Earlier this week, I started writing my weekly post. I’d recently found a site of “kid-friendly recipes” and the idea kinda grated on me. “My kid is not an alien whose peculiar tastes must be appeased,” my first draft said. “I would no more write a post on kid-friendly recipes as I would write one on husband-friendly recipes, or second-cousin-friendly recipes.”
I admit, some of this post â€” maybe even a lot of it â€” was going to be me tooting my own horn over how I’ve cultivated a kid who prides herself on the range of foods she likes; she’ll gladly tell you all about the foods she hated â€” when she was “a little dude” â€” that she now loves.
However, yesterday, my husband asked, “Hey, did you see this article in The New York Times about kids and food?” I admitted I had not and sat down to read These Kids Never Say â€˜Yech!’
The more I read, the angrier I became. Until finally I got to…
Mr. Yeomans wrote proudly about giving his daughter, Zelda, 1, steak at 8 months.
…at which point, I blurted out, “What kind of asshole prides themselves on feeding an eight-month old baby steak?!“
I got up, stormed around in disgust for a little while, and then sat back down and scrapped my post, not wanting my post â€” my kid â€” being thought of as part of this “gastrokid” business.
For those of you without kids, let me tell you: with the one exception of your kids spontaneously telling you they love you, nothing is as sweet as when your kids love something you share with them: a family traditions, a movie, a food, whatever.
However, if, like Eric Ripert, the chef at Le Bernardin, you are giving your child a burger “medium-rare â€” the only way real food snobs will eat it” (and making your child sick as a result), I don’t care what your intentions are, you have just crossed past sharing something you love with your kid into forcing your wants onto your kids at their cost.
I’m not going use this post to dole out my personal parenting philosophy, but I will say this: my kid isn’t a lump of clay to be formed into my own image. She’s a person. A small, illogical, and very inexperienced person, but a person nonetheless, with her own tastes and preferences.
And that’s what really irritates me about this whole gastrokid thing.
Exposing your kids to food means exposing them to all foods â€” not just foods that meet with some “badge of urban sophisticate honor” criteria you approve of. I made a decision when my kid was a baby to trust her to make her own choices whenever possible: what she wears, what she watches on TV, and yes, what she eats.
Does this mean she always chooses the foods I would want her to pick? Of course not. But it doesn’t mean she lives on pizza and ice cream, either. Because we’ve never set up a Good Food vs. Forbidden Food dichotomy, she’s not obligated to stuff herself with less-healthy foods whenever she gets the opportunity. She understands there’s Food That Makes You Grow and Food That Doesn’t Make You Grow â€” because what kid doesn’t want to grow bigger? â€” and although I sometimes intervene on the behalf of Food That Makes You Grow, on the whole, she strikes a healthy balance between the two.
And, believe it or not, so-called “gastroparents”: she somehow learned this all without the help of some $40-a-session “Mini Chef” lesson. So, we’ll see how this whole gastrokid crap shakes out in twenty years when your kids, now young adults away from your watchful eye, making their own decisions, are now gorging themselves on all the tasty, forbidden McDonalds and Kraft Mac & Cheese you denied them all those years…
As always, for more snarky remarks from me, visit my blog at http://gezellig-girl.com.