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Foodie Kids/Fibbing Moms?


Carrot Top
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Interesting article from Times Online UK

It turns out that a staggering 76 per cent of mothers (out of a sample of 1,000) lie about what they feed their children because they are worried that their culinary efforts are not up to scratch. The poor dears are stressed out of their heads that standard kiddie-tea fare of chips, beans and fish fingers is just too awful by today’s enlightened standards,

And furthermore. . .

The more indigestibly foul the vegetable in question, the better — the aim being to prove that your child has an incredibly sophisticated palate, unsullied and unspoilt by sugar or salt. I have watched in horror as friends have shoved the likes of swede, runner beans and watercress down their poor infants’ gullets, all the while protesting that “he normally loves his mung beans/watercress/akai”. They’re lying, of course. Even fully grown adults don’t like mung beans.
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Sad to say, this is not limited to UK. Among the US "upper crust set", the same is true, along with detailed stool reports ... what will these children grow up to be ... and when will their parents grow up?

Peter Pan ... gone horribly, horribly wrong ...

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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Sad to say, this is not limited to UK. Among the US "upper crust set", the same is true, along with detailed stool reports ... what will these children grow up to be ... and when will their parents grow up?

The way some parents, (not to mention grandparents), carry on about such matters, you'd think the kids were championship bloodline dogs or something! :shock:

There is, indeed, a term for this.

SB (If you "are what you eat", then you "ain't what you shit? :wacko: )

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I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when the munchkin (just turned 2) woke up from nap, went straight to fridge, and demanded "brokli!".:wub:

I sure wish I had that on video to balance all the times the request is for Pocky.:rolleyes:

I personally prefer 4-legged stools to the 3-legged kind, and absolutely categorically refuse to entertain the possibility you might have some other kind in mind..... :raz:

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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When my daughter was in the hospital when she was 2, they asked us what she liked to eat. I said, shamefacedly, that she'd only eat junk food. They asked for examples, and said of her favorite dinner, fish fingers and canned spaghetti, that it sounded like she was actually a pretty good eater!

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The more indigestibly foul the vegetable in question, the better — the aim being to prove that your child has an incredibly sophisticated palate, unsullied and unspoilt by sugar or salt. I have watched in horror as friends have shoved the likes of swede, runner beans and watercress down their poor infants’ gullets, all the while protesting that “he normally loves his mung beans/watercress/akai”. They’re lying, of course. Even fully grown adults don’t like mung beans.

I am convinced that this kind of attitude has perpetuated the

whole "kids don't like vegetables" myth of the Western world.

Kids don't like bad cooking, and neither do adults.

Kids like things that taste good, and if their adults cook

well and act as if vegetables are normal food, then the

children will follow along.

This kind of line is unmitigated idiocy, just a cheap throwaway:

"even fully grown adults don't like mung beans".

What garbage - ask anyone who likes Indian food

(and *knows* Indian food, and whose knowledge

does not begin and end

with the CTM from the corner takeaway).

Mung beans, whether whole or split, are lovely;

dozens of dal recipes are based on moong dal,

ranging from simple throw-it-together when you

get home from work, or more elaborate serve-it-at-parties fare.

Most kids raised by parents who know good Mediterranean,

Thai, Indian etc etc etc cooking love vegetables, even those

deemed "foul" by the average ignorant "Western" snot.

The veggies are not foul, it's bad cooking that's foul......

And ignorant, snobbish writing is worse.

What kind of buffoon thinks of vegetables as foul

but junk food as tasty? My peeve with bad

"Western" junk food is that it does not even taste good -

bland, chemicaly, where's the flavor?

"Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain" (Schiller)

Milagai

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IIt's less about food preparation than it is the parents who brag that their child's palates are already cultivated and refined to a level high above others.

Only if you share the writer's POV that liking veggies

and moong dal = cultivated and refined etc.

Such likes are very normal and everyday for large numbers of us.

Milagai

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Depressing. Depressing. Depressing.

How's this for a radical theory: If you make tasty, seasoned food, including vegetables, and then eat them yourself...while eating with them your child, you just might have a chance at developing a child's palate that thinks vegetables and fruit are delicious. And you won't have to lie about it.

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Depressing. Depressing. Depressing.

How's this for a radical theory: If you make tasty, seasoned food, including vegetables, and then eat them yourself...while eating with them your child, you just might have a chance at developing a child's palate that thinks vegetables and fruit are delicious. And you won't have to lie about it.

Exactly. Not all children will like all vegetables and fruits, but it's much more likely when the parents actually enjoy produce themselves and prepare it lovingly. I can't count how many times I've heard other parents say, "I won't serve _insert suspect produce here_ to my child since it's something I won't eat myself." A parent who cringes at the mere thought of broccoli is going to have a hard time inspiring their child to try some.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Bingo. I eat green veggies, my kid eats em. My sister eats tons of fruit, her kid eats tons of fruit. The broccoli is a special one for me because I dont much like it, but I ate it in abundance starting the day I learned I was knocked up. Munchkin's dad likes it, munchkin likes it.

