Thursday, August 15, 2013

Better without Butter?


Trying to think of catchy title for this post, and that's the best I can do. Today I had to answer the question, "is my child better off, perhaps, with her food restrictions?" The answer I grudgingly came up with was yes.

Although I generally love all things Trader Joe's, I decided their low-fat mayo is yucky. Purchased on one of those days when I didn't have a chance to go the chain supermarket for my perpetual favorite, Hellman's Low-Fat Mayo. The TJ's mayo has the look of homemade mayo, an off yellow as opposed to the more sanitized white of Hellman's, but it didn't taste homemade-- I don't know what it tasted like but just not pleasing to me. It's a pet peeve of mine to have two jars or containers of the same thing open in the fridge at the same time (i.e. two mayos, two containers of the same type of milk, two ketchups), usually a result of certain male members of the household not having the ability to see beyond the first two inches of the refrigerator shelves. But I reluctantly went to the pantry and placed my beloved Hellman's side by side w. the TJ's mayo in the fridge---I just couldn't make it 'till the end of that 32 ounce jar.  Sorry Joe. 

Then today I was staring into the fridge and I read that words I had previously missed,  that shifted my world a bit, "egg free" on the Trader Joe's jar. It was almost like a shining light glowed behind the blue and yellow jar, and I could hear harps playing in the distance. I quickly rotated the jar and scanned the ingredients for that allergen of Rosie's present in every other brand of vegan mayo I've encountered--mustard. Nope, turmeric yep, but mustard nope. I quickly went over to Rosie excited and said, You can have tuna salad for lunch now, isn't that exciting? I was met with a skeptical stony look, "Maybe", she answered, "but  not tomorrow." As thoughts of more things I've removed from our family repertoire flooded my brain, I blurted out "pasta salad with mayo, potato salad, coleslaw, sweetie, coleslaw!"  Items I've been making with olive-oil vinaigrettes for over 5 years. "Harumph, no!" She answered. That being the answer  I would expect from a crotchety old man when asked to try something new. I thought she would be excited that her world could expand, I thought she would somehow know how delicious mayonnaise laced salads are--iconic American dishes I thought everyone loved and craved! But no. She didn't know from them and they didn't appeal to her in any way.

Then I thought, will she be better or worse off with mayonnaise in her life. I would be subbing heart healthy olive oil for not so healthy fat in our dishes.  Plus it had sugar and cornstarch and a bunch of other fillers. I realized more is not always better. I've heard from other allergy moms that when their child outgrows a milk allergy, for example, they don't necessarily like the taste of cows milk they want their soy milk back. Now I see that even if they can have something previously off limits, they don't necessarily have to. If she ever outgrows her egg allergy, she may be repulsed by scrambled eggs, say no to them sunny side up, poached and boiled. And really that's fine.  She may continue to be the Tofutti corporation's best customer long after she's outgrown her milk allergy---if she ever does. I always felt she was missing out somehow, but that is not how she sees her life.  Not being able to eat any old type of junk food off the shelf has forced her to have more whole foods and brands with healthier, simpler ingredients. So, it has been a blessing in disguise I didn't notice until today.

One of Rosie's favorite dishes is mashed potatoes--without any dairy of cours. One day, a few weeks ago, I made smashed potatoes, as I was feeling lazy, and she loved them too.

The amounts vary based on the quantity you desire to make, so I am just giving the ingredients and they need to be eyeballed. Usually I am very precise with recipes, but as I mentioned, this was a lazy recipe, and I hope you forgive me.

Blissful Smashed Potatoes

Red bliss potatoes, skin on, quartered (scrub with a vegetable brush and water before peeling)
Extra virgin olive oil
Chopped dill (fresh or dried)
Fresh ground pepper
sea salt

Boil potatoes in a large pot of water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot or a large bowl. With a fork or bottom of a whisk smash up the potatoes. They will not be creamy like mashed potatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with dill, pepper and salt to taste. Stir well and serve warm.