Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kid Food


Pre-foodie revolution, my childhood in the 70s and early 80s was filled with truly terrible food: American cheese toast, creamed chipped beef on toast (my dad's specialty), avocado with mayonnaise (another favorite of my dad's), canned peaches on cottage cheese, canned green beans, spaghetti with meat marinara, baked chicken, hamburgers, kosher hot dogs, mac and cheese with hot dogs, tuna sandwhiches, iceburg lettuce salads with mushy tomatoes and Italian dressing, chicken casseroles. Mostly home made. But high in fat and sodium.

Danny lucked out, Roberta was always health conscious and created a childhood food landscape that was much more evolved. Although Danny says that he didn't appreciate it at the time - a typical meal might include any or all of the following: chicken with panko bread crumbs and plum sauce, turkey burgers, brown rice and tofu.

When I started making my own food as a pre-teen, I was compelled to load garlic butter on everything I ate. Spaghetti with garlic butter and parmesean cheese. I made my own "party mix " with pretzels and chex cereral saturated in hot salty garlic butter. I microwaved garlic butter slathered bagels (this concoction required that I cover the bagel in plastic wrap which melted into the bread). I peeled off the melted plastic, but I'm sure this multiplied my risk of cancer 100x. Sally and I went through a phase where we cooked hamburger patties with a side of canned sliced potatoes (with butter and salt of course). I also ate loads of peanut butter mixed with ice cream or chocolate. It was a miracle I didn't become obese.

So now as a parent, how do I feed my kids? Have I cultivated a international, healthy gourmet palette in my kids? Well international yes, but healthy, no. When we eat out it's easier to feed them. They both like burritos. They like noodles -- udon, pad thai, pad see ew, pho -- that's all good. Elliot used to like aloo matar paneer, but now he'll only eat tandori chicken and naan. Asher loves rice and bread.

But at home we're really a mess. We're rarely on top of it enough to make more than two things for dinner. Trader Joes dominates our refrigerator - fake corn dogs, fake chicken nuggets, quesadillas, baby carrots, pasta and cheese, turkey dogs, chicken noodle soup, string cheese, yogurt. We occassionally make lasagne or enchiladas (which the kids won't eat - Asher claims that he wants to eat the lasagne but then it just sits there). We can't figure out what to feed Asher, he's off meat, off cheese, off eggs, off chicken noodle soup, off pasta (mac and cheese included). He'll eat any fruit, dried or fresh. He'll eat bread. But no protein.

Last night we had an especially ambitious meal: leftover chicken, homemade mac and cheese, french lentils, broccoli with cheddar cheese and bread. Asher ate the bread. Elliot ate the chicken and broccoli (after much coercion), but refused to eat the mac and cheese (it wasn't like Amy's frozen mac and cheese).

Danny thinks its time to go out to eat more. I agree.

1 comment:

jason said...

so ... my suggestion is lasagna but made with veggies. zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomato some cheese, etc.

use the eggplant like noodles. but cut and salt it before using it.

plus, don't stress the food quirks. i wouldn't eat bologna or hot dogs as a kind. now? i like 'em a lot.