During our visit to France in May, a friend of ours suggest that I read Bringing Up Bebe, a book written by an American mother raising her children in France, and I've been delighted by and obsessing over it ever since. I don't completely agree with the French way of parenting in all regards, but I really love the priority French parents place on providing their children as early as possible with a wide variety of three-course meals, especially for lunch.
One night, while relaying this practice in painstaking detail to the hubby ("And then her two year-old finishes her meal with a wedge of brie and a light salad! Swoon!"), he observed that we kind of do that already in our house. I thought about our dinner over the last few nights, and I realized he was right: I do try to make dinner at our house a three-course affair most nights. The Gravy Baby usually starts bellyaching about his dinner being ready around 5:30 each night, and I usually try to start on a first course of a light vegetable of some kind -- sliced avocado with a little viniagrette, carrot salad with grated coconut and lime juice, or the family's collective favorite, lightly pickled Persian cucumbers, Asian-style. For our main course, I try to serve a variety of different types of cuisine ranging from Mexican to Thai, and we always finish with fruit for dessert.
The pickled cucumbers are especially perfect for weekdays in the summer -- I can throw it together in less than 10 minutes, and the Gravy Baby and the hubby crunch, crunch, crunch away on them while I use a precious few minutes to finish cooking our main course.
Plus, it makes me happy to think how francais we're being.
My dad provided more tips for his steamed fish; click here to see the original post with his updates.