I don’t know what it is about babies and young children but they often inspire thoughts of food and eating among mothers. Often, you will overhear a mother call her young “lamb chops” or “pork chops” or perhaps even “muffin”. Once, I even read of a mother referring to her baby as “baba ghanoush”, a middle-eastern eggplant dip.
At our house, Amanda has been called everything from “fat cheeks” to “roast baby”; the first of many such food-sounding appellations starting at birth when her grandfather, my father, said her toes look like peanuts! So fond are we of relating her to food that I even devised a method of gauging her mental development by it.
When she was a baby, I’d go up to her and say, “Oh, you look so delicious. I could cook you up with carrots and peas and potatoes…” and she’d laugh and gurgle because she understood nothing. In her second year of life, I’d go up to her and say the same thing, but now on hearing my culinary plans for her, she’d burst into tears.
By the time she was three, she’d join in my ramblings of what I plan to do with her succulent flesh by saying in her then-squeaky voice, “Yes, and add broccoli and cauliflower and salt and pepper…” It didn’t seem to bother her that we were talking about cooking her up!
By the time she reached four, she said, “We’ll cook you up instead, mummy. Your flesh is more tasty and juicy.” By the time she reached five, she regarded me the way an adult does a senseless child and said, “Haven’t you enough of that already?”