Feeding my family well is a calling handed down to me from my mother, and while I will never, ever torture the boys with liver (gaag) or...wait for it...cow's tongue, we* have worked hard to train them to eat darn near everything.
(I will now take a moment to brag, because I have earned it.)
The boys will eat:
- Every fruit and vegetable known to man. The Monkey will whine about broccoli, and without fail mention that Grandpa Mel doesn't have to eat it (thanks, Dad), but then he will eat it. Bubba could live without tomatoes, but he will eat them. Moose, Moose eats.
- Fish, and all manner of fishy things (some of which I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole).
- Foods from many cultures (including, but not limited to): Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Cajun, Indian.
- Weird fried and boiled things from Bayou country (that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole).
- Tofu (but only if nobody says the word tofu).
Now that they're older and capable of feeding themselves, I have noticed that despite all our efforts, they lean toward refined carbs, fast food, and sugared junk. Instead of freaking out, we say things like, "Hey, eat it while you can," and "Hmm, maybe your food choices have contributed to your feeling lousy."
My prayer is that with food, as with the foundational lessons of faith and family and manhood and character, they will do the searching and testing, rebelling and breaking up with us that are necessary ingredients in the recipe for growing into their own people. When they've done that, and we've survived it (hallelujah, amen), they'll realize that while they need to do it in their own way, the things we've taught them are inherently good, and worth retaining.
For now, I'll make that weekly trip to the dreaded commissary. I'll spend hundreds of dollars on fresh Bing cherries to snack on, mangoes for homemade sorbet, Nappa and red cabbage for coleslaw, tomatoes and jalapeños and cilantro for fresh salsa. I'll bake from scratch instead of buying pre-packaged and continue to listen to their half-hearted whining at the spinach I sneak into darn near everything.
I'll turn my head and bite my tongue when the child of my womb walks in, as I'm dicing and slicing and chopping and prepping this labor of love, and proudly announces that he has spent his very own hard-earned money on this:
*By we, I mean the collective parents. Training the boys to eat well has been hard work, and has been accomplished through the blood, sweat, and tears of many people.
Karen is a freelance writer and speaker. You can follow her on Twitter at @karenklasi.
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