Munchkin's dad also likes chocolate cake. Strangely enough, so does munchkin. Go figure.

Same with those "sophisticated" foods. Every kid I know eats at least one thing none of the others will touch, but which is a standard in their home. "But really, s/he usually LOVES his prickly pear..."

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I am convinced that this kind of attitude has perpetuated the

whole "kids don't like vegetables" myth of the Western world.

Kids don't like bad cooking, and neither do adults.

Kids like things that taste good, and if their adults cook

well and act as if vegetables are normal food, then the

children will follow along.

Milagai

Miligai, I have a question for you that's slightly off-topic but not really: do young children in India (or from Indian families in the West) also go through a "white food" stage?

When my daughter was 2 or so, she ate virtually everything that we did -- spicy Thai curries, picking up asparagus spears and whole green beans with her fingertips.

Then about at age 3 that all changed, and she would eat only "white food" -- white rice, ramen, spaghetti just with cheese and butter (no tomato sauce), white bread (no crusts). From what I understand from our pediatrician, other parents, and reading materials, that's a fairly standard developmental stage in American culture. What about elsewhere?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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My own reaction to the article was that it was alternately funny, true, and sad. And that it definitely posed some questions that might defy easy answers.

From the moment women conceive, society holds up a giant Motherhood Scoreboard on which their performance is regularly noted. The hurdles are endless, the judgments swift and unforgiving.

I nodded to myself when reading that entrance into this article. And thought of the ways that this has affected me, as a mother and as a woman.

In September the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, chastised the Government for making it too easy for women to return to work, thus compromising the welfare of the family. Barely a week later a group of eminent thinkers, including Baroness Greenfield and the children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, wrote that childhood is being foreshortened by a combination of junk food, school targets and commercialism.

Heavy stuff there. Now I *am* an at-home-Mom by choice, and feel that is my way to be, the best way for myself now and for my children. *But* - who am I, and who is the Archbishop of Canterbury (besides the fact that he has that marvellous title with lots of interesting, not to say odd-at-times history behind it) to say that this is the right way for all women?! Maybe it is best for many mothers to go to work in ways that please their minds and hearts, and if their kids actually eat fish fingers and spaghetti, will that make the world a worse place? Or better.

Make a woman feel bad about the food she feeds her kids, and she’ll feel like a failure.

Which is why the lies start early.

Then I got cranky at this, for here, as the subject is mothers, the concept being covered is mothers. But it does take two to make a child. I understand (in ways) and then again don't (in ways) how it is that mothers are still the ones that must be made to feel this way about the feeding of the children. Paradoxically, this sort of responsibility is also a privilege in ways. In a philosophic sense, anyway. In a real-life sense, it can be quite a worrisome burden.

But even I, on occasion, resorted to decanting the ready-made stuff into suitably earthy-looking containers, especially in the presence of stay-at-home-mothers, a terrifying breed.

I'm not sure if I can laugh at this or not. I'm not sure if it's meant to be laughed at.

The competition is fierce. The more indigestibly foul the vegetable in question, the better — the aim being to prove that your child has an incredibly sophisticated palate, unsullied and unspoilt by sugar or salt.

On the flip side, this has a ring of truth to it to. I have often been faced by women who are shocked, shocked, that I allow my children fast-food *as well as* some even perhaps "haute-cuisine" home-cooked meals. It depends on the night and on the hungers.

Having been a chef makes it worse. Supposedly if one knows how to cook, then it is something that one *must* do, and with fresh things always! Even if you'd rather be doing something else! (For it improves the world somehow, or so it seems. But cookery done "just because" is not fine or loving cookery.)

Sanctimony. That is what mostly I'd like to see removed from the table, here.

Children are many more things besides eaters, and mothers are many more things besides cooks.

Will you shake my hand if I serve canned spaghetti one night? Or is one a lesser being for doing so? And on the other hand, as Milagai noted, why do we need to mock mung beans?

I hate to see people imposed into a straight-edged box where lying somehow becomes the best way out. This article seems to point to the fact that this is happening, and in larger numbers rather than smaller. So many other things are accepted in today's world that are *not* exactly about Motherhood and Apple Pie As It Used To Be. Let's be able to sit across the table and accept another good mother, no matter whether she is feeding her kids corn dogs or tofu-burgers. As long as the child is healthy and the love is there.

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Depressing. Depressing. Depressing.

How's this for a radical theory: If you make tasty, seasoned food, including vegetables, and then eat them yourself...while eating with them your child, you just might have a chance at developing a child's palate that thinks vegetables and fruit are delicious. And you won't have to lie about it.

