Monday, October 31, 2005

Score one for the health nut!

Well, OK. I’m not really a health nut. But shockingly, I have joined the ranks of parents who, for the last hundred years, have been appalled by sending children who haven’t eaten anything reasonable for dinner into the mean, sugar-coated streets on Halloween.

I remember my own mother’s futile attempts to get us to eat something – anything! – before we went out on our annual rampage. She’d make hamburgers, she’d make macaroni and cheese, she’d make all kinds of things in a vain attempt to get us to eat something that wasn’t chocolate coated or candy shelled.

No dice.

We’d push the food around on our plates watching anxiously as darkness gathered, whining about the loss of good trick or treating time, about how all our friends would have gone on without us, wincing and muttering and shooting her dark glances every time other kids rang the bell and shouted out the gladsome ‘TRICK OR TREAT!!’.

Eventually, she’d give up and let us go. Growling and scowling over our untouched plates, and threatening us with Dire Consequences if we ate so much as a single candy bar before we came home and had some peas or something.

Yeah, right. Not even invoking all the starving children in Africa or China could induce us to eat food on Halloween. Talk to us on All Saint’s, then we were starving. But on the Hallowed E’en? Fuhgettaboutit. Food? Food? Who needs food, when there’s all that candy out there!

I don’t know why I expect my kids to be any different. But still, I try. I try to get them to eat dinner, which three nights out of seven they turn their adorable little noses up at anyway – let alone on such a night, such a grand and glorious night of Promised Gluttony.

But I thought I’d give it a try, anyway.

So I made mini meatloaves, using a cupcake pan.

Then, I made mashed potatoes, which I dyed green, yellow and blue and put into bags tipped with my Wilton goodies (which, after all, I paid good money for and ought to use now and again).

And I made meatloaf cupcakes. With mashed potato frosting. And ketchup spritzes.

I didn’t expect much. I really didn’t. Apart from a little shrieking and giggling, I did not expect my kids to actually, you know, eat the things. I expected they might scrape the mashed potatoes off and play with them, but eat them? Naw, not really.

And I really did not expect to be confronted with not one, not two, but three clean plates (well, five – but Daddy and me, we’re sort of a given when it comes to meatloaf and mashed potatoes!) (and one tray – Captain Adventure also approves of meatloaf) (mashed potatoes, however, are best used to decorate one’s chest and face).

Even Boo Bug, our little ‘vegetarian’ who turns her nose up at most forms of meat, ate her meatloaf with great relish.

Well, I’ll be. Without firing a single ‘there are children starving in Ethiopia, you know!’, I won the battle.

Woo hoo! With protein and starch on board, they have gone off with daddy to see just how much candy three little girls can acquire in the limited time before no really I mean it, bedtime, while mommy puts her feet up between door bell rings and ponders why it is that colored mashed potatoes simply taste better than plain-old ones…

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