Food Fit For… Winter

“What about food fit for Winter dad?”

Fair point – sorry about that darling, I didn’t realise at the grand old age of 4 you’d really be bothered about things like that.

So this one is all about you and your even more adventurous (bonkers) outlook on the culinary world than Felix has.

Winter is a duracell-powered, blue-eyed princess with verbal diarrhoea and a broken off-switch. We love her very much and wouldn’t change her for the world.

Bonkers Winter

Last night she devoured her first escargot (snails – Helix pomatia to be precise). Tasty little gastropods that I adored as a child in the South of France.

bbq snailsSnails for the first time

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a few romantic alfresco lunches with my daughter this past week whilst housesitting for friends with a beautiful garden. She’ll be off to school soon and I realise that these idyllic occasions will become inevitably rarer or at least less spontaneous. It’s an entirely justifiable use of annual leave from work in my eyes.

fish in the garden

Winter at lunch

I’ve spent some time describing how important these little family meals in the sunshine really are – they are some of my earliest, fondest, clearest and most cherished memories from my own childhood. I can still remember every tiny detail from an early evening dinner in France … parking near the deserted market square in Saint-Raphaël and bundling into a busy little restaurant packed with locals; earlier that day my parents had asked the market traders where they went to eat. I ate escargot followed by frogs legs and was fascinated by my father’s plate of Steak tartare adorned with a beautifully fresh raw egg yolk. Many would balk at the idea of eating snails and frogs legs, but nobody made a fuss and it was therefore entirely normal for me. I suspect these memories form the basis of my emotive attitude towards food.

I recall how we were all so impressed by the dark-haired waitresses deftly slicing the foils from bottle after bottle of red wine, swiftly whipping out corks with a trusty ‘Waiter’s Friend’. Practice makes perfect I guess.

And then there was the fish.. wheeled out on a trolley in all its piscine glory and then filleted and plated at the table with such dead-pan precision and speed that you daren’t clap for fear of offending. An awe-inspiring spectacle to quietly admire. One day I hope to return to that spot.

I want to build equal memories for our children.

Although I recall my first ever trip to McDonalds a number of years later, I’m sure you can appreciate it didn’t provide quite the same inspiration.. I wonder how I’d have reacted to French cuisine if I’d already been accustomed to burgers and chicken nuggets.

So back to sitting in the garden with Winter and a can of oily fish with a green salad and home-sprouted Alfalfa seeds. Bliss.

anchovies for lunchIt still amazes me that Felix and Winter will devour whatever delicacies I place in front of them, but I guess it shouldn’t surprise me; did my parents think the same of us? Our attitudes to food are important, especially as parents. We must be mindful and avoid shaping our future generations to rely on the drudgery of mass-produced, over-processed muck.

Keep trying new things and let them explore. No child is going to like the taste of everything they try, but at least let them decide for themselves in an unbiased environment. This little monkey is obsessed with fruit – so much so that we have to hide the fruit bowl when she’s helped herself to clearly more than enough!

Winter eating an apple

We’re proud of you Winter.

At what age is a set of kitchen knives an acceptable gift?

Winter in the Meadow

2 thoughts on “Food Fit For… Winter

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