What is Kid Food?

In the last few weeks, I’ve been pondering the same question. What is kid food, anyway? Several of my friends comment about our adventurous eaters and I’ve been thinking a lot about it. Why do my boys eat like they do? My answer to that is I don’t make “kid food”. Or at least what others consider kid food. I like trying new recipes and I vary the flavors all the time. My boys have been exposed to a lot of different types of food and they are used to trying new things.

It also got me thinking about why our society separates kid food from adult food all the time. Children in Japan eat what they are exposed to and most likely eat a lot of fish, rice, and vegetables, depending on where they live. Would they look at a chicken nugget and find it appetizing? Probably not. Our society somehow has taught children that they should only like peanut butter, chicken nuggets and french fries. I’ve stopped going to certain restaurants because their kids menu contains only “kid food” and won’t let us buy a half order for our son who prefers to eat from the regular menu. Someday I’ll make a list of the restaurants that I consider kid friendly for our family.

So am I judging your family if your children only eat “kid food”? Absolutely not! We have our battles at home on a daily basis. Son #2 is our toughest child to feed. He spent three full years complaining about not being able to bring peanut butter for lunch to Montessori School. Literally, he never gave up after three years. We had some awful struggles finding things he’d agree to eat because of his fixation. Feeding kids is hard and I don’t think there is one answer. Here are some things that help:

1) Make a rule that your child must TRY the food you serve. Emphasize that they are not required to like it, just required to taste it. We all have our own tastes and I don’t like being told what I should like either.

2) Have your children help make the food. I’m convinced that Son #2 loves risotto only because he knows how to make it. He’s proud of his accomplishment.

3) Grow your own food, even if it is just one pot of herbs or tomatoes. We started small with our garden and it gets bigger every year. When kids know where food comes from, they are more willing to try it.

4) Check out The Family Dinner website, which is based off the book by Laurie David. I’m reading the book now and like her suggestions.

 

All this “preaching” brings me to my latest Dark Days Challenge, which was a total failure in my boys’ eyes. Son#1 reluctantly tried it, and Sons #2 and #3 wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Yes, I know I just said it is a rule to try everything, but I give you permission to make an exception. Especially after a holiday week when you are exhausted and ready for school to begin again. I found black turtle beans from Whole Grain Milling and was excited to find locally grown carrots. I was able to use my chicken stock for this recipe, and my only exceptions were the spices. My co-op had local Pepper Jack cheese that I added to the recipe. By the way, it was delicious and I had plenty of leftovers for lunch.

BLACK TURTLE BEAN SOUP
Saute:
1/2 lb. bacon
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. carrots
1 tbsp.minced garlic
1 tsp. bay leaves or 1 whole bay leaf
1 tsp. dry thyme
3 tbsp. ground cumin (Saute only 1 tbsp. now. Save 2 tbsp. for later.)
1/2 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
Saute first four ingredients and add spices. Add water and chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until beans are tender. For a thicker consistency, blend part of the beans with an immersion blender and return to soup. Top bowls of soup with cheese, if desired.
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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Xan said,

    I love this! We also had the rule that you had to at least try it. And our kids were exposed to all kinds of strange foods, since we’re a Chinese-Greek-Polish-Hungarian-Swedish-Middle American family. Now, as adults, they love teaching their friends about these foods that they grew up with.

  2. 2

    […] wanting to try since I seem to have figured out pastry crust. She also has a thoughtful piece on “kid’s food, “ a fraught and brave topic to take on within our poisonous food culture, where kids are somehow […]

  3. 3

    Allison said,

    Amen! I have a 10 month old son and he has never had “baby” food once. He’s tried salmon and steak….chicken & turkey and even homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. He eats what we are eating, appropriate to his age of course. And while I was prego with him, I still ate cheese and fish and all the other things they say not too. My thought was, someone somewhere in another culture eats this all the time and so will I 😉

    BTW, I have those black turtle beans on my garden list this year!

  4. 4

    methylgrace said,

    Nice! I have one eater (my older child) and one non-eater (my youngest), and both have helped with growing and cooking the food. Oh well, 50% ain’t bad!


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