Guest Blogger - Georgie Watts from The Window Seat
FOOD & KIDS
I remember being a fussy eater as a child. I didn’t like fish. I am not sure I liked meat, apart from chicken. Anything that wasn’t chicken was sold in as tasting like chicken. Of course I didn’t like vegetables! As a parent now I can see how tricky this must have been for my parents to navigate. And I am grateful to have kids who are not fussy, who enjoy meal times, and who are willing to try most things at least once. My children constantly surprise me with their food choices; my son loves sashimi and sushi, olives and congee. My daughter who is five recently decided to be a vegetarian, but had to abandon her new food philosophy as she loves her dads chicken schnitzels too much!
I am not a nutritionist, but I understand the importance of feeding children real and whole foods. They require fuel to play, grow and learn, and nourishing them with real food helps to establish good eating patterns.
But food is not only nutrition and fuel. Food can be a gateway to learning about other cultures…for instance, not everyone eats with cutlery. In Asia, the Middle East and Africa it is common to eat with the fingers of the right hand (never the left as this is considered disrespectful, and food should never touch the palm of the hand!) in other Asian cultures a spoon and fork are used, and in others chopsticks! In some cultures foods are eaten for breakfast that Western cultures might not consider breakfast foods, such as Vietnamese Pho, though in our house it’s a special breakky treat and also 8 year old Wolfies favourite meal ever, no matter the time of day.
Food is central to creating your own food culture, and history. It is a large part of our social interactions. In this day and age when we are so time poor, coming together at meal times to reconnect, to debrief on our day, and share a meal together is a great way to create ones own food culture. We come together for special meals at times of celebrations and at times of sadness and loss. We associate certain foods with family members and have memories associated with grandparents of meals they once prepared for us. Passing down recipes from generations, and preparing those meals together further adds to an individuals food culture. My mothers chicken soup has always been my favourite. Now I always have chicken stock in the freezer, and though my version is very different to my mothers, it has become a firm favourite with my children.
Food can transport us, as if by magic to other places, and times in our life. We all have those meals on holidays; remember that lime and chilli squid we had at that stall on the side of the highway in Thailand? Or the first time we had steaming hot and fragrant pho in Saigon all those years ago? That pot of mussels and carafe of rose in Marseilles on honeymoon? I do! And if I smell or taste those meals, I’m taken back to those places, if only for a moment. This is true too for my kids, who are just as fond of a South East Asian breakfast buffet as I am! They often remind me of their own food moments, I don’t always remember them as they do.
Travel and food are intrinsically linked for our family…destinations are always considered on their gastronomic merit! What’s the food like, and what will we eat are the questions we ask each other.
It is important to remember that food and the act of preparing it and eating it is about pleasure! There is nothing my daughter loves more than a Saturday gnocchi making and eating session with her dad followed by a slice of brownie they’ve baked together.
What does food mean to you and your family?
Food for thought…!
Follow Georgie's delicious family adventures at THE WINDOW SEAT