Food for Thought

When we picked up the children, we hadn't considered food and what they'd like and not like. At the transition center we knew they ate lots of pasta and rice dishes, so we thought we were safe. Not so! We ordered room service a lot in Addis Ababa, because the thought of taking the children we'd known for 48 hours to an all-you-can-eat buffet made us break out in hives. H always ordered ZilZil Tibs, and Y always ordered Doro Wat (chicken stew). After the 1st night, I started ordering extra injera, and they ate like linebackers.

We saved a couple of rolls of injera hoping we could get them on the plane. We did, and the kids ate those and a couple of rolls, and that's it. I think we mentioned before that plane food confounded them. Every little bit of food and utensil is packaged... even the salt and pepper are packaged within the napkin/spork package. Everything had to be opened (even the coffee creamer) and rigorously inspected, sniffed, and finally rejected. My advice to travelers with new children... take every thing off their tray, unwrap ONE thing you think they'd actually eat, and start with that. And bring some injera in your bag from the hotel. (They serve children 1st on Ethiopian Airlines, so you'll have room to move the tray around... especially if you're in row 977 like we were and never actually had a choice of meals... you'll get the fish if you sit in back... up front gets chicken and beef... but I'm not bitter.)

Back in the States, they wouldn't eat pasta at first. They claimed they never ate spaghetti at the Transition Center. (We got the disposable cameras we'd sent them processed, and, hmmm, what's every one eating at the T.C.? Is that a huge plate of spaghetti?)

Anyway, through trial, error, and bribery, we discovered some foods that they will eat every time. Maybe this will be useful to those folks looking to bring home older kids.

Here are some foods that your newly adopted older Ethiopian child may like... (your mileage may vary.)

1. Ground beef with taco seasoning. (Served with 2.)
2. Sour dough bread or pancakes. (I made sour dough bread last night and they both said "Yum. Ethiopian bread".)
3. Pasta with marinara. (Don't bother with the Mac&Cheese... my kids just put red sauce on anyway, and it's really disgusting.)
4. Corn on the cob. My kids had had it in Ethiopia.
5. Carrots. Raw. Not the baby carrots, but the big "real" carrots.
6. Potatoes. (Mine liked it with red sauce - of COURSE- but have branched out to like ground beef and cheese on them.)
7. Meat of any kind, IF you use the right terminology. I told you about the hot dog fiasco. ("Dog?!") I don't think I mentioned that one time I cut up the hot dogs and fried them with butter and onions and they loved it... called it Tibs. The lesson: call all meat Tibs. Except chicken, which you should call Doro. :)
8. Jello (after the 1st couple of weeks.) or chocolate pudding.
9. French toast.
10. Tea with honey.
11. Hard boiled eggs (they used to eat about 3 a day... stinky! Now it's rarely.)
12. Bananas (I had to limit them at first, now they'll eat 1 a day maybe.)
13. Raisins
14. Pizza... boy howdy do they love pizza. They have branched out into pepperoni and sausage now, but at first just cheese was enough.

3 months in and they pretty much eat anything. Especially H... growing boy, and all that. They love Mexican food: tacos, burritos, dang quesidillas. They still love pasta, but I can't stand the smell of red sauce anymore, so I only make that once or twice a week. We had pizza tonight, homemade with a yummy garlic crust. Most fruits they'll eat. Veggies, we're still restricted to corn (bocolo) and carrots and peas. The starchy ones. Oh wait, they like tomatoes too. Nothing green unfortunately. We'll keep working on that. Maybe if we grow our own next year.

Anyway, hope this helps a bit if you're soon to be travelling when the courts open again in Ethiopia. :)


Dustin, Nikki, Madison and Sage said...

Great information. Actually Y and H don't sound terribly different from our kids raised on American food! ha ha Wonder how we could disguise leaf lettuce under marinara sauce! :-)

Yarnsmith said...

Yeah, what is it with green foods? I'm not the best about my veggies either, but I like a little variety. Although, as a kid, I didn't. :)

Bethany Taylor said...

Thanks Chris and Lee! This is helpful as we are thinking through how to best prepare for our kiddos age 6 and 5 to come home! I so enjoy stoping in on your blog. Thanks for sharing your lives!

Lisa said...

2 things I never thought I'd stress so much about before having kids - 1. what she is eating or not eating! 2. school (she's a 1st grader!! how the heck am I gonna handle h.s. and college?!) ha

Amy C said...

You're making me hungry! But seriously, I'll put your list into my adoption notebook. I'm sure it'll come in handy. Thanx!

Jori said...

Ok - had to mark this one! We will be bring home a 2 and 7 year old as soon as we can get through court so great advice!! :):)