Brave words and -- perhaps -- true, but in my years of feeding and eating with children I have yet to find one who finds a green bean as delicious as a pizza (probably for the important reason that it is not). Nor have I found a parent whose doesn't occasionally allow fatigue and whining to cloud their judgment resulting in -- in age where we're all surrounded by fundamentalists of some sort or another, including ultra-orthodox nutritionistas -- guilt.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Depressing. Depressing. Depressing.

How's this for a radical theory: If you make tasty, seasoned food, including vegetables, and then eat them yourself...while eating with them your child, you just might have a chance at developing a child's palate that thinks vegetables and fruit are delicious. And you won't have to lie about it.

It's a great theory, and it's what I thought before I had kids, but it hasn't worked out this way for my family. My second child is an incredibly picky eater. I doubt she's eaten more than ten bites of vegetables in her whole likfe (3 1/2 years). This is in spite of the fact that she lives in a household in which there is always tasty, well-seasoned, homecooked food eaten by two parents and an older brother. Kid number 1 has his own eating issues, but overall has what many would consider a "sophisticated" palate. He eats many veggies, loves expensive cheese, and his favorite food in the whole world is pho. Kid number 2, on the other hand, has never been willing to try anything new. She wouldn't even eat vegetables as a baby. She also doesn't eat much fruit (again, we are big fruit eaters at home) or meat, milk, yogurt, foods that are mixed together, etc.

I never thought a child of mine would be like this, and I do often resort to letting her have fish sticks and hot dogs, because those are some of the few sources of protein she will eat. I let her eat ice cream because it is a way to get some dairy/calcium into her. Do I feel guilt? Sure. Do comments like the one quoted above make me feel like maybe I've failed as a mother? Sometimes. But then I look at my son and remind myself that some things are beyond a parent's control. I think there are a lot of kids out there like my daughter and have learned not to judge. You can create the best food environment possible, but some kids just won't go along with the plan. Why do you think they invented fish sticks in the first place?

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.  Do I feel guilt?  Sure.  Do comments like the one quoted above make me feel like maybe I've failed as a mother?  Sometimes. But then I look at my son and remind myself that some things are beyond a parent's control.  I think there are a lot of kids out there like my daughter and have learned not to judge.  You can create the best food environment possible, but some kids just won't go along with the plan.  Why do you think they invented fish sticks in the first place?

Well said, KitchenMom!

I think the idea in the article was not that vegetables suck, but how the Mommies do tend to see their child's "cultivated palates" as making them superior to other children. And we all know that if Junior is superior, it's superior parenting that made him/her that way.

I don't judge a mom for having pliable kids or low-flavor cooking methods, why should I be judged because my oldest son asked for -- and got -- Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for his birthday dinners when he was little? Yes, this is the child who never ate a jarred baby food until his grandmother -- going against my expressed instructions -- drove to the store and bought it for him. (She never was in charge of his meals again.)

And believe me, if kids ate what their parents ate happily, mine would be eating a lot more, and more expensive, foods. They'd also really love pie!

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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This quote is from e-gullet's own chat with Ruth Reichl.

My own experience as a mother is that Nick was, for years, one of those kids who only ate 5 white foods. Everyone thought it was hilarious that I had this kid who turned up his nose at everything but matzoh brei, Cheerios, French Fries and toast. For a while he ate nothing but chunks of Parmesan cheese and plain chicken. He literally never ate a fruit or vegetable until he was about 7.

My own kids (4 years and nearly 2 years) both stopped eating fruits and vegetables almost overnight at about a year and a half. It's not like anything about the example their parents set for them changed. There is probably more nature (i.e., genetics) and development at play here, rather than nurture. It's Ruth Reichl's kid for pete's sake.

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Nor have I found a parent whose doesn't occasionally allow fatigue and whining to cloud their judgment resulting in -- in age where we're all surrounded by fundamentalists of some sort or another, including ultra-orthodox nutritionistas -- guilt.

Serving pizza for dinner to the children, for me, does not invoke guilt. Rather determinedly does not invoke guilt, I must say, for the frowns of disapproval certainly lurk in the "outside world". But no guilt.

The children enjoy it, I enjoy it, dinner is a pleasure. They do not even need to whine and I do not even need to be tired for pizza to be served (or any other equally nutritionally *repulsive* food in its place. Of course we know that somehow pizza made at home from scratch removes itself from this category of Dispproved Foods. . .but I do order out when I feel like it). :smile:

This does not bother me because I know that at some other meal, some other time, the kids will want to eat something "healthy" (like the dreaded green or mung bean) that balances it out. And those foods are here in the house, too.

Food is supposed to nurture, to pleasure, to succor. Why not indulge urges where they can be indulged? I really do not think there is any such thing as "bad" food, merely bad ways of eating it - which translates to bad judgment on an ongoing basis which could show up in health issues.

