Whose blog is this anyway?

The wife seems to be generating as much mail as I am with her muffin post. Here’s a good one from reader and mother Jo-Lee:

Bravo Mrs. Pastry! With regards to the blog entry you wrote about kids and eating. My children (5 and 1) sound exactly the same as yours. I have thought about, and attempted, to sneak in “healthy” ingredients, but it usually backfires. I do much better when I eat vegetables on my own simply because I like them. I don’t offer my son any and then he wonders what he is missing out on! He now absolutely loves sushi as well as most Mexican and Chinese food. It is just a matter of growing into taste I think.

Mrs. Pastry’s response:

Dear Jo-Lee,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I never even thought about oohing and aahing over my own vegetables. (As Joe will tell you, I can’t have dinner without a green veggie on my plate.) And I’m heartened to know that your son now likes a wider variety of foods. A friend of mine, an author of a great book called What Kindergarten Teachers Know, sent me the following information that might be of help to you as well:

“My suggestion for you: Have you tried Mollie Katzen’s cookbooks for children? Our favorite is Salad People, though Pretend Soup is fun as well. (Other great books about feeding children — though not cook books — are by Ellyn Satter. I think her most recent is Your Child’s Weight, Helping Without Harming, though don’t be turned off by the title: the basic idea is that parents are responsible for providing their kids with healthy meals, but the kids are responsible for eating.)”

All the best,

Jo Pastry

Oh for the days when I still had comment fields. Should I just set up a phone call between you two? For what it’s worth though, I have a thought or two on this issue (surprised?). Namely that it seems to me that as a society we’ve become obsessed with the particulars of diet over the broader notion of a “balanced diet”. This is the impulse that’s spawned books like Deceptively Delicious which assumes that inserting a few beneficial inputs every now and again into a child’s diet is more important than teaching that child how to eat well. For a people who are supposedly thinking more and more “holistically” about eating, we’ve instead become obsessed with the minutiae of food. A few beneficial ingredients in an overall unbalanced diet are every bit as ineffectual as a few “bad” ingredients (i.e. a few trans fats or grams of HFCS) are in an overall balanced one. Our grandparents understood that all too well. How have we become so messed up in our thinking?

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