The Soup Fascist / by Susie Lubell

That is me. I am now the self-titled soup fascist. It's a nutritional ideology rather than a political ideology, but all the same, it's how the current regime operates in our home and I am ruler.

My boss at my day job has two kids, ages seven and five, so she has a wealth of knowledge about child rearing and thankfully we agree on most policies. Although her kids slept in her bed until just last year. And while I understand the family bed works for some and is a culturally acceptable paradigm for many around the globe, I'm the girl who, if I could afford a giant house, would have a "bedroom" and then my own private "sleeping" room. But I digress...

My boss, noticing that her girls were only eating meat and starch, began a vegetarian only policy for during the week to which, after only a few days of protest her kids resigned. We're not there yet, mostly because I just don't know enough good vegetable recipes. Maybe one day. But the part that I have implemented is a first course SOUP. Every evening we have some pureed vegetable soup. And it takes me all of about 15 minutes to make and I can do it one-handed while holding my baby. Get ready to copy and paste:

2-3 cups of water and appropriate amount of chicken or vegetable powder/bouillon cube
Large bag of one vegetable (spinach, broccoli, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potato, leek etc.)
1 cup milk (whole or less)
2 triangles of Laughing Cow Light cheese (green packaging)

Directions:
Boil vegetable in stock
Puree
Add milk
Puree again
Add cheese
Final puree

I have one of those blender wands which I really feel is the best invention of the twentieth century, followed closely by maxi pads with wings. If you have to transfer everything back and forth between a blender and a pot then it's almost not worth it because you need both hands and invariably you splash everything everywhere making a bigger mess for yourself. Who needs it. Spend $50 and get the blender wand.

Now the first night I instituted my policy it was met with mild grievances in the form of whining. But I persisted and prevailed. The key was the "doobie" bowl. Doobie means teddy bear in Hebrew and we have a little bowl with Eric Carle animals all around it and a big bear at the bottom of the bowl. So I set up the challenge. Let's see if you can eat enough soup to see the doobie at the bottom. And it worked. He was so excited about the prospect of uncovering the bear that he wolfed down a whole bowl of broccoli soup. It was fantastic. The next night we had spinach. Then mushroom. Then zucchini. And so on. No fail. The kid ingests vegetables. Before if you put something green in front of him he would proclaim, I don't eat leaves. Now he eats leaves, vegetables, tree bark, you name it. If I can puree it and add some laughing cow cheese, he'll eat it.

I know I am not the first mom to think of pureeing vegetables for "selective" toddlers. Obviously, since I got the idea from my boss. And apparently Jessica Seinfeld, wife to Jerry and mother to his three kids, has come out with a best-selling book about pureeing to fool your kids into eating veggies. Good for her. Like they don't have enough money from syndication royalties. But I still feel like this was a major conquest so I'll bask for a minute in a little nutrient-packed, fortified, leafy green glory.