Tuesday, 27 March 2012

PASTA SALAD AND FOOD HANGUPS

fusilli, tuna, corn and egg salad

I'm not even going to suggest to you that you MUST put anything green (scallions!) or red (peppers!) to pep up the colour and flavour.  This pasta salad would be so much more pretty but my kiddies would just pick out all the peppers and scallions anyway.  When I make a batch of potato or pasta salad, I always keep the kids' portions free of greenery because they inevitably don't eat it.  I think I'll just have to keep plying them with the green stuff in other ways.  They do like Caesar Salad, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.  The little one even eats gai lan, green beans, snap peas and bok choy.  

I remember being scarred for life as a youngster eating fried rice for lunch.  You'd think that going home, you'd have a decent homemade meal that was yummy and these would make for good memories.  Not so with me.  As a youngster in the 70's, coming home from school to eat lunch was about being nagged to eat the whole plate of fried rice because people were starving in China.  A quick retort about how we should then send the fried rice to China usually just got me into more trouble.  The thing about my mother's fried rice was that it had disgusting frozen peas in it.  The peas were overcooked, shrivelled and tasted like muddy green bombs of grossness.  There were chopped onions in there too, and I would pick away all the onions, peas and any other such matter from the fried rice; eating only the parts that didn't offend my delicate senses.  I'd eat the rice, the fried egg, the Chinese sausage and that's about it.  

One lunch hour when I was dawdling and moving my fried rice about the plate to try to make it seem as if I had eaten a lot, my mother became particularly angry at me about my pickiness.  She told me I couldn't get out of my seat until the whole plate was finished.  Every last rice kernel.  I was mortified.  Ick!  I wanted to gag.  She left me with some lame Chinese anecdote ringing in my ears about how people who don't finish every kernel of rice in their bowl would marry people who had complexions that looked like the leftovers.  Fortunately for me, she had to hoof it downstairs to deal with some motel matter.  You see when I was in elementary school, my parents owned and operated a motel.  24/7, they had to be at the beck and call of people who would buzz the office door for service.   We lived in the office, upstairs.  It was quite a colourful life, but those stories for later.

Left alone with my plate of fried rice, I realized that no matter how much I distributed the food around my plate, any food left on it would result in some sort of discipline.   For those of you familiar with bamboo feather dusters, you know what I mean.  The warm sun streamed through the green-trimmed windows.  I pushed open the window to look down on Kimmy, our black German Shepherd below.  

When my mother came back upstairs, I was sitting with my plate scraped clean.  She opened her eyes in surprise and I quickly took off to school before she could figure it out.   

Today, I eat pretty much everything except offal (I mean think of the word! very punny!)  and weird animal body parts...especially innards.  I love peas in my restaurant fried rice.  Still won't touch my mother's fried rice... I am still averse to certain preparations and textures of food.  For instance, I hate raisins in baked goods.  They are disgusting shrivelly hard lumps of yuckiness.  However, exchange those for craisins, and I'm all over it. I also don't like chopped nuts or desiccated coconut on some baked goods.  But I can joyfully eat a whole bowl of nuts or even a package of raisins and as you can see in my recipes, I love the flavour of coconut.   I even like to eat large chunks of dried young coconut.  Very yummy!

Today, I do eat onions and peas and I love veggies; especially roasted brussel sprouts and all sorts of lovely cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens--although I didn't eat much of these when I was a kid.  I have always loved spicy food and I am pretty adventurous when it comes to ethnic eats.  I'll try most things at least once.   It is with this hope that my daughters will grow up to be veggie eating adults later on that I had decided early on not to bother with making a huge issue of them not eating veggies.  As every year passes, they are incorporating more variety in their diets.  It's slow but steady and I think not making a big deal of it and just consistently keeping it on the table for them to try will enable them to develop a healthy attitude about food and eating.  I mean, really...they're not going to starve to death.  We're not living in a third world country where they would appreciate what they have.  I just don't want them to have these negative memories about certain foods stuck in their heads from their formative years.


So, do you have some foods that you still absolutely refuse to eat today?  Are you still reeling from some childhood psychological food trauma?  Were you scarred for life?  Tell me about it!
a kiddie favourite in the lunch box

PASTA SALAD 
*this pasta salad should be served cold.  Packed in a thermos or bento box with an ice-pack, it is a kiddie favourite as part of a healthy school lunch supplemented by fresh fruit.  This is best made the night before and refrigerated.  All the ingredients should be pantry staples.

  • 2 cups fusilli (uncooked) [I used Catelli Smart Pasta]
  • 1 small can tuna [I used oil-packed, drained]
  • 1 can corn niblets [I used Green Giant, drained]
  • 2 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (or more to taste)
  • very optional:  chopped red peppers, chopped sundried tomatoes, shredded carrot, sliced scallions, chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt, cooking as per manufacturer's instructions. [I used Catelli Smart pasta that is supposed to have the same amount of fibre as whole wheat pasta].
  2. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Allow to sit in colander to dry as you prepare the rest of the salad
  3. Into a large mixing bowl toss the pasta with the rest of the ingredients:  the flaked drained tuna,  the corn, chopped egg and any other chopped vegetables you wish.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix in 1/4 cup mayonnaise and thoroughly combine.  Add more mayonnaise to moisten if the salad looks too dry.
  5. Refrigerate in a sealed container. Serve cold.


6 comments:

Kavi said...

Hey! Came across your blog on Foodie Blogroll. And you have one of the most beautiful food blogs.ever! :) The food photographs are clean and so pretty it just make syou wanna cook! :)
New fan! ;)
Edible Entertainment

Medifast Diabetic Plan said...

We aren't really picky eaters but my grand children they won't much more than hot dogs, drives me nuts. Think it is a generation thing.
To this day I won't touch a pea, can't stand them and will always pick them out regardless of meal. Hubby always teases me, his favorite veggie is a nasty old pot of peas.
Thanks for your pasta recipe, look forward to trying.

a. maren said...

this looks really good, and definitely kid friendly! it was so fun to read this too, and learn more about you.

like you i try to eat about everything but innards (someday, maybe, i'll get there). i have some trouble with raw avocado, the mushiness? gets me down. but mash it into some guacamole and i'm all about it! bananas are a little this way too. but it doesn't stop me from eating them :)

Pranjali said...

very delicious recipe.You have a wonderful blog here.
Glad to follow you.
Do visit my new blog in your free time
http://www.foodydelight.com/

scribbles said...

i love pasta salad. i don't mind veggies anymore but it's still my favourite part of the salad bar! i've gotta try making some pasta soon...

Cakebrain said...

Hey Scribbles,
I love veggies too. Don't remember eating many as a kid though...hope my kids grow into veggie eaters!

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