My children are home from New England, taller and tanner and worldlier than when we said goodbye on July 2. Isabel has started drinking tea and is of her own volition reading Little Women, which may not sound worldlier than reading, say, The Clique, but absolutely is. Working your way through the schlock to arrive at the classics: worldly.
Our conversation on the subject:
Tipsy: "I loved Little Women! Jo was my favorite character. But of course she's every girl's
Isabel: "Actually, I like Beth."
Tipsy: "Beth? But don't you identify with Jo?"
Isabel: "No, I probably identify most with Meg. Or maybe Beth."
Stunned silence. I didn't realize anyone, ever, identified with Meg or Beth. It's a big, crazy world in our little house.
Anyway, we plunged right back into Stir by making Barbara Lynch's potato gnocchi. It's a basic gnocchi recipe: You boil the potatoes, rice or mash them onto a baking sheet, let cool, mix with salt and eggs, then knead the unruly mass into a shaggy dough.After that, you roll out the dough and cut it into ropes
and then into fat bullet shapes.
For a sauce, I made Lynch's butcher shop Bolognese. Lynch: "The secret ingredient in this rich, meaty, creamy, traditional-style Bolognese sauce is chicken livers. Finely chopped and combined with the ground meat, they contribute an amazing depth of flavor without making the sauce livery (which means their addition can be our little secret.")
Oh Barbara, we're way past that kind of Jessica Seinfeld ruse. Everyone knew about the livers; everyone ate the livers; everyone liked the livers. I was pondering the narrative arc of this blog, such as there is one. Two years ago, dinners regularly involved threats, children throwing themselves on the floor and screaming, parents reaching for alcohol, tears. Today, everyone pretty much eats everything.
Moral of the story: You, too, can break your the spirits of your children! Serve enough pig ear salads, Parsi casseroles, octopus, and oxtails stews, and by the time they are in middle school your babies will eat liver sauce without batting an eyelash.