There Is No Love In That Food

“Even though the food is bad, I really like McDonald’s,” my son explained.

“Why is that, son?” my husband asked. He expected to hear something about indoor play places or ice cream. Instead, my soon-to-be five year old continued, “Well, I think it’s special.”

“But they’re not special,” I interrupted. “Every McDonald’s is exactly the same. They all look the same, make the same foods. There is nothing special or unique about them.”

“The really special food is the food Mommy cooks for you,” my husband contributed.

“What makes it special?”

“All the love that goes into it. The food Mommy makes is full of love every step of the way — from the way the vegetables and animals were cared for and raised, to the way the animals were killed and turned into meats, to the way Mommy bought them and turned them into meals. But the food at McDonald’s, there’s no love in that food.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, maybe there’s love in the heart of the person buying it for you, like Granna or Grandad. But there’s no love in how the animals were raised or how the food was prepared.”

“What happens if there’s no love in the food? Can you eat it?”

“Well, you can eat it. But if all you ever ate was food without love, a little piece of you would die. You’d suffer in a world with just a little bit less love in it, and that’d be sad.”

“I don’t want to be sad.”

“Neither do I.”

(photo by libraryman)


  1. Hortense says

    Wow, telling a kid “a little piece of you would die?” Do you think a 4 year old has the reasoning skills to understand that?

  2. says

    Hortense — That depends on the 4 year old. An inquisitive 4 year old (who will be 5 in a few weeks) as exposed to poetry, piety, and metaphor as mine? Definitely.

    Mrs. Not the Jet Set — Right. You can only tell them the same answer so many times before you start to feel like a broken record. I’m so thankful that my husband is good at looking at things from a slightly different point of view.

    Local Nourishment — Life is full of teachable moments!!

  3. says

    Hortense — I’m sorry you find our parenting style stupid. To each his own.

    Green Bean — I thought so, too.

    Parousia — Yes, that’s kinda the point. If we really believe that all of creation is shot through with the presence of God, then it ought to affect how we live. And it would make even the smallest of things (like our food choices) rich with meaning and substance.

  4. Lauren Grosz says

    Kristen, what a great story. My daughter is now 8 but she definitely could have handled that explanation at your son’s age. Today, we wanted to go to our local Gelato shop for a treat. They use real cane sugar instead of HFCS. Unfortunately, they were closed and as she was really looking forward to it so I suggested Ben n Jerry’s even though they do use HFCS. This time I was willing to make a concession but she suggested the cupcake shop because she wanted to spend our money at place that uses real ingredients – butter, cream, and eggs!

  5. says

    My three-year-old screamed with delight as we passed the establishment today and I couldn’t find the right words to explain why we don’t eat there. Aside from telling her that it’s junk food. This was a very timely post and I will use this the next time it comes up! Thank you!
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..We’re All Going to the Dentist! =-.

  6. debbie says


    I love when those moments result in such priceless explanations. Please thank your husband for sharing his wisdom, not just with your son, but with all of us.

  7. says

    I would have seized the moment not only to indoctrinate my child on healthy eating (as I did shamelessly) but also to do some market research.

    Why do children find McDonald’s so attractive? The bright colours, familiarity, TV ads…WHAT?I wanna know!

    Just to add: My wholefood-indoctrinated kids had, naturally, a rebellious junk-food period when they were teenagers.

    However as they got older – and more importantly on their own account – they discovered the benefits of healthy eating. Now they are organic-fanatics themselves!
    .-= Elisabeth´s last blog ..Hemp porridge knowledge =-.

  8. says

    elizabeth- i wasraised/”indoctrinated”on real food and did rebel a bit as a teen when i had my own money and could buy candy bars whenever i wanted. but overall, i have always enjoyed, and chosen realfood, and now raise my kids eating real food. ive also always been adventerous with food and attribute this to my parents serving lots of varried, real food to me as a kid.
    .-= emily´s last blog ..The Real Food of Summer: veggies and butter! =-.

  9. says

    My son is an unapologetic meat-eater. He knows fully well where meat comes from and has no problem with it. I was a vegetarian for about 5 years (most of his almost 6 year old life) and he knows why. I recently started eating meat again, but only local, humanely raised, etc. I have explained this to both of my kids and they really seem to get it. However, we do eat fast food and eat at restaurants occasionally (trying to cut down on that for many reasons), so I am waiting for them to decide that they do not want to eat meat at fast food places. I’m not sure it will happen, but it is their choice and I can at least give them an awareness of where that food comes from.

    I do love the idea that the food we make at home is made with love. That is so true! Even when I buy things at the store, I am thinking of my family and their health, so even those choices are made with love, which is more than any fast food place can say.
    .-= Jennifer T. (hippygirl)´s last blog ..Homemade food =-.

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