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Foodie Kids/Fibbing Moms?


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here's something I'd like to know (understand, I didn't read the whole article, my response has more to do with the content of the thread)...since when has it become common practice to give our children a choice for what they want to eat? I know that my daughter would love nothing more than to eat cheese crackers and oatmeal all day. Basically I offer her what we have for our own meals and sometimes she loves it, a lot of times (more so lately: she's 19 months) she pushes it away even though it might be something she inhaled a week earlier.

I grew up with a stay at home mom who was an exceptional cook, nothing exotic, just good simple food. We did not have 'snacks' at our disposal, if we were hungry other than meal time we were told to grab some leftovers or to eat a carrot. Why is this considered so foreign now?

I know my daughter is not going to starve if she misses a meal, am I alone in this?

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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No, I don't mean obesity, or only obesity.

I was thinking of general nutrition overall,

though filling up on poor-quality, empty calories

must play a role.  The link between socioeconomic

status and nutrition is firmly established, scientifically

speaking, and comprises all sub-issues (micronutrients,

obesity, etc.).

And I don't get the crack about "health food types"  :wink:

Who do you have in mind?  What do they eat?

Please dont start the list with "moong beans"

or "tofu" because that will

spin us right back to the beginning of this whole thread..... :biggrin:

I guess I'm asking for a little cultural translation here.....

Nowadays, no-one seems to do the hard physical labour

of previous generations, so maybe only the better off

can afford to carve out time and money to exercise? 

Milagai

Nah, I won't start in on the moong beans, Milagai. As long as you promise not to start in on the canned spaghetti. :biggrin:

I don't know what "health food types" eat. All I know is that many of the health food stores that I've entered in my lifetime have seemed to have hired people that looked like they were not particularly healthy nor happy as compared to the other places I've shopped for food, usually the ubiquitous supermarket. What can I say? This does not encroach on any particular cultural legacy, as far as I can see. Maybe it's just a style thing, a style thing that is not to *my* particular taste. But that doesn't mean I'm going to say "my way is better than theirs".

I do know many people who dislike even the idea of "health food" though, because of this apparent style thing.

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Here's a bit more from Rachel Lauden's "Culinary Modernism":

We hover between ridicule and shame when we remember how our mothers and grandmothers enthusiastically embraced canned and frozen foods. [. . .] We shun Wonder Bread and Coca-Cola. Above all, we abhor the great culminating symbol of Culinary Modernism- McDonald's - modern, fast, homogenous and international.

Like so many of my generation, my culinary style was created by those who scorned industrialized food: Culinary Luddites, we may call them, after the English hand workers who abhorred the machines that were destroying their traditional way of life.

and

Culinary Luddism involves more than just taste. Since the days of the counterculture, it has also presented itself as a moral and political crusade.
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Multiple quotes are very challenging.... :wacko::wink:

This is certainly a wide ranging discussion!

Question: when did 'health food' become so expensive? Why? I've been rolling this around my brain for the past 2 years simply because I live part time in the US and part time in Italy. Everyone goes to the Italian market, they are inexpensive, you are buying local. It's not a political choice, its not an economic choice, its just where you get your vegetables. Why is the Greenmarket in NYC so incredibly expensive?? Its downright shocking. The logistics are pretty much the same, gas/transport is more expensive in Italy. So, you have a situation where anyone who is even mildly economically challenged cannot shop at the Greenmarket. You also have to consider the marketing aspect. The companies that make processed food want you to believe that it takes longer to make from scratch. They want you to believe that its too hard or complicated to make it your self. Look at the row of salad dressing in any major grocery store...it's a whole row of salad dressings!! Come on, what's it take? It costs more per serving to serve canned spaghetti than to make your own (why did canned spaghetti become the pivotal icon in this discussion? how random!).

Then comes the backlash.... a knee jerk dismissal of all processed food, it develops a snob aspect, but, we are a generation that was primed to believe that canned soup is easier and faster and its cheap. So, have we lost a whole generation of culinary experience? Do the subjects of this article, the mothers, want the snob appeal of 'healthy food', is it a way of subtly saying you are richer than other people, but they don't know how or are not willling to prepare it? I had some 18 year old boys in my kitchen this summer, and we were prepping dinner together, and it was the first time one of them had ever cleaned a salad. I was stunned, but with a little help, he got the hang of it.

