Thankfully, my children are young. I haven’t yet had to fight them over food because they’ll gladly eat just about anything I put in front of them.
And, thanks to clever, nifty, and fun ideas in cookbooks like, my kids are happy eating Real Food.
I don’t know how much longer it will last. They will visit friends’ houses. They will be served libations of fructose-heavy soda pop. Their friends will gorge on donuts and candy, corn dogs and fish sticks.
That said, all is not lost. I’ve not given up before I’ve begun. I am heartened by this story from the mother of a seven year old girl who begged to go to Dunkin’ Donuts, just to see what her friends were fussing about.
Merrie ate her donut. At the first taste of sugar, her eyes rolled back in her head happily. “Mmm…” she said, grinning. She gobbled the first several bites.
Then, about halfway through her donut, she slowed down. She looked up at me and surprised me by saying, “Maybe this isn’t the right Dunkin’ Donuts. Maybe other ones are better.”
“You don’t like your donut?”
“Well, I do. I just thought it would be….better. Maybe other Dunkin’ Donuts are better.”
“Actually, they’re all the same,” I said. “That’s the whole idea of chain restaurants. They have the exact same food, everywhere you go. It’s all prepared the same way, too. Everything about the place is the same — the menu, the colors of the tables, the uniforms that the employees wear, all of it. The food isn’t special, but it tastes the same everywhere.”
She thought about that for a moment, and then asked, “Then why do people like it? I mean, Grandma J. eats here all the time.”
“Well, some people — like Grandma J. — find sameness comforting. It makes them nervous to try new things. They feel safe when they know exactly what they’ll order, and what it will taste like, no matter whether they’re in Florida, or California…”
“…or Vermont,” she finished.
“Right.” I said. “But me? I like when things are different. I like that the cheese from Cricket Creek Farm tastes different from cheese that we find anywhere else. I like eating kale one day, and squash the next day. And if I go to a restaurant, I’d prefer one that isn’t quite like any other, so that everything we see and smell and taste and hear is a little different from what we’d find anywhere else. Then the whole experience becomes a kind of adventure.”
She nodded. “Yeah, I like adventures.”
Go and read the whole thing. It’s amazingly insightful.