Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Tiny Rant

I was going to sit this one out. It's pretty obvious from my site that I don't hide veggies and serve "kid food" (a bigger rant there to come). But, it seems as if Jessica Seinfeld's book is creating quite a stir among us mom-types, 494 comments over at Slate alone. So, here is my short take on the topic.

First, I have a philosophical problem with "deception" and "food." Watching the headlines and issues, there is quite enough deception going on with our food supply already. I don't need to add to it on a personal level.

Second, it does nothing to teach your kids about how to eat healthy. Yeah, it's frustrating. Yeah, there are picky days. We went through that over the weekend. Then yesterday, the kiddo chows down four helpings of carrot souffle, blackberries, two helpings of sugar snap peas, green beans and an apple and milk in a sitting. Ride it out. Parenting is a long haul in general and food is no exception.

Finally, vegetables are not some sleazy gastronomic affair to be carried on in a dark pantry. Treating them like this only reinforces the concept of vegetable=yuck when you are found out.

To be honest, I really don't understand the whole "I don't like vegetables" thing. Corn tastes nothing like broccoli, winter squash and summer squash are as different as, well, winter and summer. There is no universal "vegetable" flavor to be disliked. Except maybe "canned" vegetable flavor. Arguably, the source, freshness and preparation of a vegetable matters just as much as the variety does.

Before I got married, I went on a lunch date with a smartass lawyer type. When we went to choose a meeting spot, I suggested Vietnamese food.

"Vietnamese?" he said. "I don't like cat."

"Maybe you just haven't had it fixed right," I replied.

The date didn't work out. But, I won my case.


tut-tut said...

Just serve it up; you'll be surprised during your child's teenagedom what an adventurous eater you've raised.

Laurie Colwin's two books, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, also address feeding children in a very intelligent manner.

jen said...

you know, being ignorant and unsophisticated in regards to food - i liked her book. and then i read what you and others have to say and i am back to feeling ignorant and unsophisticated. because i think you are right.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Jen, I get the need to get something healthy into little ones. It's being a good mom. It is so frustrating trying to get them to eat right, and mine is easier than most. I do get it, I'm just going to suck it up and go the old school route. It's easier for me since I like to cook and I like a challenge in the kitchen.

You are concerned about your child's nutrition, which puts you way ahead of the majority of parents out there. However you get there and whatever is right for you.

Rachel said...

I wouldn't call myself a sophisticated cook or epicure or anything of that nature. To my mind, it's plain easier to serve fruit and veg in situ (or cooked in recipes) than it is to go the Deceptive route. I mean really, who has the time to cook veg, puree it and then hide it in a recipe?! It's heaps easier to steam some veg, or wok it, or grate it and put it in a stew/pasta sauce/crepe!

The food avoidance battles are a pain in the ar$e, no doubt about that. But if one can take pleasure in preparation (no matter how simple!) and try to savor it in a family setting, you're halfway to winning the war.