our children to complain about. ;)

Cheryl Arkison said...

I love seeing your answers to these questions.

As chaotic and drama filled at dinner can be I generally love sitting down to that chaos - even if the dogs eat more than the kids.

Good luck with the move.

Peter M said...

A wonderful read and Aimee, us Canadian bloggers have to support each other more.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I hope you get settled into your new place quickly Aimee. I enjoyed reading your interview and could have used some advice when trying to get my daughter to eat...her tastes changed daily, but I could always make spanakopita and she would always devour it even at the age of 2...go figure.

Jennifer Jo said...

I've been known to stomp away from the kitchen table in a huff, leaving my husband to police the whiny, grumpy kids. After working my tail off for a good dinner, I can NOT HANDLE IT when they gripe. My kids (and yours) have NO IDEA how good they have it.

My advice, to both you and myself and other frustrated mothers/fathers? Keep everlastingly at it.

Julie said...

Great idea! I could have probably posted that interview too, hey? Sometimes the old brain isn't firing on all cylinders!
Thanks for the fun interview! Good luck with the move!

Bende, Zoé or Abigél said...

I really enjoyed reading the interview. Always reassuring to know I am not the only one who is like a jack-in-the-box at meal times and gets upset about the complaints. Since we've had kids my husband really makes the effort to let me know that the meal was good and he also is really good at reminding me to be grateful for every mouthful the twerps take! I too, refuse to serve 3 different meals because I think trying things is important, but I do plan my week with some meals in mind that I think (although I am not always right) that my kids will enjoy. About ever two weeks we come round to oven fries and fish nuggets (easy-peasy to make in mini-muffin tins with some tuna or salmon, breadcrumbs, flax seeds, a bit of oil, herbs/spices of choice and an egg). We also have crepes for dinner with about the same frequency!! Today I had success with brussel sprouts though, so I am practically floating!!

I'm not a food blogger, but I love your blog and it really is inspirational.

HOpe the move goes well. Happy unpacking!

Melissa @BakingfortheBoys said...

My little Eli just started to accept meats last week. He is still a little young for any dinner complications.

My challenge is I'm probably more on the receiving end on advice.

Isabelle said...

Congratulations on your new home and good luck with the move. Thanks for sharing the interview.
Not being a chef (but I really enjoy cooking) and a working mom, it can be difficult to serve a healthy meal for breakfast and dinner, and use various and delicious ingredients throughout the week for my 18 months old. I know what he likes and I want to make sure not to make it all the time. So I have been getting my vegetables and fruits delivered from an organic farm, which forces my little one to try different foods and also learn that he likes them (like beets!).

Deborah said...

I hope the move went well and that things aren't too crazy right now!!

Melissa D at said...

It's funny, I have 3 kids 4 and under, and I know I'm not the only mom who is depressed by my kids non-eating of the good meals I make, but it's incredibly heartening to read about your struggles.

After years of lovely magazine recipes and a few years writing about food (sigh) I have resorted to making what I call "good plain food" -- the other night it was breaded and fried pork chops with simple sides. It doesn't necessarily feed my creative side, but they will eat it (usually), and it's pretty easy to get it all on the table and all sit down together when I don't have to babysit a sauce, etc.

I've also had good luck with pesto, which I made from my garden this year. Anything with pesto on it gets gobbled up by my kids, who turn into little gluttons! I'm now trying to make some dips with it for fresh veggies -- pureed baby lima beans with pesto are great.

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