Monday, August 11, 2014

A Revolt at Dinnertime: Bitter Rice and the Awful Mango Switcheroo

Today was just one of those days that my cooking was a colossal disaster. I saw this nice recipe for sweet and sour tempeh, and I was convinced the kids would love it, especially since it would be sweet and simple. I am not certain whether it was a terrible recipe or whether my substitution doomed it. It was probably the latter. Sweet and sour sauces typically take pineapple juice. We didn't have any pineapple, but I was still determined to make it. I found a can of organic mangos stored in mango juice. I was certain this would be a brilliant substitution, and it would be a new cooking sensation. My daughter and son go bananas over mangos, so it seemed like a safe bet. I prepared it with kale on the side. The plain rice tasted fine before I added the cooked onions and chopped mango, and as far as I could tell the sauce seemed OK, if not a perfect representation of a sweet and sour sauce. My 20-month-old daughter pretty much rejected everything, but she is a toddler. She threw the tempeh with her characteristic "Uh!" added for emphasis. My son screamed at me that his rice had onions in it. My wife squinched her face and mouth and suggested that she heat some leftovers. My wife and I braved our way through the intensely bitter rice. I'm not sure if it was from the sauce or the chopped mangos in the rice or both. The tempeh was fine, and so was the dinosaur kale. I tossed my son's meal and gave him the rest of the plain kale with poppy seed dressing (he loves this). It was just one of those days, but the meal did look nice. Of course, looks can be deceiving.

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