Sunday, February 28, 2010

When You're Here... live like our family does.

My son's friend slept over this weekend. I love the kid but his picky eating and drinking habits are hard to combine with the typical eating my husband and I want do, and they don't mesh with my picky eater kid's stuff too easily either. So food and drink are an issue. (He only drinks Gatorade lemon/lime flavor and that is not an item we consume.)

This morning I remembered (darn) that the boy only eats waffles, pancakes, or a hash made of canned corn beef (that last one his mother told me about, I didn't even know that existed). I don't use processed food waffles or processed food pancakes. I knew he loved bacon so once I made bacon but he refused to eat it which really confused me (I'd not have gone through the trouble if I knew he'd refuse to eat it). The first thing that confused me was he said they don't fry their bacon on the stovetop. It was nitrate-free pork bacon and come to find out he only eats turkey bacon (his mother said it's healthier). After that, I read in one of the "Eat This, Not That" books that turkey bacon is more fattening than pork bacon as they actually have to add fat to the lean turkey meat to it to make it simulate pork bacon and it winds up having more fat in it in the end, but I'm not entering that discussion with her.

Anyhow today I was not in the mood to make pancakes but resolved to do it. I then realized that with my own kids, when we're alone my kids help make the pancakes and in fact fight over who gets to do what. So I asked him if he made pancakes himself, and the answer was no, which I figured he's say he is used to being waited on. Well here in our family it is about teaching our kids and doing things together. I am raising adults here, not raising children to be dependent children when they are an adult age.

So I said, "Everyone come to the kitchen it is time to teach (your friend) how to make pancakes from scratch!"

And so my twelve year old son set to teaching him to make the mix from scratch. I decided the boy should really have an experience so I had him separate the yolks from the whites (with his bare hands, the old fashioned way) and he said it was cool, thank goodness--- I'd feared he may barf or freak out due to the texture of the raw whites and raw yolk in his hands.

They took turns cooking the pancakes on the griddle. I oversaw the process since no matter what we do it the heating is a bit tricky and sometimes the outsides are perfect but the insides are raw.

We added pure maple syrup from a family farm in my mother's hometown in Maine (this boy once said he never had syrup that tasted so good and I realized they probably use artificial syrup in his house).

The visitor said the pancakes tasted fantastic and I think he ate five in total! He had fun doing the entire process too.

Anyway it was a great experience although we were rushing a bit to get it all done and the food eaten before we went to church together.

I have a way of thinking that everyone lives like we do. I forget things like some kids only eat frozen pancakes that came in a box and they've never grilled them or others have only had ones made with Bisquick with that weird taste (that I think Bisquick has). I forget that some kids have never eaten pure maple syrup. I forget that not all kids are learning how to cook and bake. I am sometimes reminded that what I've been doing with my kids since their toddler years (cooking and baking) has not yet been done with some teenaged kids.

I'm not making a judgment what I'm trying to say is it is an odd feeling to realize that how we live here is different. I'm doing what seems to me to be normal (like pure maple syrup and drinking water) or traditional (like making pancakes from scratch) or at least right and good (like homeschooling).

So when you come to stay with us or when you visit you see what life in our family is like, and that may include being asked to pitch in to help make the meal we will share, and if that requires a little cooking lesson in the process, then I, or my children, will be happy to teach you.


Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

I want to come visit your house! :)

bakinchick said...

Liked your story -- we had a somewhat similar experience in that I recently had a three week houseguest -- his parents were traveling overseas. Fortunately we didn't have any food issues, but had to have a couple of discussions about chains of authority (the kid is a born leader - but my kids don't necessarily want to follow all the time *grin*).

You are right in that it is hard not to a) assume people do things reasonably close to how you do and b) judge, or at least comment, on how they *do* choose to do things. That's been a hard thing to teach my children -- to balance the belief that what we do is good and right and yet respect the differences of our friends and family. It is hard to assert that our family’s choice is superior for our family when my kids crave some of the foods/behaviours/etc. they see elsewhere.

A said...

I really like how you turned the situation around!

christinethecurious said...

What a gracious response, cooking with friends is such a different experience from just "having to eat weird food."

I remember the moment I realized my family just didn't eat like my friends did: my Jr High friend looked at the lunch choices in my fridge, then said, "I only eat American Food." She gamely ate the PBJ I made her, but had a hard time: it was on whole wheat bread, with co-op peanut butter that had to be stirred, and home made elderberry jelly.

I didn't know we were different until then, but it seemed cool to me.

-Christine in Massachusetts

Susan Silver Dill said...

Wonderful blog entry, Christine. As I tweeted to you, picky eaters don't last long in my house. We live a lifestyle somewhat similar to you (whole foods, home cooking, homeschooling, etc.) and have run across many friends of my boys who are selective eaters (kind way of saying "picky"). I remember once making PB&J for my boys lunch...whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, grape jelly (homemade from my friend, with NO corn syrup). Their little friend would not touch it. He wanted white bread, Jif, and Welches. He would not even try wheat bread. My son, on the other hand, is picky in reverse. He babysits for a family that only eats white bread... he had me bring him food from home once because he was hungry and they had nothing but processed foods and white bread to eat.

I love that you all cook together. I try to incorporate my boys as much as possible, with ALL chores and cooking.

Have a blessed day!

Crimson Wife said...

Too funny! My DH grew up eating junk food and while I've been able to clean up his diet quite a bit, there are certain things he refuses. Natural peanut butter is one of them. I had to break down and buy "Simply Jif", which at least has real sugar rather than HFCS.

My 7 y.o. just looked over my shoulder and commented, "Bisquick *DOES* have a weird taste." LOL!

Sheila said...

We're so much alike!

We've had kids over for dinner who have never eaten anything from scratch. They live on frozen dinners, chicken fingers, fish sticks, and the like. She didn't know what stew was.

Not only that, but she didn't know what most veggies were. She was okay with cucumber and carrots, but she didn't know what celery was. She tried it, though, and realized she liked it!

We always make pancakes and waffles from scratch, too, because it doesn't take a whole lot more time, it's healthier, and it's a whole lot cheaper. Plus it tastes a ton better! And my kids can do it pretty well without me, so that's a bonus.

One of the best things we can do for kids is to teach them to cook real food from scratch!

Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Vernal Pools said...

A friend once asked me to pick up some waffles at the store (she was sick and I had volunteered.). I had to ask her what she was talking about since I didn't know they sold waffles already made. Bah ha ha - Eggo Waffles in the freezer section. I felt like a dunce but realized that she must have felt silly too.