Perfect Pancakes

My children do not eat eggs, amongst many other things, even though only one of them is neophobic. They love the shape of eggs, holding eggs, playing with eggs, buying with eggs but not actually eating them. Whilst their diet is appalling it is just one of the many campaigns that we're working on. Each child has a narrow diet and has very little overlap with the preferences of their siblings. Separate meals for each individual person with their own set of quibbles can be a challenge for the chef. So a couple of years back when junior entertained the possibility of eating pancakes for breakfast we considered this step to be a major breakthrough. At last we had found one meal where they would all eat the same thing as each other.

As usual, I was not content with this development and started tinkering with the ingredients. Changing the recipe of something that they already eat, is also a recipe for disaster but I forged ahead regardless. The goal? Egg consumption by stealth. Weeks of careful tinkering eventually produced two pancakes per child, one egg per pancake. Result each child 'eats' two eggs per week. Cost? One gallon of syrup per pancake consumed, not an idea ratio but another little something that we can tinker with. When I recall the delicate lacey crepes that my mother created I am tempted to hide in my own oven, but needs must where the devil drives.

Hence at their current ages of 9 seven and a half, and 6, after years of meticulous devotion my children consume pancakes with the consistency of India rubber. They'd double as Frisbees if one were so inclined. Not so much a culinary tour de force as reinforced tyre material.

As side issue, which is the one I wanted to discuss was the 'perfection' aspect of the pancake in question, not it's consistency, but it's shape. A perfect pancake in this household is round. Not only is it round, it is perfectly round. In fairness I only need to make one in three, is perfectly round and ensure that junior is the recipient of my efforts, if I wish him to participate in the eating extravaganza. It's a very simple formula for success; if it is round he will eat it, if it is not round he won't and no amount of syrup will persuade him otherwise. Even if you hold out and represent the irregular pancake at snack time, lunch time, next snack time and supper time, be assured that this is a battle that you, or rather 'I', am not going to win. I have no idea what perils of consumption worry him so inordinately on this matter, but he will not be budged.

However, during my temporary check out period following surgery, my domestic duties have been severely curtailed. Spouse, the original pancake make of some 15 years experience entered the fray and took up the griddle. Whilst I would like to say that they all cheered him on in his efforts, this would be less than truthful. I had the pleasure of witnessing the presentation of the first tear shaped pancake. The noise that cracked open from his lungs assured the neighbour that he had just been slain to the floor with a stake through his heart. Fortunately he was speechless with shock, so outraged at the concept of non roundness. Even when the screaming subsided he was only capable of half sentences:
“what? / it can't be / no / never / not elipse / aghhh.” On reflection spouse and I concurred that a non round shape might have been an option if the pancake had been a recognizable and familiar shape. A preferred shape might even have brought additional rewards, but a trapezoid on a early Sunday morning didn't enter our thought processes, well it doesn't often, does it?

The other two chomp away oblivious to his angst and make unhelpful comments;
“Hey it looks like a tear and he's crying!”
“Mine is like a , like a …er. … is shaped like a squidgey moon!”
“Actually, it looks like an egg too!” Everyone turns to look at junior's plate. Everyone mutters in agreement, it does sort of look like a pointy egg. Junior allows his eyes to sweep over his own plate, whereupon he sputters in awe, “it is! It is like an egg! I love it, eggs are my favourite!”

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The Bribery and Corruption method of bringing up a child

Now I know what you're thinking, so don't just start in on me, as to be honest, I really don't have a leg to stand on. The thing is, you have to work with what you've got, and at the moment, all I have to work with is chocolate.

I mean, when did you last go down on bended knee to your child, beg, plead and implore to them, to just take a little nibble of chocolate ……..and then they can get down from the table? Not recently I would venture to suggest.
Rather you had whip your hand back quickly before they bit your fingers off. Me? I have to restrain mine in his chair to prevent escape. Actually, three of my other ones would be the latter category too. We only have one true deviant about these parts. Well maybe two, but leave me out of the equation.

The fact that he eats chocolate at all, is something that I relish, because in theory it opens the door to a myriad of possibilities. Did you know that they make such a thing as chocolate covered pretzels? Unlikely I know, but it's perfectly true. There are other more obvious choices, such as chocolate covered peanuts and raisins. Then there are lots of different varieties of chocolate itself. I have a big pool to draw upon here. Thus far, our success rate is a big fat zero. As noted in previous posts, the issue of texture is always our downfall. There again, appearances can be deceptive. Merely changing the shape of the ‘food’ in question is enough to upset the applecart.

He eats pretzels, ergo he should be able to eat chocolate covered pretzels, ditto chocolate covered raisins, but unfortunately these happy combinations have evaded him. We'll gloss of the chocolate covered poison packs for obvious reasons. [translation = peanuts are in their own sub category of poisonous foodstuffs, even though I'm fairly confident that technically speaking, he is not allergic to them]

The idea in principal, is to pick a desirable food, such as broccoli, where the ratio of chocolate covering to vegetable matter would be beneficial and then get him to eat it. That is what we're aiming at. I know that goal is a long way off, but it is better to travel hopefully than to……….. something or other, I forget.

I think, realistically, that since he eats chips [translation = fries] that a chocolate covered potato might be a good starting point. However, that might be a biased Irish gene providing undue weight in the decision making process. Spouse, another non vegetable eater, pointed out that we might be better fixing our sites a little lower. He was wise to avoid mentioning chocolate infused pasta and expose his own gene pool bias. Hence, as always, heeding to his superior grasp of the situation, I managed to hunt down a variety of different shaped chocolates as a stage one. Remember if a food changes shape from cube to stick, or quarters to halves, it effectively changes category too. It becomes ‘new food’ as a result. Stage two would be to try different types of chocolate such as Ghiradelli's or Hershey's.

Thus far the prospects are not propitious, but we'll keep you posted. I will be the one in the kitchen trying to make chocolate trapezoids as a dodecahedron is way beyond my skill set.

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