Which brings me to Daniel's observation about eating alone. I also thought the article was inferring that the kids eat alone, canned spaghetti is for kids. Anyone who knows me, knows how strongly I feel about eating as a family, and if you get to prep and prepare together...that is a delicious bonus. I'm in a different situation now, but when our son lived at home, and I worked stupid hours, we still ate together, it may have been 9:30 or 10:00, but we ate together. Our son's were always amazed at what time we would eat....they would also hang around to make sure they were invited.

Ah.... twirling on the head of a pin, am I?? This is a complex subject for sure, with no absolute answers, of that, I'm sure! :laugh:

edit: To take out my multiple quotes because I made a mess of it! I figure you guys understand what I mean!

Edited by hathor (log)
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here's something I'd like to know (understand, I didn't read the whole article, my response has more to do with the content of the thread)...since when has it become common practice to give our children a choice for what they want to eat? I know that my daughter would love nothing more than to eat cheese crackers and oatmeal all day. Basically I offer her what we have for our own meals and sometimes she loves it, a lot of times (more so lately: she's 19 months) she pushes it away even though it might be something she inhaled a week earlier.

I grew up with a stay at home mom who was an exceptional cook, nothing exotic, just good simple food. We did not have 'snacks' at our disposal, if we were hungry other than meal time we were told to grab some leftovers or to eat a carrot. Why is this considered so foreign now?

I know my daughter is not going to starve if she misses a meal, am I alone in this?

A-freakin-men...My sister and sister in law feed our nieces and nephews the same food over and over again. "It's all they will eat" I hear. I don't remember having that luxury as a child. I got stuck eating whatever mom and dad were eating, and I assure you, it wasnt mac-n-cheese or chicken nuggets. My one niece is so picky, I made her chicken nuggets once (at the instruction of her mom) and she wouldnt eat them. When I asked her what the problem was, she sobbed "These are different than the ones I get at school!"

My brain hurts thinking about it...

"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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here's something I'd like to know (understand, I didn't read the whole article, my response has more to do with the content of the thread)...since when has it become common practice to give our children a choice for what they want to eat? I know that my daughter would love nothing more than to eat cheese crackers and oatmeal all day. Basically I offer her what we have for our own meals and sometimes she loves it, a lot of times (more so lately: she's 19 months) she pushes it away even though it might be something she inhaled a week earlier.

I grew up with a stay at home mom who was an exceptional cook, nothing exotic, just good simple food. We did not have 'snacks' at our disposal, if we were hungry other than meal time we were told to grab some leftovers or to eat a carrot. Why is this considered so foreign now?

I know my daughter is not going to starve if she misses a meal, am I alone in this?

A-freakin-men...My sister and sister in law feed our nieces and nephews the same food over and over again. "It's all they will eat" I hear. I don't remember having that luxury as a child. I got stuck eating whatever mom and dad were eating, and I assure you, it wasnt mac-n-cheese or chicken nuggets. My one niece is so picky, I made her chicken nuggets once (at the instruction of her mom) and she wouldnt eat them. When I asked her what the problem was, she sobbed "These are different than the ones I get at school!"

My brain hurts thinking about it...

I agree. Just because you have to share five or six thousand meals with your kids is no reason to give them a say in what they're eating. Plus, I personally relish the opportunity to turn the too-few minutes we have around the table as a family into yet another power struggle with my children; school, dating, television, money and cleaning their damn bedrooms just don't provide enough opportunities for conflict. "You'll eat your mung beans and you'll like them!" I often find myself yelling across the table. "And put that napkin in your lap!"

That'll teach the punks the joy of cooking.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Question: when did 'health food' become so expensive?  Why? I've been rolling this around my brain for the past 2 years simply because I live part time in the US and part time in Italy. Everyone goes to the Italian market, they are inexpensive, you are buying local. It's not a political choice, its not an economic choice, its just where you get your vegetables. Why is the Greenmarket in NYC so incredibly expensive??