Some people are more prone to difficulties with what they eat and how it affects them, health-wise. Some are not. Each person or parent should be aware of this, of course.

But a green bean fed to my child with a halo on my head does not make me an angel (nor does it make me even the slightest bit morally superior in any way), nor does a trip to Burger King make me the devil incarnate.

Canned spaghetti? That's another story. :raz:

I ate a lot of canned spaghetti growing up. I liked it.

I figure that if I grew up (if indeed I did) to become a chef, to be someone that enjoys and knows how to cook all sorts of things, this lapse of gourmandism surely will not crimp my kids' styles in the future.

MFK Fisher wrote an essay once, that disagreed with the general idea that one had to eat, and had to serve, certain things in a certain order at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That the meals had to be "balanced", each comprising certain things. Eat a meal of all fruit if you feel like it! she said. Eat a meal of cookies if you feel like it! she said. Neither you nor the world will be worse for it.

And unless there are health issues involved, I have to agree. And have to extend that sort of guilt-less thinking to allow any and all sorts of "junk food" into our life here.

Now where's that scarlet letter? I seem to have misplaced it.

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:biggrin: I'm back. :smile:

..................................................

I've thought about these "issues" or questions a lot, in the past, for I am very interested in the "meaning" of food, what food means to us as individuals, cultures, societies. . .and there is very deep meaning in what we eat and how it happens. That is one of the true beautiful things about the subject of food.

Lately, I've been thinking about it even more, in trying to sort out things about my mother, and food - (my mother passed away about a year ago).

Since I've learned to cook, I've tried to give love by preparing food. For me, technique is a (neccesary) second to the primary one of giving love or care, through feeding people.

My mother did not cook very much or very well. She was also probably clinically depressed, though undiagnosed. She was often wrapped in anger, and when I was barely fourteen years old, I became a "throwaway" child. This is similar to a runaway, but is initiated by the parent.

In years after, when I became a chef, it seemed to me that the way one should be is to cook "from scratch", fresh, vital, things all the time.

I thought that the love came from the directness of relationship with the earth and soil, and with the time given in preparation, a sort of ritual that can involve both love and sometimes sacrifice of self in small ways (because often, giving to others, does).

But lately I've been remembering the times, the few times, that my own mother was able to break through her difficulties, the few times when she *was* able to show love to me as a child (for she did love me, but simply could not break through the walls that held her prisoner in her heart and mind) through food.

She did not enjoy cooking, so these times did not involve fresh vegetables or time sacrificed at the stove. These times that I felt my mother's love (which is the most precious thing on earth that a child can feel, a solid reality, a nurturance, a strength that goes on forever in memory) were when she made me a grilled cheese sandwich, a BLT, a can of spaghetti heated up. That was how she enjoyed "cooking", though she had a Ph.D and was otherwise not intellectually dullardly, and the tastes of those things mean "love" to me.

So, love and care can be served by mothers in many forms. It's just important to find one's own way to do it, and to do it fully and without being cowed by how others say it should be done, and to not be ashamed of what you put on the table -as long as the love and care is there. A can or a box will not kill it.

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I really do not think there is any such thing as "bad" food, merely bad ways of eating it

I'm sorry, can you explain this? Is there a way to eat a twinkie that makes it "good"? I disagree quite strongly with your comment, but maybe I'm just not getting your intended meaning. :smile:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Between the "bad" given off by a healthy child or adult eating a twinkie, and the "bad" given off by people who seek to put down other people's choices of what to eat, it's my opinion that the second is the worst influence upon the world.

I eat a twinkie now and then. It hasn't seemed to affect my health nor my girlish figure. :smile:

Whether it has made me crazier than I would have been otherwise is unknown and possibly moot. :wink:

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CarrotTop and KitchenMom, you are both making excellent, well thought and well written points.

KitchenMom, I didn't mean that I had seen the light and found the one true path. I was lucky, my son loves vegetables and fruit, always has. I have a personal mission, not sure that is the right word, but I want people to eat their meals together. I just think it leads to an incredible bonding and healthier overall eating habits. Even if its canned spaghetti and twinkies, its a shared experience.

My "sainted son" (where is the ironic ikon?) always hated fish. He would eat anything that came in a shell, but hated anything with fins. He was never required to eat the fish I served. I made sure there was plenty of vegetables or other things that he liked and that was that. Now, he's 21 and he's been eating...fish! He remarked this summer, "Gee mom, it's lighter than meat and I don't feel so stuffed. And it does taste good.'

So, to the parents of white food only children, and genetically pre-disposed to finnicky-ness, I council patience. Can you imagine telling a mother she needs a patience???? :laugh::laugh::laugh: Do I win a prize for understatement?? HUH???

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