Just in time for Hanukkah

There will be another installment of The Lazy Mother’s Guide to Saving the Planet soon, but I had planned this post for the first night of Hanukkah.


          It was sometime around mid-October when I realized that I was spending entirely too much time thinking about chicken nuggets.  Now, I am used to spending a lot of time thinking about food.  I like to cook; I like to eat; I like to think about cooking and eating.  However, I usually obsess about foods slightly more sophisticated than chicken nuggets.

            In the middle of the summer, I decided that Zachary was no longer going to be given commercial chicken nuggets.  Frankly, I had never wanted to give them to him in the first place, but I was desperately seeking a protein source beyond peanut butter.  He had agreed to eat chicken nuggets, albeit in limited quantities, so I had caved.  Then, Benjamin started showing an interest.  Since Benjamin is an astonishingly good eater, I decided that we were not going to start stooping to the lowest common denominator.  Zach was going to have to rise to his little brother’s level.

            So, I became one of those women I had sworn I would never be.  You know – the ones who make home-made chicken nuggets.  Yeah, that’s me making you look bad.

            The nuggets I devised were actually phenomenally good.  They are, to be precise, spinach-apple-chicken nuggets, made with organic chicken and whole wheat breadcrumbs, lovingly basted with olive oil and then baked till brown.  Honestly, they are fantastic.  J would like me to serve them for supper, but they are such a pain in the ass to make that I refuse.  I make large batches and freeze them in bunches for Friday lunch.

            Ben is crazy about these things, although he is pretty much crazy about all vegetables, sources of protein, fruits, and items requiring catsup.  The nuggets suit him perfectly because he is still working on teeth, and since I puree the spinach, apple, and chicken in advance of forming the nuggets (so that there are no textures to offend Zach), they do not require mashers.

            But Zachary?  The intended recipient of the chicken nuggets?  Yeah, you know what his response is.  After nibbling off the breadcrumbs: “They’re green.”  Kinda the point, baby.

            I steeled myself.  “He will not starve from missing lunch.”  Every Friday for two months.  “He will not starve from missing lunch.”  Sooner or later, he was going to have to cave.  “He will not starve from missing lunch.”

            Early October: “Would you eat them if they were not green?”

            Now, I was making apple-chicken nuggets.  Still really good.  Still really healthy.  Still really sitting there on his plate.

            Finally, I gave up.  I was going to have to provide him with an alternative.  It just was not going to happen.  And now I had gotten the other one, the one who will eat anything, addicted to these pain-in-the-ass, take-me-an-hour-and-a-half-to-make chicken nuggets.  I had devised them to make the older child eat something outside of the carbohydrate food group, and here I was, stuck making them in perpetuity for the younger child who considers kidney beans a really good snack and goes ape-shit over peas.

            And then, on a Friday two weeks ago, a great miracle happened.  Forget eight days of oil, forget virgin births.  A real miracle happened here in my kitchen.  Two Fridays ago, the kid picked up a chicken nugget and ate it as though he had never thought twice. 

            I was sure that was it.  It was a one-shot deal, like blueberries, hamburgers, and broccoli, all of which he has had a one-day interest in.  Raisins?  He once ate and enjoyed two.  Not two portions, just two raisins.  I was certain we were facing a similar situation.  But – and I weep while I write this – last Friday, the miracle repeated itself. 

            You just let me know if you want the recipe.

20 responses to “Just in time for Hanukkah

  1. I want the recipe! Hobbes will eat anything good for him, except protein. He would love chicken nuggets with fruit and veggies in them. And I am always looking for an alternative for lunches!

    Here’s keeping our fingers crossed that Z keeps eating them!

  2. Actually, yes. I would like the recipe. The part about freezing them appeals to me. 🙂

  3. Me too, me too, me too!

  4. Your first sentence (after the preface) cracked me up. I was not expecting “chicken nuggets.” No one expects a post about chicken nuggets.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about food, too. (Though not chicken nuggets. In fact, I’m amused that I’ve just typed “chicken nuggets” three, make that four, times.)

  5. You did not manage to put me off with all that “hour and a half” stuff. I want the recipe too.

  6. please post it – a great miracle indeed!

  7. Give me the recipe! I have the 3 at home and they all have sensory/food issues, eat different foods and finding common denominators is sucking the cells from my brain.

    I’ll try anything. They eat huge quantities of food, it’s just they each eat different things in huge quantities. *sigh* I’m training the near-13 yo to cook…he can learn to make the pain-in-the-ass-to-make nuggets. 🙂

  8. Meant to say, this truly qualifies for a Hanukkah miracle, Christmas miracle…just a miracle. I so get it.

  9. I’m so glad he is all “int” them now…I mean, I think, because they are a PITA for you, but maybe less so than him not eating?

    I’d love the recipe but food follows my 5-10 minute rule, I’m afraid. I don’t like anything that’s “work” to me to take longer than that. Hair, makeup, hygiene, cooking, lines at amusement parks, songs by kid musicians, dog food, etc.


    Using My Words

  10. “int” = “into” in real language sans typos.

    Using My Words

  11. Totally. Post it, girl!

  12. You are so funny – I’m glad he finally fell in love and things are looking up. I’m a bad mom and still resort to the frozen variety – but, in defense of myself, my kids are all good eaters and love food and we don’t eat chicken nuggets that often – well, sometimes. Take care. Kellan

  13. Oh, and I forgot to wish you all a Happy Hanukkah!

    Sending thoughts of peace and joy for your whole family as this lovely holiday begins.

  14. “Yeah, that’s me making you look bad.”


  15. This is hysterical, and I can so relate, having a green-adverse child and one who will eat most anything (as long as the older one doesn’t poison her thoughts first). I love that he just picked it up and ate it without fanfare. They say you have to offer a new food twenty zillion times before a child will try or like it, and I tip my hat to you for persevering long enough to prove this true!

  16. O my goodness! YES I want the recipe! And GOOD on you for not caving on the processed crap and making your own version AND showing him that he has no choice but to eat it. Score one point for Mom!

  17. I have a very picky eater as well! My daughter will eat chicken meat, straight off the bone. My son on the other hand, if it’s not a totally processed nugget, he doesn’t touch it. PLEASE post the miraculous recipe!!

  18. Old mom here. My girls were among the pickiest of eaters. There were plenty of chicken nuggets around here (the processed food kind) and that fluorescent orange Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese too (which I hated even when *I* was a kid back in the Jurassic Age). Green stuff? Yuck! Did I feel like a bad, inadequate mother? You betcha!

    Fast forward. My 20-somethings are now semi-vegetarians (they eat [some] meat when I cook it) and love to tell *me* what I should be eating! Go figure.

    Great blog! Just keep slogging on. It does get better.

  19. Yes, please, on the recipe!

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