Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dinner With (Bad) Dad Part II: Blue's Story

After reading Dinner with Dad, I sat for a moment and tried to remember what eating dinner was like with my family.

We ate dinner together nearly every night until my sister and I were in high school and started having other obligations; after that it was more of catch-as-catch-can, though we still sat down every night we could and even when we ate at different times there was always something cooked.

I don't believe that my parents ever cooked separate meals for my sister and me. We ate what they ate.

I'm sure I threw a few temper tantrums over food, but at what age did they stop? And how did my parents get me to stop them?

I do remember "you have to eat X number of bites before you can decide to stop" sorts of things. I don't remember yelling.

(I also remember the one day my sister refused flat-out to eat some homemade split-pea soup because she said there were worms in it, and how my parents told her to stop making up stories because it wasn't going to get her out of eating the soup... and of course, then we all found out she was right and there were worms in the split peas. ^__^)

So... since my mother is one of this blog's most devoted readers... Mom, please leave a comment and let us all know how you did it. ^__^


Anonymous said...

I am not really sure how we did it. You two were never spoiled and therefore I think never expected to get your way.

One of the child psych books said that children will do anything for attention. So I tried to always notice the good things that you did so you wouldn't have to do "bad" things for attention.


Blue said...

Thanks! Maybe the "getting your way" thing is the key -- when the NYT ran the article about the book, many parents wrote in to comment on how awful it was that children were eating things "they didn't like." As if the world would end, or the precious self-development of the child would be harmed.

It may also have something to do with the overabundance of choice in contemporary society, particularly in families who spend more time eating out (or microwaving individual entrees, etc.) than cooking, so the children become accustomed to this idea that dinner is something you choose.

Daniel said...

My mother used to make me eat the food she made. Unfortunately, at that time, my palate had not yet advanced to risotto (sp?) and cous cous. I quickly learned how to make my own kraft cheese food and only in my later years have I begun to appreciate better food.

I never threw tantrums, though; it was either I ate what she made, or I had to make something myself. She used to say that the 'restaurant was closed' and if I wanted something, I'd have to make it myself.

Anonymous said...


ooh you hit a nerve! We grew up with the dictum that you ate what was made for lunch/dinner that day - if you liked it, you ate a lot of it, if you didn't, you ate at least a spoonful of it...we weren't given teh option of making anything ourselves, since the cooking was hard-core, no microwaves then in India, plus no-way my mother/grandmother would consider anything we kids could make "real food"! :-)

My kids have the same rule now - no separate cooking for them. I had my children fairly late, and the first I heard of this phenomenon of separate kid-food was when an American friend at work had her baby - for years she cooked separate meals...and I found it unbelievable....and still do, but since then I've found it is almost the norm among American families to have separate kid-meals...seems compounded by restaurants offering kid-specific items.

Like you said, I think the key is that the kids know they have no choice in this matter.


Blue said...

Absolutely, especially since most "kid-food" is abominable. ^__^