Keeping Oliver fed can often be quite a task, he can go from devouring everything we put in front of him to turning his nose up at everything that is put in front of him. It is for this reason I always need to make sure I have my store cupboard staples. These should not be confused with the frozen ready meals I wrote about last week, I see class them as a hearty meal.
So what are store cupboard staples? They are the foods you have available when you need something quickly, or something you can pretty much guarantee your child will eat, and you can just hope it has some element (no matter how small) of nutritional value.
The word cupboard may be seen as slightly deceptive here as some of the items may also be found in the fridge or freezer. Some of my favourite staples are baked beans, tinned soup, passata (or pasta sauce) and par baked baguettes for the cupboard. Fish fingers and chicken goujons from the freezer and Oliver’s all time favourite thing, cheese from the fridge.
Now you can see that some of these items are things I may have complained about being on children’s menus, but I feel as a working mum that sometimes gets home shattered, with little culinary imagination I have the right to feed these things to my child.
When on maternity I often went to great lengths to produce homemade meals, even making my own baked beans. A delicious version containing garlic, paprika and zero salt or sugar, but you know what, sometimes life is too short, especially when there is a chance the beans you spent 20+ minutes cooking may end up on the floor and you know that the well-known brand name beans are just as likely to be eaten. Soup has been the recent revelation, he loves it, no matter what type. The bonus being not only is it quick, but makes me feel good that he is getting plenty of healthy veg.
One definite benefit of a well stocked cupboard is the ability to pull a meal together on your child’s request. I asked Oliver the other day what he would like for dinner (I don’t know what came over me, I’m not usually one to give him a choice) and he replied with, ‘pizza’. My first thought was I don’t have any pizza and then I decided to improvise with my store cupboard staples. I halved a par baked baguette, smeared it with pasta sauce and topped it with grated cheese and hey presto we had pizza. At this point many of you are probably thinking what’s the big deal, but as Oliver chowed down I felt I’d had a small mummy victory.
So mummy’s and daddy’s, as long as we try to keep a well stocked supply of store cupboard staples there’s a good chance our wee ones will always go to bed with a well stocked tummy.