July 30, 2006

Parents Poison Children with Baba Ganoush

We stopped for lunch at our favorite little strip-mall shop for gyros yesterday. You know the place. No decor to speak of. About 20 feet wide. Same 2 people working no matter what time or day you visit. Steady stream of customers. Just some good people makin' some good food. (You might be imagining an older couple behind the counter, but it's actually two younger-looking guys who are pretty pierced-up.)

Now, we haven't taken the kids there before, and it is likely they've never had gyros before, so I was prepared for a little wariness. Actually, I'm prepared for a little wariness from the kids no matter where or what we eat, but they usually find that their father and I can pick some good food. Personally, I don't like gyros that much. Oh, they taste good. Mmmm. Very good. But seeing that huge lump of meat on the rotisserie grosses me out. Not to mention, to me, it's really like hot dog meat. Or spam. Obviously some means to deal with leftover meat parts. I prefer falafel, sharazi salad, or just an order of baba ganoush. For the spirit of the day, I ordered what everyone else did, but I also ordered baba ganoush, so I could share my favorite dish.

And that's how the fun all started. When I the baba ganoush came, the kids were reluctant to even try it. Big shock. We insisted that they just take a bite. The 7-year-old took a bite, but instantly displayed her dislike before it even hit her taste buds. The 5-year-old, upon seeing his sister's reaction, was quite determined not to even try it. And the battle started.

When he finally put the a piece of pita with baba ganoush in his mouth, he refused to swallow it--for ten minutes! He certainly needs to take tips on eating "yucky" food from Fear Factor or Survivor contestants. The faster you swallow it, the faster the taste goes away. Oh, how the evil stepmom in me is laughing right now.

The whole thing was just ridiculous. And don't think that we spent those 10 minutes trying to talk him into swallowing either. That's not how we play the game. He's such a dramatic child. (Perhaps I need to find a children's theater.) Did I mention in my vast jack-of-all-trades educator career that I've directed 15 plays? Oh, I know how to deal with those dramatic types. That child has NOTHING on me!

When the gyros came, oh they were so delicious! The pitas were so fresh, the tomatoes were ripe, and the cooks were generous with their yummy tzatziki sauce. I know I said I'm not a fan, but that's because of the creepy nature of the meat, not because it isn't just the tastiest ever. (You know, I should just chill because I've never gotten sick after eating there, and I easily get sick from eating in restaurants in general.)

So, how do you think the darling, drama child thought of our gyros? He started crying! They weren't tears of joy, either. They were the tears of a child being tortured, perhaps maybe from the pain of having his toenails ripped out with plyers. Seriously! The theatrics of it all! Unfortunately he still had bread, baba ganoush, and 10 minutes worth of saliva in his mouth.

Then, he finally got to spit it out, lest he should choke. But he did get a darn good taste of it, didn't he?

Then the two of us got go outside so he could finish his tantrum while my food was getting cold and I was getting hot (it's still over 100 all the time for a few more months). I once again explained to him how grateful he should be to eat. Period. And some bullshit story how little kids in Greece are begging their moms to make gyros just like how kids in Mexico beg their moms for tacos, kids in Italy beg their moms for pizza, and kids here in America beg their moms for hot dogs. (Please don't comment on my lack of international food and culture knowledge.)

Of course the clincher was the obvious understanding of what his afternoon might look like compared to his sister's.

He cleaned up in the restroom, and on the way back to the table the cook asked me if everything was okay, and I quickly explained that the child just thought we were trying to poison his by asking him to try something new.

The man was incredulous: "Are you serious?"

To which I replied, "Yea, I know! Hard to believe."

Of course the man may have been judging us and our parenting skills. I'd rather believe that neither of could understand how someone could not like baba ganoush and gyros!

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