The Mother Who Can’t Even Count
I know I've said this before but one of the things I like most about living in Spain are the school lunches. Both in Madrid and in Barcelona, Nico has had delicious, healthy and varied lunches at school. Certainly they're a far cry from the tater tots, hamburgers, tacos and overcooked canned green beans that seemed to show up 9 out of 10 times in the school lunches of my youth (although I do long for a good tater tot every now and then). Today, for example, they ate lentils with rice, hake in tomato sauce, salad and seasonal fruit. Tomorrow they'll be having chickpeas with spinach, chicken, salad and seasonal fruit.
One of the benefits of these lunches is that they teach him to appreciate foods that I'd normally never prepare at home. The problem with this is that I have no idea how to make a lot of this stuff in the style to which he's become accustomed. Lentils and chickpeas are ingredients that show up at least twice a week at school and Nico claims to love both. Whenever I try to make either one however, he complains and says I don't know how to do it right. The infamous "Bottom Soup" is a case in point.
To digress just a bit, I can see that more and more I'm becoming "the weird foreign mother" in Nico's eyes. While American kids of immigrants complain that their mothers talk funny, can't help them with their homework or whip up a decent batch of cupcakes; Kids in Spain with immigrant parents get embarrassed when their moms talk funny, can't help them with their homework or whip up a decent pot of lentils. Also, they don't like it when you pick them up at school wearing khaki shorts (how American!).
I royally embarrassed Nico the other day when as I was paying for some fruit, I started muttering the amount of change I was counting out in Spanish. In reality, I was just saying some of the numbers aloud and muttering the others (as one does while counting change), but to Nico it sounded like this "Two, seven, eight, three, five…" After we left the store, he looked at me in horror and asked "But Mommy, WHY were you counting like that?? That isn't at all how the numbers go in Spanish!" He then proceeded to review with me the numbers from one to ten to ensure that such a humiliating event would never again occur in the future. Yep, I'm that mom now. The one who doesn't even know how to count right.
Back to food though. Lentils are an integral part of Spanish home-cooking, so ubiquitous that I once had a friend in Madrid who complained that the neighbors lentils were always floating up out of her shower drain (ew!). The lentils I have made up until now, however, could only be described as…. um, well… brown? Brown and boring. No wonder Nico complains.
But now I know how to make a truly delicious lentil dish thanks to my latest class at Hofmann. These melt in your mouth without being mushy and the flavor is divine. So this is where all that lentil-love comes from! Head over to Barcelona Bites for the recipe!