I think the real question is "Why is the grocery store so inexpensive?" Just as with gasoline, I truly believe that the price of groceries in the US does not reflect the true cost of their production.

Then comes the backlash.... a knee jerk dismissal of all processed food, it develops a snob aspect,

And, as this article indicates, a backlash against the backlash. It reminds me of the backlash against political correctness. Being politically correct started out as being cognisant of other folk's sensitivities and using the least offensive language possible. It soon morphed into some sort of weird nice-speak and the original message was promptly lost amid the linguistic gymnastics being shoved down everyone's throats. No wonder there was a backlash!

With the "eat local/eat healthy/don't eat processed food" movement, what started out as an alternative to the industrial food chain was picked up by the marketing teams for, you guessed it, the industrial food producers! Just as with "politically correct speech", once that happens, the original message is lost.

Do the subjects of this article, the mothers, want the snob appeal of 'healthy food', is it a way of subtly saying you are richer than other people, but they don't know how or are not willling to prepare it?

I think that's exactly it. The article is less about food than it is about how food has become the newest status symbol.

Which brings me to Daniel's observation about eating alone. I also thought the article was inferring that the kids eat alone, canned spaghetti is for kids.  Anyone who knows me, knows how strongly I feel about eating as a family, and if you get to prep and prepare together...that is a delicious bonus.  I'm in a different situation now, but when our son lived at home, and I worked stupid hours, we still ate together, it may have been 9:30 or 10:00, but we ate together. Our son's were always amazed at what time we would eat....they would also hang around to make sure they were invited.

I'm with you on the "eating as a family" (and yes, we'll eat well into the dark hours as well in order to accommodate the Spawn's dojo hours) but, as far as the article goes, remember that it is an English newspaper. How much of that is also for "snob appeal"? Feeding the kids separately from the adults must be an easier way to feel posh than cooking fancy foods when one doesn't know how to cook!

There was an interesting factoid in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, that might hold another clue to the kids eating alone. I can't find the section but I finished the book not long ago so I know it was in there; essentially, he discussed the "family meal" and what it meant for different people. Some families who had participated in a study regarding the family meal allowed researchers to set up cameras in their dining rooms. Although almost half of the respondents (I think the number was 47%) replied that they ate the evening meal as a family most evenings, many of those families considered eating as a family to mean "eating at home". They didn't sit down together at all and they certainly didn't eat the same food!

It boggled my mind! (And I know I'm going to have to go and find the section in the book now...)

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here's something I'd like to know (understand, I didn't read the whole article, my response has more to do with the content of the thread)...since when has it become common practice to give our children a choice for what they want to eat? I know that my daughter would love nothing more than to eat cheese crackers and oatmeal all day. Basically I offer her what we have for our own meals and sometimes she loves it, a lot of times (more so lately: she's 19 months) she pushes it away even though it might be something she inhaled a week earlier.

I grew up with a stay at home mom who was an exceptional cook, nothing exotic, just good simple food. We did not have 'snacks' at our disposal, if we were hungry other than meal time we were told to grab some leftovers or to eat a carrot. Why is this considered so foreign now?

I know my daughter is not going to starve if she misses a meal, am I alone in this?

A-freakin-men...My sister and sister in law feed our nieces and nephews the same food over and over again. "It's all they will eat" I hear. I don't remember having that luxury as a child. I got stuck eating whatever mom and dad were eating, and I assure you, it wasnt mac-n-cheese or chicken nuggets. My one niece is so picky, I made her chicken nuggets once (at the instruction of her mom) and she wouldnt eat them. When I asked her what the problem was, she sobbed "These are different than the ones I get at school!"

My brain hurts thinking about it...

I agree. Just because you have to share five or six thousand meals with your kids is no reason to give them a say in what they're eating. Plus, I personally relish the opportunity to turn the too-few minutes we have around the table as a family into yet another power struggle with my children; school, dating, television, money and cleaning their damn bedrooms just don't provide enough opportunities for conflict. "You'll eat your mung beans and you'll like them!" I often find myself yelling across the table. "And put that napkin in your lap!"

That'll teach the punks the joy of cooking.

