As a food lover, I have always tried to expose my children to different types of food in order to educate their palates. Sometimes I feel that I have failed completely.
In the pre-mother days, I had dreams of cooking everything from scratch – breastfeeding and then after pureeing beets, spinach and asparagus to make homemade baby food. I had dreams of having a separate fridge with only organic and all-natural products to feed the babies. Well, that did not happen; instead it was super-milk from a can and Gerber baby food. And maybe that is the original cause of the current situation.
My little chickens still think junk food is the best food.
We have visited many restaurants, from five star establishments, to hole-in –the-walls, to roadside stands. I have cooked all types of food for them- curries, dishes made with rich coconut milk and saffron, stews made with fresh tomatoes and spiced with enchanted garam masala and ras-el-hanout. When they did not like my food, I took it personally, like an affront to me. I know it’s crazy but that is how I felt and still feel.
They are eighteen and twelve years old now and their favorite thing to eat continues to be chicken nuggets with honey-mustard sauce, much to my dismay.
Some good things have stuck though. My older one makes amazing stir fry’s. They love their grandmother’s food. They like sushi, ceviche and dim sum but now that they are getting older I do find half eaten hamburgers, fried chicken and fries in the back of the fridge, things they order while I am not at home.
When that happens I do despair, wondering if their food experiences have taught them anything, if they can appreciate and tell the difference between food made with love and things assembled in factories and sold as “food”.
Are they victims of the fast food epidemic? Do their taste buds have a future? Are they going to continue stuffing the back of the refrigerator with junk in an attempt to hide the leftovers?
I have hope.
Hope that they will embrace the vibrancy and worth of food prepared from the heart and made with magical and mysterious flavours. Hope that they will grow into wise cooks and learn to feed themselves and others with intelligence.
After all, I am their mother and if the only legacy I leave to them is to appreciate wholesome and scrumptious food and to be adventurous in the kitchen, then that will be good enough for me.