One of Zac’s favourite light meals is a pizza. The ‘free from’ pizza bases are usually a bit too big for him, so I use the pitta breads instead. You get four in a pack and they are much better value – and obviously more versatile. To make my instant pizza, I just smear on a teaspoon or two of an off the shelf (safe) tomato pizza topping and into the oven. Needless to say you could top it with any little vegetables or bits of meat, for a less fussy child, but Zac just likes it with tomato topping and nothing else.
I have tried some of the fake parmesan and fake mozzarella but it smells awful, looks awful and he won’t touch it. To be honest, I don’t think he misses cheese. He was only one when he last ate it. I also read somewhere that the body rarely craves the food that aggravates, so I think there is little point me persisting with the fake cheese. He doesn’t miss it and I am not sure what it is made from, but I shouldn’t think it is particularly natural. It is very expensive, so I have decided not to waste my time and money on it.
However, today I did try a smear of the new dairy free pesto that I have discovered. I just put it on one of the ‘pizza’ slices as it is quite strong – and I didn’t want to ‘contaminate’ the whole batch! I also put a dollop of the tomato pizza topping on too – just so he didn’t take one look at the ‘green’ and reject straight away.
Zac was not always offended by ‘green’. He used to love all vegetable and adored pesto. One of our super quick and easy dinners was ‘pasta, pesto, peas’. With a grate of cheese on top. Delicious. But as we eliminated all of Zac’s trigger foods that dinner was off the menu.
For a while, after we eliminated dairy and gluten, Zac was put on a low residue diet too. This meant he could only eat very low amounts of fibre and we had to limit his intake of high fibre fruit and vegetables. Anything with a skin or seed was forbidden. After several weeks we were allowed to gradually reintroduce them one by one to ensure that none of these were a problem. But as we did that he decided he didn’t like them anymore, so out went peas, and carrots and courgettes and he hasn’t eaten them since – unless whizzed up in a sauce. I suppose he just forgot he liked them. Or perhaps they also give him a tummy ache, I don’t know. He is still a little bit young to be able to work it all out and tell me exactly.
So now, we only have a few real favourite dinners and ingredients. I am hoping that his love of ‘pizza’ might be the way I re-engage him with these vegetables and flavours. I want him to decorate his own pizzas and make faces or something. I want him to rediscover some of the flavours he used to love. That is why I tried the new pesto. http://www.waitrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductView-10317-10001-3755-Florentino+pesto+basil.html?storeId=10317
I love using it in cooking, but obviously normal pesto has cheese in it and even though it is a tiny amount, it is enough to make Zac ill. I bought this pesto in Sainsbury’s and I have seen it in Waitrose too. It has a much stronger flavour than ‘normal’ pesto so you don’t need to use as much.
This evening Zac declared he ‘really needed’ a pizza. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any dairy free, gluten free pitta breads, as Sainsbury’s online does not seem to list them, and this week I chose to shop online! But I had ordered some of their ‘free from’ muffins and decided I could split one, toast it and then turn that into my pizza base.
I was a bit anxious that he might not fall for this, as the muffin was much thicker than the pitta bread, so I also used the end crust of one of his loaves of ‘free from’ bread. They are pretty inedible otherwise, and when you think of the cost per slice of that dreadful bread, I felt quite thrifty finding a way to use every last bit! I am happy to say he was perfectly happy with it all and ate the lot. He didn’t pull any faces when he ate the piece with the pesto on, so perhaps little experiments such as this may be the way forward. I hope so.