I began thinking about my Thanksgiving hosting duties once the calendar turned to November. After 13 years of hosting, I have tried-and-true recipes, but I like to try new dishes. I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes. Puréed Roasted Squash and Yams With Citrus sounded like a delicious side dish when I came across it on the NYT Cooking website. I printed it out so I could remember to consider it for Thanksgiving.
The other day, I discovered a Maple-Mustard Roasted Chicken recipe in The Washington Post’s Eat Voraciously Newsletter. It sounded like it would pair perfectly with that NYT Cooking side dish. Why not make it now… for a weeknight dinner?!
First, I don’t know what I was thinking by trying two new dishes on a weeknight. Yet, somewhere between working with the kids to pack tomorrow’s lunches and helping Isabelle decode her Bat Mitzvah Torah portion (Yes, we are preparing for her Bat Mitzvah!), I managed to pull off both of these dishes!
I bargained and lost. Isabelle began complaining as soon as she learned the names of the dishes. Of course, this led to Ari turning his back on the table and REFUSING to eat dinner.
“The chicken is good, Ari,” Isabelle declared after trying a bite. Then she tried the puree. “But not this, yuck!”
Marc and I dug into our food and were delighted by the taste of everything. However, our company was not great. Isabelle was pouty and Ari was obstinate.
We sweetened the pot. Instead of allowing them two small pieces of Halloween candy after dinner, we agreed to let the kids have three pieces if they finished their dinner.
Ari still REFUSED to try anything. In fact, he got up from the table and attempted to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Marc took the peanut butter away from him and placed it on a high shelf. Then, Ari went into the fridge, removed a yogurt, peeled off the top, grabbed a spoon, and sat down at the table.
“No way am I letting him have a yogurt,” I said.
“The top is already off,” Marc declared.
“Fine,” I sighed, resigned to the fact that at least Ari made a healthy choice. I continued eating.
The next thing I knew, Ari finished his yogurt, retreived our ceramic candy jar, and brought over three small Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for me to eat since I finished my dinner.
“I don’t need dessert,” I protested.
Then, he gave three candies to Marc. Ari must’ve had a plan because the next thing I knew, he grabbed one of Marc’s Reese’s, opened it up, and shoved it in his mouth.
“I think you have the wrapper in your mouth!” I called out.
Ari removed the wrapper from his mouth.
Isabelle and I sat there — stunned. Marc took away the candy jar.
“I’m still hungry!” Ari yelled.
“Eat your chicken,” Marc and I said in unison.
The next part is fuzzy for me. In the midst of all of this, we made a deal with Isabelle to eat half of her side dishes and we’d give her two pieces of candy. Thankfully, she got with the program!
“I want my candy bucket too,” Ari whined.
“But you didn’t eat your dinner. You had one bite of chicken. Eat your dinner and you can have some candy.”
“No!” Ari responded.
It was no use. Ari was on the move! He retreived his helper tower from the dining room, brought it over to the pantry, climbed up and tried to reach his Halloween candy bucket (which was not-so-conveniently located on the top shelf of our pantry).
“It’s too high,” he declared, climbing down. “I’m gonna adjust the height.”
“Don’t do that, Ari. It’s too heavy for you to do. And besides, you cannot have candy if you don’t eat your dinner.”
Do you think he listened to me?
He did not.
The next thing I knew, Ari let out a blood curdling scream and dropped to the floor, writhing in pain while grasping his fingers.
“Did the platform land on your fingers?”
Cue the big sister giggling as she popped M&Ms in her mouth. I shot her a look.
Oh. My. Goodness. If only Ari had eaten his dinner!
And that is how I landed up on my kitchen floor, after what should’ve been a lovely meal, cradling my son and rubbing his head until the pain in his fingers dissipated.
Guess what we won’t be having as a side dish this Thanksgiving? Puréed Roasted Squash and Yams With Citrus.