Monday, July 5, 2010

The "Golden Brown" Menu

On the IPOD "Feels Like Home" By: Edwina Hayes

Well first off I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and for those of you who get to take today off...I'm so jealous! I instead am doubling up my day today because I have a doctors appointment right in the middle of the day tomorrow.

I have to go on a rant today and I have to be honest and tell you that the hardest part of my job comes in the form of two requests. The first one I don't even have to explain to you..."Can you make me a really healthy, low fat, low calorie, low sugar version of _____ that tastes exactly like the original????" For the record I'm a chef not a magician! The second one is a tad bit more difficult, "I have three kids ages 6, 8, and 10 and I need you to cook healthy food for them that they will eat because all they will eat is junk!"

Unfortunately this is probably the most difficult... This is not your kids problem... it's yours and if you are smart you will try to change your ways now. We are lazy as a society. Our ancestors fought so hard for us to have freedom of choice but we hardly ever use it. How many times in the last year have you ordered your child a kids meal? I mean you're sitting in a great restaurant with lots of choices but your 5 year old in eating chicken nuggets (that the restaurant brings in frozen), Mac and cheese (that is being sold to the restaurants in premade cups that you just throw in the microwave), or a wonderfully processed hot dog. It is so easy to forget that when we were kids there were by far less options. Most of the time in a restaurant our parents ordered off the regular menu and we either shared with them or with each other.

I was lucky. I grew up in a home where my mom cooked every night. And she didn't cook two meals one for us and one for the adults, it was one meal and we hopefully chose to try it. Kids will never learn to try new foods if we continue to serve them the same foods all day long! They are growing up unaware of what real food looks like. They think it comes in a box with heating instructions! I actually had a child say to me two weeks ago that she only likes the apples that come already sliced in a bag. Are you kidding me? I remember losing teeth in the side of an apple! We are creating a society without taste buds. I have yet to open a freezer and not see some form of chicken nugget whether organic, all natural, or all processed. It is still a chicken nugget!

I remember having large family shabbat dinners on Friday nights. The menu was always the same:
Baked Chicken
Roasted Brisket with carrots and potatoes
Some sort of Green vegetable of the day
And little tiny rolls with poppyseeds on top

The Shabbat dinner I catered last week...the client brought in kids menu from a local restaurant:
Chicken Strips
French Fries
Onion Strings
and pasta with butter

(I saw at least 10 adults eating the kids menu as opposed to the by far healthier and better tasting adult menu)

What is wrong with this picture???? Kids food has turned into it's own food group, "Golden Brown"! I would say the funniest comment I've heard recently is when a child was home from camp one day and she asked me before she left, "Do you think you'll still be cooking when I get home?" My response was, "Most likely, Ive got lots to cook today." She followed up by saying, "Wow, I thought it only took 10 minutes to cook food!"

I'm not trying to be hard on you or even tell you that your child should never eat a chicken nugget again, but I think in general parents are frustrated because they want their kids to be healthier but when kids menus are shoved in your face everyday, and you are tired and stressed out and working too much, it is just easier to order off the "golden brown" menu than it is to argue over broccoli. Unfortunately the difference in generations is that we got chicken nuggets, french fries, and onion rings as a treat. That's why we still get excited sneaking food off the kids table. But for children today it is not a treat, it's just dinner...everyday! So I guess my chef advise is to stop ordering off the kids menu... start allowing your kids to experience real food so that one day when they are on a date thay actually know how to cut their own food and they don't ask for dipping sauce on the side! :)
xoxo chef a

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