Tea for Tots

As the little girls that I occasionally watch know, I’ve been in a tea-party mood lately. Not to imply that Billy the Kid is discouraged; on the contrary, I’m always bribing him with hot chocolate, but while he finds the novelty amusing, his attention holds only through the last bite on his plate, the contents of which he sorts, discards, and consumes in about three minutes. His female buddies, however, instantly appreciate the dainty flowers on my tea set, and are delighted by the banana slices on toothpicks and PB&J petits fors. They ponder and relish, while BK negotiates for eat-on-the-go privilege. I’m disappointed to see this gender distinction appear at such a young age, but I console myself with BK’s constant attempt to steal my Strawberry Shortcake bobble-head. Thankfully, food is unisex, and these are some of my best-received toddler tea party snacks, all so easy that you could still put them together after three or four Long Island Iced’s.

PB&J Petits Fors

Lightly toast 3 slices of white bread and let them cool. Spread one slice with peanut butter and cover with another slice. Spread jelly on that one and cover with the third. Cut the crusts off and discard, then sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top. Cut the sandwich into four strips, then cut each strip into four squares. Top each square with a chocolate chip. You can put money on the chocolate chips disappearing from every square before anything else on the plate is touched.

Banana Canapés

Slice a firm but not green banana into 1/2″ rounds. Drop 1/2 tsp of chocolate or vanilla pudding (you won’t even use an entire snack pack) on each slice and top with a berry that your kid isn’t allergic to.

Protein Ninjas

Lay a piece of baked or honey ham flat and cover with a slice of pre-packaged American “cheese,” the only cheese that rolls. Roll it up, cut it into 1″ slices, and spear each with a toothpick. Don’t worry, they won’t poke their eyes out (or you really haven’t been doing a very good job).

Fairy Cups

Cut the bottom tips off 6 or so large strawberries to give them bases so they can sit upright. Use a melon baller to gut the top halves, taking care not to cut through to the other side. Fill each with a small spoonful of applesauce, and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on the tops. Take a few Advil ahead of time if shrieking squeals of glee make your head hurt.

Horsey Doovers

Terrines for Tots

I’d never given much consideration to children before having one. Some of Mr. P’s extended family once witnessed me holding a baby (my family didn’t have many) and they all had a good long chuckle at the spectacle. Now that I have my own, I’m much more on board with the whole 0 through 12 age group. One thing I have in common with young children is that we both get very excited about tiny food made especially for us. The following is an hors d’oeuvre my mother’s family would make for youngsters at get-togethers, and while I find it nearly unthinkable as an adult, as a child I appreciated the consideration as well as the bologna.

4 slices bologna
cream cheese
4 sweet gherkin pickles (not the baby variety)

Lie a slice of bologna on a plate at spread the whole thing with a thin layer of cream cheese. Place a pickle at the edge of the slice and roll it up in the bologna, pig-in-a-blanket style. Slice the resulting meat finger into 1/2″ rounds, then spear each with a toothpick to secure the bologna. Plate em up and warn any parents you suspect are above lunch meats.

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