My sisters and I grew up on a diet of fish fingers, beans, sausages, spaghetti bolognese, toast, scrambled egg, chips and boil in the bag cod with rice. My mother occasionally made a concession to our general education, by giving us Alphabites, with which we would construct rude words on our plates. We never had to eat vegetables or salad or anything we didn't want to, although it was always available.
Eventually we started eating that stuff of our own accord ,when we reached an age when we thought eating vegetables might make us thin and get rid of our spots. (Misguided of course. In order to be thin it doesn't matter what you eat, as long as you eat almost none of it, and in order to get rid of your spots you need some sort of pharmaceutical assistance.)
So I do not labour under a thing where I think Kitty ought to be eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. Do you even really NEED fruit and vegetables up until the age of about 12? I thought all babies and toddlers and small children need is carbohydrate and a bit of protein. That's all they want anyway. That and the food group known as CAKE.
Anyway it's a good thing I am very relaxed about all this, because Kitty doesn't want to eat any of that vegetable shit, thanks very much. She used to make a good fist of eating broccoli but now doesn't care for it much. From 8 months old onwards she has survived on about seven different kinds of spoonable stew that we make and freeze, mostly bean and animal fat-based.
And she has never, ever been interested in fruit. I must have placed a hundred different pieces of banana, apple, grape and clementine segment on her tray table only for her to discard them with various different disgusted faces. She did once put a piece of banana in her mouth, while mesmerised by one of her cousins - but I think she thought it was cheese.
Now she has reached a stage where she won't eat anything she hasn't eaten before. She will put it in her mouth but then hook it out with her forefinger with the word "Mmlair". Or simply open her little beak and let the food roll out.
The fact that you cannot bribe, cajole or otherwise force a pre-verbal toddler to eat something it doesn't want to is both frightening and liberating. She doesn't want it. There's nothing I can do except try again another time.
But even though I privately think that she can eat whatever the hell she wants, I must maintain a pretence in front of my husband and other middle-class people that I think she needs to eat vegetables.
So I purchased the River Cottage Babies and Toddlers Cookbook and set about making what I thought looked like a very tasty fingerfood, called Courgette Polpette.
They are really, really yummy and easy and I heartily recommend them as a delicious canape for your next soiree. Kitty hated them, obviously. But, thankfully, I don't give a fuck.
500g courgettes, finely diced
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan or pecorino
1/2 ball mozarella
1 tbsp chopped parsely
1 garlic clove, finely sliced or grated
salt and pepper
1 Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the courgette over a medium flame for 10 minutes (time it) until they have taken a bit of colour and have collapsed just slightly
2 Allow to cool for as long as you can be bothered and then combine with all the other ingredients. The mixture will be quite wet and sticky
3 Form walnut-sized blobs and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes and serve