I hear what you are implying, however, there is a wide area between eating chicken nuggets everyday and forcing your kids to eat things they hate everyday. I don't think letting children dictate their nutritional needs is an area we should give up the fight. I think a bit of power struggle is in order to get children to eat more wholesome food. Maybe not mung beans, but would grilled chicken kill anyone? Brocolli? It need not be "parents have total control" or "kids have total control", but somewhere gently in between.

"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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Do you agree or disagree that feeding a child the equivalent of "fish fingers and spaghetti" is an acceptable option as a way to live? Do you think that children in general take to "easy-tasting" or processed foods more naturally than they do to what some might consider to be more "healthy" foods?

I can't imagine having high fat/high carb dinners like that every night, but it could be worse: at least the kids are getting some protein! It's probably healthier than the "I need you to love me" sort of dinner that I might fix my kids every now and then: homemade crepes with Nutella and slices bananas (and a glass of milk).

My kids get "fish fingers and spaghetti" type dinners every now and then, mostly when I am too tired or stressed to cook and my husband is working late. Marion Winik wrote about serving her boys their beloved Yellow Dinner, which consisted of Shake 'n' Bake pork chops, canned corn, bottled applesauce, boxed macaroni and cheese, and Poppin' Fresh rolls, all blobbed on the plate in non-adjacent circles. This is about what I do, something gimmicky (kids love gimmicky) yet comforting and easy to fix. (I also include the part where one of us at the table has the adult's version of the yellow dinner: a single glass of chardonnay. )

I don't think that children take to processed foods naturally, as such, but they do go through a very long phase of liking only simple foods, like plain pasta with butter and scrambled eggs. Our boys enjoyed foods like roasted garlic, moussaka, onion tart, and feta cheese during their second year on earth, but sometime during their third year their tastes became extremly limited. Kids' taste buds start developing and tastes seem especially strong to them--like a really skunky egg or fishy fish might taste to an adult, like tasting mutton when you were expecting lamb. At that point, they demand a simplification of their diet to only things like melon balls, grapes, string cheese, chicken nuggets, spaghetti with butter or marinara sauce (maybe), French fries (but no other type of potatoes!), pancakes, waffles, cheese pizza, scrambled eggs and crisp bacon, meatloaf, plain cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mac 'n' cheese, and mild cheese enchiladas.

In time, they eventually reexpand their palates, as long as adults encourage it. With my boys, I never stopped trying to give them our more complicated foods, but mostly started off with the simplest new foods, like chopped romaine and cucumber salad with ranch dressing or mild pan-fried fish with a wedge of lemon. Over time, they've been eating more and more of mom's foodie meals--and more complicated salads (e.g., mixed baby greens with dried cranberries, pistachios, and maple vinaigrette). I try to engage them in helping me cook, and they will eat just about anything that they helped make. Before I had surgery, six months ago, I took them to a dinner assembly place and had them help me prepare 24 dinners to put in our freezer. They had such a good time and because they felt vested in the meals they ate everything we made there. Since then, they will at least try anything I make and eat most of it, including things like quiche, spanokopita, pan-seared scallops, and sausage lasagne, which was previously deemed "too many ingredients" and "too spicy." They will eat just about any vegetable I fix, and love all fruits.

I do think that "fish fingers and spaghetti" parents are often afraid to try serving their kids healthier, more adventurous foods for fear the children will reject it. As to parents lying and responding that they serve better meals than they actually do, for many people, their good intentions of doing something must count the same in their head as actually following through with it :)

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It need not be "parents have total control" or "kids have total control", but somewhere gently in between.

I'll buy that.

Note, though, that anyone wondering why mothers lie about the food their children eats might be able to get some idea as to why they do so from some of the more uncompromising-sounding posts upthread.

[And milagi -- didn't mean to pick on mung beans, which are rare in these parts, once again. The next time I see them on a menu, I will order them twice. :laugh: ]

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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It need not be "parents have total control" or "kids have total control", but somewhere gently in between

I think that this conversation needs to define the age of the children being controlled.. I am sorry but we have a 6 year old and she has no say and no control of anything that goes into her safety, her nutrition, or her welfare.. Sure we take in to account what she likes and we will leave off pepper or spice for her.. But in terms of her not liking a vegetable or something.. Well thats too bad.. The same goes for having to read a book every night after dinner.. Does she want to? Hell no.. In fact she cried non stop the first three nights.. But thats what we have to do, we need to make her do things thats good for her despite it not being the most fun option.. She also has no say in her bed time 730 every night, the same goes for her getting toys, or brushing her teeth, wearing a jacket, crossing the street, and the list goes on..

