Naming your cows: Mike’s childhood experiences

It’s going to be a childhood-themed week – later this week I’ll be posting on author’s favorite children’s books. So in keeping with the theme, here’s Mike’s list of childhood experiences that will probably sound foreign to our own kids (heck, some of them sound foreign to me).

  1. Growing up in the same postal code as both sets of grandparents.
  2. Having a much larger extended family, with many cousins on both sides of my family.
  3. Growing up on the farm and doing lots of hard physical work, especially in the summers.
  4. Taking care of animals every day – seeing all sorts of animals give birth and die.
  5. Chopping the head off a chicken, scalding it in boiling water, and plucking its feathers.
  6. Growing almost all the vegetables we ate and canning or freezing them for the winter.
  7. Naming your “pet” cows … and then discussing who you were eating over the dinner table.
  8. Being able play outside the house (entirely out of sight from my parents) for long periods of time.
  9. Taking my first flight when I was 20 years old and in college.
  10. Getting my first email address when I was 18 (upon entering college).
  11. Getting my first mobile phone when I was 23.
  12. Having only 4 channels of TV.
  13. Going out to eat at a restaurant was a special occasion – we ate out at a restaurant once every couple of months and it was a big treat.
  14. My school (and the community) was very monocultural. There were about 1300 students enrolled at my school, and only 5 were non-Caucasian.
  15. There were teachers at my school who had taught my parents when they were students.
  16. My parents rarely consumed alcohol – only once or twice per year, on special occasions.
  17. My mom did the dishes (and the cooking, the laundry, and almost all the house-hold cleaning) … 🙂

OK, OK, so I might not be doing many dishes here (thanks to the services of our wonderful maebaan) but I am making our own baby food. My first attempt ended in Dominic’s first temper tantrum, but my latest effort was received with much happy table thumping and head-bobblings of approval.

“What did you make?” my mother asked when I told her this.

“Baby ratatouille,” I said proudly. “Eggplant, tomato, onion, a little bit of broccoli, and garlic.”

Garlic?” both my parents said at the same time. “We’ve never heard of anyone feeding a baby garlic.”

“Well, now you have,” I said. “And he liked it.”

What did your kids love to eat when they were little?

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21 responses to “Naming your cows: Mike’s childhood experiences

  1. canned asparagas – it was super tender! Mashed sweet potatoe – with a little cinnamon sprinkled in. Cooked peas – which had been mashed.

    Now what “I” ate as a child would make some people cringe – but, hey – it was normal where I grew up – e.g. roasted cicada – lightly salted, roasted sago worms (not my favorite), grilled python, etc. We also ate sweet potatoe leaves (cooked just like spinach), a vegetable similar to asparagas, many different varieties of sweet potatoe (purple was almost as good as the red), taro root, and many others for which I have no American/English name.

  2. My oldest wouldn’t eat bananas or macaroni and cheese, but she did eat Lutefisk right after she started on solid food!

  3. Amber Clements

    Haha! Love it.

    Baby-toddler Maya loved sushi, curry, and lentils (embedded in my vegan adventures). She went through a stage where she was anti anything that was not meat, potato or pasta, but I found that the way to her heart was peer pressure. I.e. Eating foreign food in a communal setting, which, as a solo Mum, meant having friends over. It was a case of everybody else is doing it, come on, give it a go… She was eating home made falafel and tabouleh last night – something went right somewhere. :o)

    • Yeah, something sure did go right somewhere. Hope you guys are going well. Do send us an update on jobs etc. Would love to hear about how things are going in the land of Amberistan.

  4. My son loved garlic too. I was heavy into juicing when he was a baby and I had a particularly healthy concoction that was almost entirely garlic, but he sucked it right down. My husband had cancer as a boy and so I was fighting it preventively, never mind that Christopher’s actual need was that he was profoundly deaf…we figured that out eventually.

    Dominic is the cutest baby in the world. I’m not a proponent of pageants, but he could be a contender.

    • Wow, OK, so one clove in a whole batch of ratatouille’s definitely not going to cause the world to tilt on it’s axis then :). And, thank you. When he smiles all big open-mouthed like that, he’s adorable. When he sticks his bottom lip out all grumpy and pouty it’s pretty adorable too, but I suspect it’s a sign of determined and less adorable battle of will days to come.

  5. My kids also liked strong flavors – garlic, onions, anchovies, indian food -pretty much anything with lots of flavor. They loved mashed avocado, papaya, and broccoli, too. Julia used to eat Kyrgyz spicy noodles like they were nothing! Your dish for Dominic sounds awesome!

  6. OK, so this is not about baby food, but I needed to comment. As a friend of Mike’s from growing up, I knew I had arrived when I had a cow named after me. 🙂 I can relate to most of his childhood memories although we did tease him for being the farm boy.

  7. I knew an American family in Burundi who gave their kids garlic oil capsules every day. Their youngest, who was about 18 months at the time, insisted on chewing them before she swallowed. She loved them, as you could tell from several yards away!

  8. Ooooh, you’re giving me an opportunity to brag (just a little). I am proud to say that one of my biggest accomplishments as a mom was that I never ever bought one jar of baby food for our twins. I steamed and blended all their food. We first started out with plain fresh avocado as their first solid food and moved on to all the veggies and fruit: broccoli, sweet potato, squash, zucchini, carrots, asparagus, peas, apples, pears, guava. Even fish and beans. I kept it all pretty bland and they loved it. Was not as adventurous as you by spicing things up with garlic though! But now they love everything and are great eaters. At 2yo they can even eat a little bit of spicy food like Thai green curry and laarb! Will be great for living in Laos ;D

    • The avocados here are bitter (sad face) so we’re not using them. But broccoli has been a huge hit, and sweet potato when it’s in season. Laos food is great for kids in general, I reckon. Lots of sticky rice and lots of eating with hands.

  9. having learned the hard way the first time around, baby food is a myth!
    you just have to take grown up food, and mash it up for the toothless sprites….. i wish that i had done that with T, who does eat most meats and most veggies and all fruits. but anything with a spice or a seasoning and anything mixed together is a deal breaker. whereas Will is the human vacuum of all things off my plate and i’m not about to stop him!
    good job guys, go for the garlic, and everything else, and keep posting his adorable grin, AND pout! 🙂

    • Yeah, I figure sooner or later he’s going to come up against garlic (and the rest!!) so I’ll start introducing it little by little. We’ve been lucky so far – no food reactions at all that I can spot.

  10. Judah just discovered papaya! He loves it.

    Actually when he started eating, he’d eat anything. At about a year he started getting picky. I believe this is because I started being at work full time and dad feeds him various things with sugar, and now he wants sugar.

    • Ooooohhhh, OK. I won’t be surprised when he figures he can spit things out without swallowing them. Right now he’s only refused to eat one thing – and he did it by just screaming non-stop until we stopped shoveling it in his mouth.

  11. Sorry, I’ve been off line for a while and only just got here – but a bigger extended family than you? Really??? We counted at our wedding that it was Col 76 to me….3 (total including parents and sister)!

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