Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jumping on my soapbox

Normally my inspiration for a post comes from my family, my friends, something I've tried or tasted, but I guess it was only a matter of time before I was inspired to post as the result (or in response) to another blogger's post. I came upon this post in my usual morning rounds of some of my favorite food blogs. I was browsing posts at An Obsession with Food when I came upon a link to a vitriolic post regarding kid-food and picky eaters. I will not provide a direct link to the post because after checking out the site and the post, it was not a site I would frequent and I don't want to do anything to increase the traffic to this particular site (a shock-jock of bloggers), but it has made me want to climb on my soapbox. And so, humor me.

First of all, part of the reason I started this blog was to fill what I see as a void in our society (big job, huh?) that has been left by our not having the benefit of extended family and strong neighborhoods that provided "food mentors" for our parents and grandparents. I strongly believe that many of our food-related issues such as anorexia, obesity, allergies, etc. are contributed to by our reliance on convenience foodnot because we are lazy or stupid but because many of us have not been raised or taught to be comfortable with food, its preparation and enjoyment. That is why I wanted to create a cyber kitchen table that could help replacein small measure that resource to encourage a new generation to play with food.

That said, this post blasted parents for "giving in" to children regarding food and how parents who could not hold the line had no business having children. It is a post that shows an elitist, judgmental, and non-productive attitude that is exactly what I hope to fight. You can read my response to the post on Obsession with Food. I am posting here because I think there is a lot to be said for being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I hope that you will not be intimidated by food, but will learn and experiment and enjoy. Encourage your children to have fun with food- that's what McDonald's does. You can make ethnic finger foods, teach your family to eat with chopsticks, serve dinner in front of the fire on cushions, making meals a fun occasion.
I want all readers to stop being intimidated by food and model that behavior for their children, family members, neighbors and co-workers. I don't believe that ridiculing parents who are struggling already with the many pressures of modern life and not enough support systems is helping. Are you a bad parent if you once in awhile serve your children chicken nuggets or a Twinkie? I don't think so, as long as it is an occasional part of a varied and healthy diet, not a daily occurance.

Let me know what you think.

6 comments:

Sorcha said...

It seems like people who don't have kids are always telling parents how to raise their kids, doesn't it? It's annoying, and if they'd actually raised kids or even worked with them for any length of time, they'd know that it's not that simple.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean. I cook for my family because I like to and I like good food, but I am not above picking up the phone and calling for delivery! There is a disconnect to preparing a real meal...many people haven't experienced it as children and are at a loss how to create it as adults.

Kristen said...

I didn't read that post, but I can just imagine the tone. I think if people just gave cooking and food a chance...if they are taught properly they wouldn't be so intimidated by it.
Your post is a great one! Very good points you bring up here.

Derrick said...

Hey, thanks for continuing the discussion over here. I frankly feel that even if said blogger is right to some extent, it's far too simplistic an answer. As Amy said on my post, food pickiness has to come from a zillion different avenues.

But we like silver bullets, easy answers that have tangible solutions. If only life were actually like that :)

Karen said...

Interesting discussion, and I want to extend it on my own soapbox soon. I spend a lot of time thinking about this dilemma, and have daily battles with my kids about what they're eating or want to eat.

I do think there needs to be a compromise, but not at the expense of their eating real food. It's difficult!

Multi-tasking Mom said...

Yes, the "best" parenting advice always comes from the childless. *rolling eyes* DH and I love to eat a variety of foods and we offer these choices to our kids too. My kids eat a variety of foods from many cultures, and I try to make sure that they are making healthy choices but I don't beat myself up if they eat junk once in a while. I have found that by taking this stance, my older kids have come to prefer "real" food to overprocessed junk. They see food not just as something that tastes good, but as the fuel for their bodies. The tables have begun to turn on us. The other day we were pressed for time and stopped at a McDonald's on the way home from hockey. The boys were in the backseat booing, saying, why can't we eat a GOOD meal.

Thank you for visiting my blog and directing me to yours. With 3 athletic growing boys, we really enjoy food in our house, but lately our lives have been so busy that preparing it has not been the joy that it once was. I will keep reading your blog (and Anne's) as I hope to remedy that soon.