Friday, November 6, 2009

Food Confessions

The other day I got an email from Daily Candy telling me how to make sure my kids eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Have you seen Daily Candy? Its logo of a sticky lollipop is just right. Hawking $75 dresses for 2-year-olds, $200 knit necklaces for grown-ups, the emails serve a very specific purpose in my day (sometimes), but that purpose has nothing to do with health or balance. And yet, there I was reading the same old tips about offering new foods and not being a short order cook in Daily Candy and I was feeling badly once again. Because when it comes to feeding my kids, I've made all the mistakes in the book. When my kids stopped eating their sandwiches on whole wheat bread, I bought white (from Whole Foods! but still). They eat a lot of snacks that aren't carrots. When they ask for mac and cheese night after night, I often give it to them, from the box. (I've made the homemade kind to no great effect.) I make separate food for the grownups. (They're welcome to try it and sometimes do! Elliot especially.) And, yes, I've been known to be a short order cook from time to time.

Truthfully, the thing that gives me hope on the food front is the memory of my SUV-driving brother. He ate nothing -- NOTHING -- until he was maybe 11. Truly, I don't know how he stood on two feet. (He was quite spindly.) Then, he started to eat everything. Everything. Then he started to cook. And by now, the old gas-guzzler has spent the better part of his life on a big food adventure. So I can only hope that slowly but surely, my kids will try new foods. Eventually, I'll make meals the four of us can tuck into. Maybe my kids will try and like asparagus and not demand peas and probably if they do demand peas I'll tell them they'll have to wait until tomorrow. We'll all have learned our lessons by then.


Carolyn said...

too funny Robin! i remember only liking pasta and starches as a kid, and not really even enjoying (loving!!) food until much later on. i could blame it on my mom (over boiled brussel sprouts) but i think maybe i just wasn't ready to be adventurous. i knew what i liked and that's what i wanted. i try not to be envious of parents with kids who love all the crazy things they cook up. my daughter walks in and says 'what are you making' (to my husband = the cook) and pretty much 90% of the time answers 'blehhh' to whatever he says. it's disheartening for him. nels like elliot is much more likely to try something new but with leni it would take some sort of metal clamps to do the trick. oh well. maybe the same way kids thrive on boring old routine, boring old food will do too...and by that i mean literally thrive - forget about all the good stuff they're missing ;)

Robin Aronson said...

it's true. they're doing fine. what's funny is helen will try, say, a carrot but nothing she considers "grown up" elliot will try fish and he tried lasagna (and liked it!) -so strange...but i guess we all grow out of it...

marjorie said...

thanks for this post, robin. i'm so sick of making two dinners, one for us and one beiger version. and can't they at least both like the SAME tiny number of vegetables! the only one they'll BOTH eat is broccoli. HATE feeling like a short-order cook. hate myself for kowtowing to it.

today josie's teacher made the suggestion that we cook together so she'll have more incentive to try new foods. WOW, THANK YOU, CHILDLESS 20SOMETHING PERSON, FOR THIS WILDLY NEW NOTION. I'VE NEVER TRIED *THAT* BEFORE.

she also said let her go to bed hungry if she won't eat what we eat. i caaaaaaaan't! which makes me feel i suck even more.

it does help to hear that other parents struggle too.

Robin Aronson said...

Ahhhh, and here I'd idealized your downtown kitchen and what got consumed by whom in it....hopefully time and trying and general interest will fix this without too much damage to any of us.

Wendy said...

Robin, you must have a nanny cam to our kitchen! I too, feed them macaroni and cheese out of a box because they don't like homemade. I've served chicken and apples a million times for dinner because they will actually eat it. And I stress because apples are fruits instead of vegetables! ;-)
Marjorie, I have sent my 4 year old to bed hungry, and all he did was eat more sugary yogurt in the morning.
My pediatrician swears I will never win any battle over eating, sleeping, or potty training, so don't bother. Cold comfort to a foodie mom who loves to cook with little boys who eat so 'beige'.