Friday, February 5, 2010

Les Petits Pots

It's a universal truth that a girl who is raised having steamed shrimp on a school night because that's "fast food" when her dad is going to be late, is not the kinda girl who will grow up and be really good at making baby food for her own offspring.

The trouble is, take said girl and plonk her down in the middle of a country where food and cooking is something that is more sacred than God. I may have said this before, but it feels like each and every single freakin' woman over here was born with some sort of gourmet gene that I will never possess no matter how much I pay for it.

These women might be those stereotypic French women who have not a single ounce of fat on them, wear 6" heals to go to the store, and actually shower everyday, and yet, they can cook meals that blow your mind away. Or they might be more like some of my neighbours. Farm wives who's sweaters are stained with the ingredients of a powerful country potage, women who's callous on their feet are brown because of the dirt stuck in there, ladies who really could use a good nuclear round of electrolysis, but yet their cooking! There is no beauty finer! They make poetry out of potatoes!

Of course, this all puts me to shame. I can whip up a decent grilled cheese or a nice fish dish (right Penny?) but anything beyond that and I'm out. I've dealt well with my cooking shame over the years by trying to never feed anyone French anything French. Hence, they get Mexican or hamburgers when they come here. A meal of something they don't know in their blood so I can at least have a slight air of being competent in the kitchen.

The worst part of all this cooking ineptness is that I am a failure at baby food. Yes, yes, I know. What's so hard about pureeing a thing of peas or carrots? How hard can it be to make batches of soup weeks ahead? Applesauce? Sure that sounds easy. And yet, my friends, for me it is not.

That is why I love les petits pots. I adore them. I buy them in bulk. I hide them way back in the cupboard and if anyone French just happens to be here when it's time to feed Rosie, I'm trying all kinds of kung fu moves to get the yellow pureed mess into the pan before they can see it's from Nestlé and not Chez Dig. The French women may have a gourmet gene, well, I've got a convenience one I'm rather fond of.

That being said, I was a little horrified yesterday afternoon at the school pick-up when I heard several of the other mothers talk about how they never, never, jamais, gave their sweet precious cherubs petits pots.

"And look at them now," one boasted.

Yes. Look at them now. Running, screaming, and yelling gros mots with my two very happy petits pots fed sons.


magali said...

I have to call you out on that one dear... The very first time we met and the very first meal you cooked for me was Gratin Dauphinois ! And it was in my top 5 experiences of Gratin Dauphinois just behind my Grand-Père's :-)

This being said, I might be French but I don't have the cooking gene in me and I'm sometimes jealous of the home made food some of my friends feed their kids :-p

Kitty said...

Not sure what the shrimp had to do with it but I also failed at making baby food and freezing in ice cube trays. Once you could eat peanut butter and jelly it was no problem!

RHB said...

Love this post- you completely crack me up and I can oh, so relate! But, I LOVED your beef bourginonne and gratin dauphinois! Also, the moms that I knew in the big cities of Billom and Clermont were a lot more open to les petit pots, so no need for kung fu. You are the progressive one. :)

Dancers said...

Bloody good fish dish xxxxxx