A Little Food Interlude

There’s a ton of events going on this weekend, so I’ll have that list out in the next post, but meanwhile, in an effort to get out of this posting-late-at-night-when-I’m-super-sleepy mode, I thought that I’d have a little food interlude.

I don’t know if you’ve all seen Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk.  If you haven’t, you’ve probably still heard about his upcoming reality tv show where he’s trying to get people to eat more healthy foods.   One of the publicity points that they’ve been using is that kids don’t even know what good foods are, that they don’t even recognize a vegetable when it’s right in front of them.  Now this wasn’t surprising to me, because I used to run into it all the time when I worked in museum education.

I used to work at a farmhouse in Manhattan, and I’d point to a tomato on a tomato plant and ask the kids what it was and they’d all yell, “APPLES!”  Once I skipped out on work (my boss was okay with it) to take one of the neighborhood kids to the grocery store.  She’d just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and she’d had a half-hour meeting with a nutritionist.  She said that she wasn’t surprised about the diagnosis, because her mom had diabetes as well, but she was depressed because didn’t really understand what to do.  She’d been given a list of foods to eat and she & her mom didn’t know what many of them were, and the nutritionist hadn’t had time to explain.  And then, it was so frustrating because her list of foods included some that she could eat as much as she wanted, so she was excited about those.  I looked, and it listed, for example, cranberries and rhubarb.  So I had to break it to her that most people only ate them when they were cooked with sugar, anyway.  Then another thing she could have plenty of?  Bouillon.   Which is not something that people generally consume as a snack.  Except that Meg would drink it on stormy nights in A Wrinkle in Time.  But, I have to tell you, Meg inspired me to try it, and it is joyless.  And salty.   So we filled a couple of bags with various tasty & healthy snacks and had a little picnic at the museum.  She tried hummus for the first time and said brightly, “It tastes like Spam!”  And I was like, ummm, is that a good thing?  Anyway, before we left, she was talking about her little sister, whom I couldn’t remember, and in the course of her description she described her as “a real chubby girl”  and my heart just sank, because it was only a matter of time before the whole family was diagnosed.

Anyway, my kids generally do pretty well food-wise, but Jamie put a bee in my bonnet.  So as I was making dinner the other day, every time I picked up a vegetable I would quiz them:  do you know the name of this?  Then I’d give little mini-tutorials.  In fact, they were so enthralled to learn that people go into the woods with pigs to sniff out truffles that they both asked if they could try mushrooms again, and J even said that she liked them.  I was so excited, but a minute or two later she decided that she wasn’t  “in the mood” for them, after all.  So much for my moment of triumph.

However, we did have one success:  I’d forgotten how much the girls like frozen veggies straight out of the freezer. As we were cooking they were apologizing for eating too many peas!  I told them I’d let them have as many as they wanted, because I am such a nice mommy.

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