Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Cure for the Common Toddler Hunger Strike

Even at the ripe old age of 3 1/4, my son Grant still occasionally stages a hunger strike just like he did when he was a toddler. You know the drill - all the sudden your child who typically eats his normal three little meals and two little snacks a day has suddenly decided that in a last ditch effort to establish autonomy that he will eat only (and I mean ONLY) Cheerios and milk. And you don't even buy Cheerios!
'Round these parts, we have a cure for this type of behavior. Hot chocolate! But shhhhh!!! With a hidden egg yolk. I know that sounds really weird and maybe a little gross. Have you ever had pudding, though? No, not from a powder in a box. I mean real pudding. Know what that is? Hot chocolate with tempered egg yolks, cooled down in the fridge.
What little kid wouldn't want their own mug of nice, steaming, thick, frothy liquid chocolate? Oh yeah, mine wouldn't. That's because everybody knows things that are steaming and labeled "hot" will burn you. And so, we have re-titled this recipe, "Warm Chocolate." Because if you ask Grant if he wants hot chocolate, he will say "No, I just want it warm, Mom." Makes sense, I suppose.
Step one - Pour one cup of whole milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm gently, on
Step two - Gather up a few simple ingredients. One tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon sugar (or maple syrup), 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
Step three - Find a cute little boy to help whisk. (This step isn't crucial, but I do find it necessary.)
He looks serious about his whisking, doesn't he?
Step four - Separate an egg, and put the yolk in a little bowl. Scoop out some of the hot chocolate and stir it into the yolk with a fork, to warm the yolk. This is called tempering, and keeps you from ending up with an egg yolk poached in hot chocolate, which sounds pretty gross.
Step five - Whisk the warm yolk mixture back into the pot, and keep whisking until it's steaming. This way you know the yolk has cooked.
Step six - Serve to your child and watch them gleefully drink up 2 1/2 grams of protein, and a day's worth of essential fatty acids, carotenoids, Vitamins A, D, E and K, not to mention lots of iron and many other minerals and nutrients. And that's not including the milk, just the egg yolk!
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition, and I love them and could eat them every day. I just about do! My son and many other kids, I hear, though, are not big egg fans. This easy recipe works great for breakfast or a snack, and is a delicious way to slip a boatload of nutrition on days when your child has decided to exert a little control over what goes down the hatch.
Note - if serving to a child, you will want to let the hot chocolate cool off the burner for a few minutes before pouring it into an appropriate mug. Look for one with two handles.
Another note - if you have a beige couch, you may want to consider NOT letting your child sit on it while drinking his hot chocolate. It's really hard to get out of microsuede. Just a thought.
One last note - If your child is into semantics, like mine apparently is, be careful what you call this recipe. Everyone knows you shouldn't eat or drink food that is hot and steaming. It can burn you.
Claire Williamson, Representative for Ecological Babies
(850) 228-8322

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