I'm driving to work in gridlock traffic while my son's pale forehead burns, throat parched and tiny stomach still upset from the previous night's retching, gurgles ominously. Soft goodbye at his larger-than-usual chestnut eyes and infinitely long lashes: I whisper a guilty 'mommy has to go to work now,' and I choke back tears, while the unfamiliar babysitter stands in the doorway pretending she's not preoccupied.
This was Friday. A day that seemed neverending.
Fortunately this season's influenza intestinale only lasts 24 hours. The temperature is gone, no more projectile vomiting, and several sips of cola later, smiles and pink cheeks are back on Little E's face. I on the other hand have counted numerous new silver streaks in my hair.
It's hard to juggle work and a sick child. It's impossible to stay focused on the job while the person in charge of your sole reason for living can't get a clear reading on the thermometer (I couldn't help chuckling at how the sitter took my son's temperature, more like how you carry a baguette than an armpit lodge).
Tonight I cooked him the first real meal after 3 days of tea and white rice. It felt like a party and the menu had to include a celebratory favorite. So I went with Tuna Loaf.
On a rainy sick day, nothing restores a smile back on my child’s face like a good meatloaf, unrestrained cartoon-watching during dinner, and lots of potatoes. This recipe revisits a family classic, employing tuna instead of leftover roast.
It takes very little effort, and your kids will gratify you with plenty cackle at the table.
600 gr (3 cups) oil-canned tuna, well drained
150 gr (3/4 cup) coarse homemade breadcrumbs
200 gr (2 cups) Parmigiano, grated
1 cup broth concentrate (can be made with 2 bouillon cubes per 1 cup of water)
Dash of ground nutmeg
Put tuna and eggs through the food processor to obtain a supple purée. Remove from blender and knead in the breadcrumbs, cheese and nutmeg; and slowly ladle in some cooled stock, to keep mixture soft. You may not need to use up all the broth, just enough to moisten the loaf.
Wrap the tuna loaf in a clean kitchen towel and fasten the ends with knots, candy wrapper-style.
Fill a large stew pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Cook the 'tuna candy' for 20 minutes. Unwrap and let it cool. Serve sliced drizzled with olive oil and lots of steamed potatoes.