Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Ok so here it is … June 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gastromami @ 1:22 am

I have been reading blogs since my son, Reny, was born just over a year ago and I’m obsessed they have been a source of laughter, escape, and learning for me.

I thought, hey, I have stuff to say;  I love being a mom, I’m learning a lot, I have a lot of advice …. but then I remembered how much I hate getting useless information from other moms.  Then, last night, I made dinner for my son and Voila! I knew what I was going to blog about.

I love to eat.  I love to eat so much I married the yummiest (I mean that in so many ways!) man I ever met!  Reny is a chef, and I’m a Dahlkemper.  We are a match made in heaven.

However, even thought I married a chef, I was not, shall we say, culinarily (is that a word?) inclined.  In fact, I cooked dinner for Reny exactly 3 times before we married and each time it took me all day, about 4 runs to the grocery store, many many swear words, and I cleaned up the entire kitchen before he got home!  The few times he saw me help I was dubbed “Hurricane Gretchen” for the mess I made.

Then on May 27, 2009 Reny was born.  I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I had to take care of myself – that meant eating waffles topped with ice cream healthy.

Just like I followed in my mom’s footsteps by using cloth diapers, I knew that I was taking my lead from her dietetics training by making all of his food.  It was so easy!  And healthy!  And … HE LOVED IT!  One night I looked at Reny and said, “This is why you do it.  This is why you cook!  Look at how happy he is with my food!

Thus began our weekly food sessions.  Reny began to teach me some different cooking techniques and I began cooking more and more foods for my son.  By 7 or 8 months old Reny was eating all sorts of food:  quinoa with peas and carrots, curried lentils, and other fruit and vegetable purees.  Although Reny would eat the basic homemade food I was making, it wasn’t really until he was about 10 or 11 months together that I really opened my eyes to the moms around me and what they were feeding their kids.  I can’t believe how many times I have heard a mother say “he is going to eat that?” and I think, “well yea, because that is what I gave him.”

So long story short, last night Reny and I ate salmon burgers with a cilantro/yogurt sauce, seasoned sweet potato fries and broccoli (under $10 total) and thought, “This is so easy and EVERY mother can make this for dinner!  THIS IS GOING TO BE MY BLOG!”


12 Responses to “Ok so here it is …”

  1. Dandy Says:

    I have seen this in action and get a crack me up feeling when he grabs a handfull of stringbeans lighting up int a jack o lantern smile. Or at church when the snack was a cup of broccoli. It’s amazing the kid doesn’t turn green. At least he’s a lean green crawling machine.

  2. Reni Papa Says:

    Great Gretchen, you have a lot to explore and say in the culinary arena; you’ll do great and baby Reni has eaten more vegetable stuff than I probably have in my lifetime. Hey!…where did you get the idea of the quinoa stuff, that is from the Aymara and Quechua people of the Andes? From time to time I will pass on to you my very “secret” recipes so you can brag about them. Take care and your Cuban in-laws love you.
    Reni Sr.

    • Abuela "mama" Says:


      This is so great! I’m glad you are doing it. I’ve told everyone how good the baby eats, and how you and Reni prepare everything for him from scratch. That is also how Reinaldo was raised, although not as “healthy” as baby Reni – but he grew knowing and appreciating cooking and good food. So keep it up. It takes just a little bit of planning and effort, but the rewards are so many! (DItto for the cloth diapers – that is all my children used!). Love, Alina (mama)

  3. Mom D Says:

    You go little momma

  4. Cissy Says:

    I am enjoying your blog, especially when I realize that some really delicious things are not terribly expensive, time consuming, or too messy! I really love the tomato thingy you posted. Yes, please, keep the good stuff coming.
    By the Way, please tell your mother in law that I went home after your party and made some rice, and next morning had some ‘cuban eggs’ what a treat! I traveled a great deal nationally and internationally in my previous career and find what I miss the most being back in Memphis are all the FLAVORS from around the world. So much so that we really only leave town when I have a locally unquenchable desire such as Jerk Chicken from a favorite restaurant in Altlanta or Bangkok Noodles from the Noodle Ranch in Seattle. So yeah, put the Miami on here, will ya???/

    • gastromami Says:

      We will be in Miami for 10 days at the end of July — I’ll be taking lessons from my mother-in-law! Stay tuned … and man, I’m addicted to your eggs …

    • Alina Alfonso Says:

      Hello Cissy – I jus saw your comments and I’m so glad you enjoyed our “huevos con arroz!” – in fact, I’m going to have that for dinner tonight! (we add the extra ripe fried plantains to that, by the way). It was great meeting you and please plan a trip to Miami so that we can introduce you to all the Cuban food – I happen to think is about the best food you can eat (and believe me, I LOVE French, Thai, Italian and Greek cuisine too!).
      Gretchen doesn’t really need any lessons – she does great on her own! I’m so glad she likes our food, because her husband is really into it.
      Love to everyone.

  5. Josh Says:

    good for you, Gretchen! it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to getting some new ideas. When do the cooking videos start so we can see you in action?

  6. Stephanie Says:

    Good for you! And please update often – I’m ALWAYS searching for new healthy recipes for Charlotte 🙂

  7. Aunt Janny Says:

    I love your new blog! I would love to sample some of your delicacies and enjoy some healthy recipes too. You know us Dahlkemper’s sooooo well!! Move Over Food Network….

  8. Aunt Jeannie Says:

    Hey Gretch!
    What a fabulous idea! Do you think its too late for me to start with Charlie? With Laura and MC I made all home cooked and they are wonderful eaters now, but with Charlie I was too busy to do much home cooked and he’s a terrible eater! Laura’s favorite food of all time was asparagus and one time we even made a complete meal of asparagus. You go girl! I will love looking at your recipes….Love Aunt Jeannie

  9. Aunt Judy Says:

    I am grabbing some quick computer time enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing these great ideas. I am looking forward to more.

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