This is a special year. It’s the year little C will be going to school. We’ve already attended a trial class, where she (thankfully!), after a few nervous but firm “mama sit down chair”, she dove right in. Between the toys, the kids, the snacks, and the lovely teachers who never tired of her endless desire to “wash hands!”, she seemed quite pleased. So far, so good. I only hope this continues through actual classes where I am not conveniently “sit down chair” in a corner.
This is also the year I introduce her to sweets. I can already hear the divided outcries of mamas everywhere. One camp says, “You’ve never given her anything with sugar in her whole two years?? Your poor little daughter!”. The other camp decries, “Why would you want to give you child sugar at all??”
I don’t know much about motherhood, but I do know this: you can’t please everyone. And the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can start having fun! ;)
So, yes, sweets…this is the year. And by sweets I mean cakes and pie and pancakes and French toast. Cookies and jam and honey and, oh yes, chocolate. These are things I enjoy, and things I want her to enjoy too. I held back until now so she could get a good baseline of natural flavors. Now it’s time to add another layer to that.
I’ll admit, another reason why I am slowly initiating her into the world of sweets has a lot to do with school. I know she will soon be exposed to all manners of sweet things there in a way that she never was at home, and I want to make sure she tries homemade cookies and good chocolate first.
The last reason is purely selfish. I want to be the first one to see her face when she tastes the bliss that is chocolate. Is that so much to ask?
You can just imagine my excitement as I hold a perfect square of 66% chocolate, meticulously brought to room temperature, before her. I take a bite first, as I always do before feeding her anything for the first time. “Mmmmm!” I say offering her a bite, “Do you want some chocolate?” She looks at me and, for the first time upon being offered a new food, says, “No!” This is the same girl who has readily tried everything from asparagus, to lamb, to salmon, to truffle oil pasta. “It’s yummy I promise!” But she is having none of it. “No! Egg! Rice!”
And so, as I ponder the incongruity of my own flesh and blood refusing chocolate, I stick to things more familiar.
Purple Rice Pudding
- 1/4 cup purple rice
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
- Optional: a couple of spoonfuls raisins
- Place milk and rice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the sugar and raisins if you’re using them, and stir.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender and has absorbed a lot of the milk. Once the milk starts getting absorbed and the mixture thickens you will need to stir more frequently to ensure that the rice pudding does not stick.
- Taste and add more sugar if you’d like it to be sweeter (I didn’t need any). Give it a final stir making sure any additional sugar dissolves. Serve warm.
I made this with the purple rice I procured from one of my friendly purveyors. It is harvested only once a year from the Cordilleras, a mountainous region in the North. The rice’s color, plus the dark muscovado I use (from here), make this look almost chocolate-y. I've marked the raisin as optional – I used it here but I would be just as happy with this plain. This is a very simple, bare bones sort of rice pudding recipe, no eggs or fancy stirring techniques, and thus works very well for breakfast. Its simplicity however does not take away from its creamy, milky, comforting embrace. Perfect for busy moms and little ones who won’t try chocolate (for bizarre reasons known only to themselves).
Thinking more rationally about it, I suspect she is refusing the chocolate because of its color. I, personally, have nothing against brown, but if you've spent your whole (2-year old) life eating colorful fruits and vegetables, I suppose an unidentified brown square can look a tad dubious. Especially if the most common brown thing in your young life is…something mama is not going to mention in her food blog.
In any case, the joy and excitement is in the journey, lest we forget, and there will be other days to try chocolate. Until then, we’ll enjoy a bowl of rice pudding!