By the time she is a young adult and as she grows up, this will obviously change.. But you can not treat a 6 year old like a teenager..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I'm with you on the "eating as a family" (and yes, we'll eat well into the dark hours as well in order to accommodate the Spawn's dojo hours) but, as far as the article goes, remember that it is an English newspaper. How much of that is also for "snob appeal"? Feeding the kids separately from the adults must be an easier way to feel posh than cooking fancy foods when one doesn't know how to cook!

There are lots of folks who feed the younger children early, and eat while the child plays after dinner. Its more a convenience than snob thing. I think the "my child eats..." is a snob thing in part (I cook these expensive exotic things....), but its also that hiding from judgement. As noted. the judgement can easily be found on this thread.

It takes time to learn to like some unfamiliar flavors, so we offer them repeatedly to the munchkin. Sometimes one takes hold, sometimes an old favorite falls off the rotation. I figure it took me a year to learn to enjoy strawberries, and several years to enjoy tomatoes on a sandwich. Why should the munchkin not also have a learning curve?

Even Jeffery Steingarten,in some of his writing, discusses having to learn to like certain things. Why would children be different? In fact, it took about 20 tries to get the infant munchkin to eat that baby staple, bananas!

I wont force someone to eat an entire serving, but I will set a rule that says you must try (chew, swallow) one bite of each thing we serve.

(I've two friends who upchucked the entire meal after being forced to eat a full serving of something they didnt like. Im not that fond of getting my own way, nor of cleaning.)

"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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So I went back and actually read the article (as opposed to just the eGullet thread) and I can appreciate that it is trying to providing busy moms with some easy prepared meal options that offer a reasonable amount of nutrition.

However, this piece falls into the category of articles that I think *create* the perfect mom pressure and competition. The whole premise is that the author is going against the pressures of being the perfect (and fibbing) nutritionist mom. But seriously, where is she finding these "terrifying" stay-at-home moms? When I first ventured out as a new mom to uppity "mommy and me" groups, I readied myself for hyper-competitive, judgemental, breastfeeding-is-best, organic-food-only, my-child-was-doing-differential-equations-at-6-months, three-year-waiting-lists-for-preschool moms, and I only hoped to find one other soul that was down to earth that I could relate too. But I never found those moms.

I have, however, heard many a mom sheepishly admit to doing, well, just about everything we're not suppose to do. But the judgement certainly isn't coming from the other moms in the room. I think we've just all read the same articles about what we're suppose to be doing and we feel a universal sense of guilt. Damn media.

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The only real beef I have concerning the article is the LYING.

"...women’s inability to live up to impossible standards is causing them not just inordinate amounts of stress but turning them into liars."

"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." Oh honestly!! Turning them into liars?! Make a woman feel bad about her choices and she must now lie?! These are adults who *choose* to lie. Arg.

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Perhaps some of you, for obvious reasons, are missing the positive aspects of this societal pressure on mothers. If I feed our children a steady diet of Spaghetti-Os and chicken fingers, society will condone my behavior while judging my wife mercilessly. Sometimes, it is good to be a guy. :wink:

Please note the :wink: above, OK?

The other day, younger son described how he would vomit if he had to eat tofu. I asked him if he knew what tofu was, and, long story short, he had no idea. It turns out that a recent cartoon episode (Camp Lazlo, FWIW) featured a camp cook who made tofu hot dogs every Friday. Somehow, the cartoon cook managed to impart the resilience of vulcanized rubber into the normally soft soybean derivative. No recipe was provided, so I can only surmise that molecular gastronomy was involved.

Anyway, my new goal is to prepare kid-friendly tofu. I will probably start with tofu playing a minor role in something the boys already enjoy, such as fried rice, and work up from there. Since I have never cooked with tofu before, this will be an interesting challenge.

