Sunday, 30 November 2008


Soup: The final frontier

When Jamie was a baby, he was a good eater. He ate almost everything he was given, and used his initiative to eat things he wasn't given, like sand. He had a deep appreciation for food, and we even coined the term 'peach ecstasy' for how when he ate one his eyes would roll back in his head as he slurped and devoured. As he has gotten older, his diet has roughly halved every six months or so to the point where he only eats twenty foods or so, mostly fruit or things he can bathe in peanut butter. He no longer eats peaches...

That's not to say he doesn't like food. He helps me make dinner with gusto, we discuss everything we're doing, smell things, touch them. Last week he hugged my legs and said "I so happy" when we were making dinner. There is no doubt, however, who these feasts are for: "Mommy and Daddy and Maia. No Jamie. Just Mommy. And Daddy. And Maia. No Jamie". While we eat he hovers like an overattentive host. "Maia, you like your pasta? Maia, you like your potatoes? Maia, you like your dinner? Okay, good."

When I was studying for my degree I took modules on medieval, early modern and modern warfare. Wars over territory, disputing sovereignty, Icelandic and Nordic blood feuds, ideological wars, religious wars... there is a rich history of long-standing and bloody conflict between humans. We will always find something to fight about. Like soup.

The Soup Wars may not have the recognition of say The Hundred Years War, or even Scotland's own Ice Cream Wars, but that should not diminish the passion or dedication of the combatants. It is a war on three fronts: at home, at grandma's, and at the childminder's. I have more or less conceded defeat at home, the balance is in Jamie's favour at grandma's, but the childminder shows amazing resolve in frequent skirmishes.

Sometimes he will eat it without fuss, sometimes he will talk about how he will eat it and then won't, sometimes he talks about how he won't eat it then does. Sometimes the primeval chant of 'No Soup, No Soup, No Soup' rings in our ears for days. Grandma phones. Jamie says, 'Hi Grandma, no soup. Bye.'

'Why Soup?' I hear you ask. Well, it is the only source of vegetables that Jamie will (occasionally) eat. Other things can also be hidden, like meat, that would never make a straightforward appearance in his diet. And Soup has become more than just the sum of its ingredients, it has become the last bastion in the larger struggle for dominance between us. I will not conceed defeat on Soup.


  1. This story makes me laugh. My little guy is the same way. It's such a pain to find something for him to eat. The only meat he likes is pepperoni.

  2. Just discovered your blog - you are hilarious!