This isn’t a post about Nigel Slater, although for the record, I am a huge fan of his, and would happily have him round to dinner any time. I’d even cook for him. I’d just like to have a natter with him really. He writes so well about food. And he knows that food is about so much more than calories and ingredients and processes. Food is the stuff of life and memories of meals carry intense, visceral feelings and memories. And on top of all that he just seems like such a nice bloke. But I’m getting carried away. This isn’t about Nigel Slater, as I said. No. This post is about piece about lightly cooked bread and butter and another nice bloke in the making: my Boo.
Boo loves food. He has the most extraordinary appetite and there is no way that you would know he was a premature baby. He is huge as my back will tell you after a day of carrying all 10 and a bit non-trunk supported kilos of him. He will eat anything put in front of him and hoovers up veggies, noodles, pasta and pretty much anything like his life depends on it. But nothing excited him so much as plain old bread and butter. If he sees it anywhere near him when he is eating he won’t eat anything else. If he seems reluctant to eat something new, I put it on bread and butter soldiers and he laps it up. There’s only one thing he likes more than bread and that’s toasted bread.
But bread is also a great source of frustration to Boo. You see, he can’t engage in his favourite activity (eating) himself. He loves finger food, but can’t take it to his mouth as his arms are prone to stiffness as he raises them when in a sitting position. His hand function while seated improves all the time, but he has a very long way to go. It will never be like yours or mine. And it makes me incredibly sad that Boo can’t be independent in this most fundamental of human ways.
He is not easily deterred, though, and has developed his own strategies for getting what he wants. Mr Boo has worked out that while spoons and other finger food are beyond his reach he can grab my hands as I feed him and will hold onto my fingers and pull them (and whatever they’re holding) to his mouth. Or, if you leave food on the tray of his Cushi Tush (just about the only feeding seat he is vaguely upright in) he takes his head to the tray to attempt to get nearer to what he wants.
But then last week, another little miracle occurred. It’s not a regular occurrence yet, but we all know about small steps on this linky, right?
I’d been feeding Boo a boiled egg and toast while his sister was merrily scoffing down her own when she spilled her squash all over the dining room floor. I got up to get stuff to clear up the mess and as I was walking back I saw Boo (piece of toast in hand) get it to his mouth.
I couldn’t believe it. Neither could he. He could not stop laughing in sheer joy that he had finally fed himself and neither could I. It gave me another tantalising little glimpse of a future I want for Boo; a future where he can be independent and take what he wants literally and metaphorically by the hand.
You’re right, Mr Slater. Food is never just about food. And toast will never be the same to me again.