Dad's been to Kansas three times now, and the last time he knew what to bring - white sugar and white flour - two things he uses almost exclusively and two things I don't keep in the house (although I did buy half a dozen boxes of White Swan cake flour the last time I found it on clearance). I prefer the taste and texture of buckwheat or pumpernickel rye, and do keep a small package of brown sugar around for baking. But cooking for my son's maturing taste-buds has been an entirely different challenge. For while he's often been interested in trying new things (radishes, for example the first time he saw them) he's never really dined on them.
A couple of days back I made southwest smothered pork chops that were so good, my son laid on the couch afterward, covered himself in throw pillows and announced, "Look! I'm a southwest smothered pork chop!" The funny part was having to quickly manifest such a beast with almost nothing in which to do so in the house: I put on six cups of water to boil and dumped in a finely chopped jalapeno and yellow onion, then added some powdered cheese sauce, powdered milk, and half a stick of butter and let it come to a rolling boil. Lowering the heat I added some vegetable protein powder and cake flour and let it simmer to thicken, then added a drained can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and some cumin. I poured that over four thick pork chops and let it bake for an hour at 350-degrees and it really was surprisingly fantastic - much better than the cheese/onion/hotdog pie I made the next day with tortilla shells as a crust in a pie pan, and a thin layer of homemade refried beans gluing everything together - though that was all eaten too.
Roaming Mennonite Grocery after High School Open House Thursday night I found a can of Irish Steel-Cut oats, something I haven't cooked for myself since Anna, but recalled a recipe in which you cooked it overnight in a crock-pot, so I tried that. First, they were the best steel-cut oat's I've ever had, and secondly, my son ate them for breakfast too. I admit, that one shocked me. But they were fantastic. Yay crock-pot!