The first meal of every child – except, I hope, in very few cases – is one of the most beautiful things that can exist in the world.
The newborn, wrapped up in the warmth, smell, and above all love of the mother, is nourished by milk - a nectar - always available at the right temperature, the right dilution, and the right sweetness.
The baby grows and his body needs different nutrients, in different terms of cooking, naturally intense, and immediate in their taste (some vegetables, for example, can be eaten boiled, baked, fried, creamed and pureed).
We therefore pass from the maternal embrace, where the child is also nourished by the exchange of glances, to a completely different situation: the mother’s body is replaced by a cold highchair, the spoon manifests itself with all of its complicated management of usage, one must also coordinate his balance when sitting up and, as if all of this wasn’t enough, precisely due to posture, any afternoon naps clash with the discomfort of the position and the irrefutable hardness of that highchair!
Poor babies! Then, as if this wasn’t enough, we go from a liquid that is sweet, warm, always available and “administered” in such a fun way to an undefined material, of neutral colors, collected in a container so far from one’s mouth that is then, at the end of lunch, scattered all over the kitchen.
We shouldn’t then be surprised by the initial stubbornness with which the baby, which is becoming a “big” child, becomes hostile at lunchtime during weaning.
With my children, during this period that was so complicated but absorbing, I tried to play a little trick: no television but music, no plastic toys but a few tools used for cooking, like a wooden spoon or a lightweight metal cover, and lots of tales to tell, watching them with smiling eyes.
Then another little secret that, in fact, has given me a lot of satisfaction, i.e. not only cooking for them, but also for the entire family, eating lunch all together. In this way the children immediately feel like an integral part, even in the sharing of the same dish. Of course, sometimes it is not so simple, but life with a child is always wonderful and makes us particularly attentive to designing, and applying the right solutions.
An objective solution to the question “but how can I avoid always preparing 'double' at both lunch and dinner” came right from the website Alimentazione Bambini (Italian for Feeding Children), the site that Coop has developed for the specific needs of children and their mothers; when scrolling among the recipes to give some advice to a girlfriend struggling with her “little gourmet”, I found a fantastic recipe that, as soon as modified to the “big gourmet” version, allows Giulia, the mother of Alessandro, to make everyday life a little bit easier.
The recipe that I found on the site, i.e. the inviting Little pasta with cream of zucchini and soft cheese, becomes a fragrant Cream of zucchini with mint and yogurt so as to satisfy the needs of the entire family. And please, the television is always an unwelcome guest at lunch and at dinner!
Cream of zucchini with mint and yogurt
Ingredients for 4 people
- 4 cups of zucchini
- 2 cups of floury potatoes
- 2 shallots
- water or vegetable broth or animal broth
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- a few leaves of fresh mint
- 5 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- unsweetened low fat yogurt.
- Wash the zucchini, peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks, peel the shallots and slice them finely.
- Wilt the shallots with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add the diced vegetables, cover with water or broth (as you like), bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for ca. 30’, being careful that the soup does not dry out too much.
- Remove from the heat, add the mint leaves, blend with an immersion mixer, add the grated Parmesan cheese and, if necessary, add a little salt.
- Serve the cream in bowls or soup plates, decorating it with a couple of mint leaves, a few drops of yogurt and a touch of freshly ground black pepper.
P.S. – if you like, boil a little bit of small pasta on the side, place it at the bottom of the dish, and then add the cream and the other ingredients; the dish will be even more complete.