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This child ticks me off.
I admit it. I have what I will call traditional views on children and food. Before Moo and I were married, I would often quietly critique how folks feed their kids.
This critique comes from a couple of different experiences I’ve had over the years.
Experience #1: When I was about 6, we went to a family cookout. The adults had steak. The kids were fed hotdogs. I have always had a love/hate relationship with hotdogs. Cooked in a particular way (in a skillet with a tiny amount of butter) I like them, otherwise, I don’t. Since these hotdogs were cooked on a grill, I wouldn’t eat them. So I went hungry until my parents realized that I was only eating a bun (the baked beans had peppers and were too hot and the potato chips were the cheap extra greasy kind and I wouldn’t eat either one). They gave me part of their steak and then the other kids started asking for steak and our hostess – a cousin of my dad – got mad at my parents for their “bad example”.
Experience #2: Long before I met Moo, I dated this guy who would only eat potatoes and would only drink milk. Want to go to a restaurant? “What kind of potatoes do they have? Baked? Fried?” It was a nightmare and we didn’t date long. When asked why he did this, he said that his parents had always let him eat what he wanted and all he really wanted was potatoes and milk.
“Have you ever had Japanese teppanyaki?”
“No. Don’t want to. It looks gross.”
“But you haven’t tried it.”
“Don’t have to try it to know it’s gross.”
Since Phoebe started eating table food, I’ve come a long way in putting together healthy, balanced meals for her. I still thinks she eats entirely too much chicken, but Moo pointed out that he and I eat a lot of chicken so we need to look at that. The good thing is that she eats just about anything I offer her.
Since she got her 1 year molars, I’ve offered everything from the table with almost 100% acceptance including pickles, potato salad, and lettuce. I tear or cut everything up of course, but the fact remains that this kid will eat almost anything.
Food companies have put out so many processed, packaged foods that I think parents are using as crutches instead of trying to put together healthy balanced meals. I admit to feeding Phoebe a couple of these but only during travel when I don’t know what will be on the menu.
I don’t think kids get a good understanding of balance in these meals and I certainly don’t think kids are getting any exposure to new foods and tastes. I think the milk/potato guy is an extreme, but I see him as the prime example of why broadening kid’s tastes is important.
When I was a kid, my parents said that I didn’t have to eat everything on my plate, but that I needed to try everything. And just like you do when your baby is trying new foods, I was offered things regularly that I said I didn’t like just to see if I’d changed my mind. To that end, I still do this.
Just in the past year, I’ve come to like tomatoes and onions. Before I tolerated them so long as I couldn’t find them. I’m still not likely to have a tomato sandwich or a slice of raw onion, but I now love grilled onions and I like seeded raw tomatoes. So I think even adults have something to learn from this.
So when this commercial plays and this kid, in a very obnoxious voice starts berating her mother for feeding her (the child) minced fish sticks, I found myself getting incensed.
If the minced fish sticks are safe to eat and not too laden with fat and carbs, why does it matter whether FISH STICKS are made of minced or whole fish? And why does this kid get to browbeat her parent into buying what is probably more expensive FISH STICKS? Afterall, these are FISH STICKS! Not fine cuisine.
What foods do you hate and have you tried them lately to see if you still hate them?