I have run across several articles and posts recently that talk about “hiding” things like vegetables and liver in certain recipes so kids will eat them. Having three children of my own, I realize that some kids are pickier than others, and they all have their particular (and sometime peculiar) likes and dislikes. I guess I am fortunate that all of my children love vegetables and liver, although I can’t help but think that they like these foods because they were exposed to them fairly early in life, with no prejudice, and no one making “yuck” faces at them while they were trying something new (that I may not have liked). I made sure, too, that they tried a variety of new foods whenever the opportunity presented itself.
I can’t say, though, that they always ate food that was good and wholesome. It wasn’t until my oldest was an adult that I (re)discovered what “good and wholesome” food was, and found out that it wasn’t what I had been led to believe for so long.
This topic has made me think back, not just to my kids eating habits growing up, but to my own as a child, and how things changed from my infancy through my adulthood.
I was born in 1964 (I am not ashamed, I look and feel good for my age!), ten years before McGovern’s committee fouled up U.S. nutrition. Before that fateful year of 1974, “we the people” were unafraid of lard and tallow, and eggs were incredible and edible and nutritious. My grandmother often fed me egg yolks for my “baby food.” We had real butter and whole milk (though even then it was pasteurized, although not illegal to buy or sell raw milk). I remember the skin on roasted chicken or turkey being the best, and more times than not I would sneak some skin while the bird was resting before it was carved. We kept a jar of bacon grease in the Frigidaire®, ready to be used for frying eggs, or anything else that required grease with a high smoke point. Meals were made at home, for the most part. “TV Dinners” that were invented in the 1950s were available, but a frozen “pre-fab” dinner was not the norm; those were only occasionally consumed, perhaps once every few months. Soda pops were a treat, not a staple beverage. Pies, cakes, and other baked treats were usually reserved for holidays and special occasions, not an after-every-meal necessity.
I remember my mother telling me when she was young that she would eat butter by the stick, and await the arrival of the milkman so she could drink the cream off the top of the bottle.
Yes, Virginia, there was a time when good, wholesome food was celebrated and eaten without guilt or remorse.
My children didn’t have that advantage, because by the time they were born all of the good food had been demonized, and I bought it, hook, line and sinker. I still have two at home, though, and we’ve established the fact that saturated fat is good for them, and the processed, high carb, sugary stuff is not food. They love liver and onions, heavy cream, real butter, and their veggies. I don’t hide anything, but I don’t hold it against those who do…we have to get our children eating the good stuff somehow, and I know that with the way things stand in our world today it is not an easy task.
I am curious: what are the favorite foods from your childhood that you remember with fondness? Do you remember being drawn to “good, whole foods” as a child, and do you think the era you grew up in had anything to do with your preferences?