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Ronald Regan said "All great change in America starts at the dinner table.." I guess this means both bad and good..

Speaking of bad... :rolleyes:

Wasn't it the Reagan administration that classified KETCHUP as a vegetable?? :blink:

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I'm with you on the "eating as a family" (and yes, we'll eat well into the dark hours as well in order to accommodate the Spawn's dojo hours) but, as far as the article goes, remember that it is an English newspaper. How much of that is also for "snob appeal"? Feeding the kids separately from the adults must be an easier way to feel posh than cooking fancy foods when one doesn't know how to cook!

There are lots of folks who feed the younger children early, and eat while the child plays after dinner. Its more a convenience than snob thing.

I only want to point out that the emphasis I tried to make was that the article was from an English periodical. There are aspects of English culture that escape most of us...one of them being that the "posh" people do not eat with their children. Children are served separately and, if they're posh enough, in a separate room!

I've run into the English class system in another of my hobbies and it's not always rational.

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Anyway, my new goal is to prepare kid-friendly tofu. I will probably start with tofu playing a minor role in something the boys already enjoy, such as fried rice, and work up from there. Since I have never cooked with tofu before, this will be an interesting challenge.

I don't know how old your boys are or what their particular likes or dislikes are BUT ... from a very early age (three?), the Spawn has loved agedashi, especially if benito flakes were included in the recipe.

Alternatively, if the kids like spicy food, ma poh tofu might be a good introduction for them as well.

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I don't know how old your boys are or what their particular likes or dislikes are BUT ... from a very early age (three?), the Spawn has loved agedashi, especially if benito flakes were included in the recipe.

Alternatively, if the kids like spicy food, ma poh tofu might be a good introduction for them as well.

Agedashi looks delicious, so thanks for the suggestion. Funny that you mention ma po tofu - I had that in mind as the destination rather than the starting point. Elder son loves hot/spicy food, but we are building up younger son's chile tolerance.

My wife reminded me that the boys enjoy tofu-based meatless "BBQ ribs", so perhaps this windmill has already been tilted at. I didn't mean to hijack this thread, which has been fascinating. Please carry on.

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Ronald Regan said "All great change in America starts at the dinner table.." I guess this means both bad and good..

Speaking of bad... :rolleyes:

Wasn't it the Reagan administration that classified KETCHUP as a vegetable?? :blink:

Great catch-phrase. . .that dinner table thing. . .wonderful to roll around on the tongue and there is such a sense of Family Values that sort of land on one while doing so! Ahhhh. . .wonderful feeling. But to me, it doesnt seem to hold up to close examination.

Maybe if they'd added a word or two here or there. . .sort of to prove it. But then again, too much ketchup could have left their brains fried. One never knows.

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Ronald Regan said "All great change in America starts at the dinner table.." I guess this means both bad and good..

Speaking of bad... :rolleyes:

Wasn't it the Reagan administration that classified KETCHUP as a vegetable?? :blink:

Great catch-phrase. . .that dinner table thing. . .wonderful to roll around on the tongue and there is such a sense of Family Values that sort of land on one while doing so! Ahhhh. . .wonderful feeling. But to me, it doesnt seem to hold up to close examination.

Maybe if they'd added a word or two here or there. . .sort of to prove it. But then again, too much ketchup could have left their brains fried. One never knows.

I think it says and means a lot.. Definitely better then just say NO.. And you forgot to add that Reagan was all about the Jelly Beans.. I guess thats why I said I dont mind the canned spaghetti, I was more upset about kids eating alone.. :biggrin:

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I think it says and means a lot.. Definitely better then just say NO.. And you forgot to add that Reagan was all about the Jelly Beans.. I guess thats why I said I dont mind the canned spaghetti, I was more upset about kids eating alone.. :biggrin:

Jelly Beans and Ketchup. God forbid. I can not even *believe* I have to put these two things in the same sentence, Daniel.

It makes my head, heart, and stomach hurt, all at the same time. But excuse me for a moment, I have to go make the kids' lunches for school.

Somehow, I forgot to say "just say no" somewhere along the line. :wink:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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