16 April 2010

Food Revolution Fridays - Of Waffles, and Smoothies, and Grocery Carts, and Yams

Every morning, The Imp crawls into bed with us for a cuddle before we start the day. Last Tuesday was no different - he appeared at our bedside and doggedly clambered up, worked his way in between us, and tenderly rested his head on my chest for a moment. Bliss.

Then he raised his head, looked at me very seriously, as only an almost-two-year old can, and said, "Waffles." Still half asleep, I said something super-intelligent.

Me: Huh?
Imp: (with purpose) Waffles.
Me: You want waffles?
Imp: (a hint of exasperation) Waffles. Help Mummy waffles kitchen.
Me: What?
Imp: (for fuck's sake, Mummy) WAFFLES. Help Mummy waffles chair kitchen.
Me: You want to help Mummy make waffles standing on the chair in the kitchen?
Imp: YEAH!!
Me: We don't have time to make waffles from scratch this morning, sweetie. But we froze some of the waffles we made last time, so we can heat them up in the toaster if you'd like.
Imp: Waffles!!


Imp: Smoothie too!
Me: Okay honey, smoothie too.

Thoughtful pause.

Imp: (determined) All done cuddle. Waffles, smoothie too.

After which Very Serious Pronouncement he bailed off the bed and headed straight for the kitchen chair to pull it up to the counter to help make waffles! and smoothie too! I could barely keep up with him.

 The Imp helps Mummy in the kitchen

As we dug out breakfast stuff and put it together, I had visions of the future: The Imp being the most popular kid in his dorm at university because he knows how to throw together waffles from scratch at the drop of a hat, wowing friends with his delicious from-scratch cakes, travelling the world seeking out fantastic new foods... And I smiled as I looked at him and said "May you never know the taste of an eggo, my darling boy."

Yesterday we stopped at the grocery store on our way home from daycare. I can't get over his excitement about all things food. He threw his hands in the air as we pulled into the parking lot and shouted "Hurray grocery store!" As we walked through the produce section he pointed at different fruits and vegetables, naming them as we went. The yams, however, stumped him. "Whassat?" he said as he pointed. So I picked one up and handed it to him.

Me: Yam.
Imp: Yam. Yam?
Me: Yes, yam. You've had yam before when you were little and mummy made mushy yam for you.
Imp: (turning it over in his hands, looking at it very seriously) Yam!

And then he threw it with somewhat surprising vigor into our shopping cart.

This is why Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is so important. I know it's a tv show. I know it's pop culture. I know there are those who dismiss it. But as I strolled through the grocery! store! with The Imp and saw his unabashed toddler delight in all the varieties of food, I was keenly reminded of the first grade kids in Huntington who couldn't identify even a potato or a tomato in their raw form, despite the fact that they ate fries and ketchup every single day. I was at once sad for those kids and elated for my own.

Real food matters.

So yam it is for dinner tonight, in the form of oven baked fries:

Peel & slice yams into french fries.
Toss them in a small amount of olive oil (garlic infused is lovely) and some dried or fresh herbs. I rely heavily on dried herbes de provence. I can't imagine cooking without them.
Squeeze some lemon juice over them too, if you'd like.
Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes, turning them over once halfway through.
Salt & pepper to taste, serve hot.


Some of them got a little singed when I got distracted by The Imp's antics. 
Given the sweetness of yams, it gives them a caramelized flavour, so it's not necessarily a bad thing.

There's really (again, me with the intuitive cooking) no rules. Use whatever spices you prefer. Curried yam fries! Mexican yam fries with cumin, chilies & cilantro! Rosemary & orange juice! Whatever suits your palate. Go!

Note: these do not get as crunchy as regular old potato fries. I think the not deep frying combined with yam's higher water content is to blame. But they're way tastier than generic potato fries, so.

This post is part of Food Revolution Fridays at Scattered Mom's Notes From the Cookie Jar. Be sure to head over there and see what other people are saying about great food!


  1. I feel somewhat compelled to defend the potato / tomato confusion, as my own 5-year-old, who has grown both, still mixes up the names. They sound a lot alike, yo.

    All the same, I hear you. This is why I garden and visit the farmer's market and cook from scratch. Food should be REAL.

  2. What was sad (heartbreaking, really) about those kids' confusion was that it wasn't simply a matter of getting words mixed up. Jamie held up a potato and got blank stares in return. They had never seen a potato that wasn't a french fry. Couldn't tell what it was, and looked incredulous when he told him that that's what fries were made of. Same with the tomato. No clue as to what it was, until he mentioned ketchup. Then one of the kids said, "Oh yeah, tomato ketchup."

    It was brutal, and to a foodie like me, shocking to see the disconnect between real food and what people are actually feeding their bodies.

  3. That is SO CUTE-and just like Jake was like when he was the Imp's age. I have to confess-when he came home the other day and announced that he got an 'A' in Cooking class, and the teacher said he produced the best food she's every seen, I was really proud.

    Plus I always tell him girls love a guy who cooks.

    The yam fries look delish! I love the singed ones-it adds a little flavor.

  4. @bananaramafoFin16 April, 2010 20:46

    It also broke my heart when those kids couldn't recognize where their French fries and ketchup came from. Watching that made me more determined to try veggies I've never had before and one day introduce them to my son.

    The Imp is gonna make a good boyfriend/husband one day!!!

  5. I love this : ) What a great post. And what a sad things that kids don't know what whole foods are like. I love that your son was so excited about a yam! Delightful! He is a cutie : ) I am visiting via Jill's question this morning on facebook about up and coming blogs. So nice to meet you : )