Friday, May 12, 2006

Gargling Ketchup

These substances were never meant to be drunk. Gulped, guzzled or gargled, they miss their intended use. On the list of "Things-I-Never-Thought-I'd-Say", is the frequent injunction to my children (namely those of the male persuasion), "It's a condiment, not a beverage".

I have never been a stickler for the purist mentality in feeding small children. If it takes some ketchup to get it down, so be it. I count it a small price to pay for children who eat green vegetables. Granted, it was necessary with the canned variety of slimy green goo spinach, but my own mother taught us to put mayonnaise on our spinach. I don't have a problem with that. To each, his own, eh?

If I were to confess (which I am not), I would readily acknowledge that in my junk food days I regarded a potato chip as simply a crunchy vehicle to load with dip. With the quantities of dip to which I was accustomed, it mattered little if the vehicle were a dry leaf, a credit card, or a four-month-old french fry from the crevices between the car seats. (Don't act like you don't have those.) It simply wasn't about the vehicle.

Even considering my past eating habits, I truly don't believe that condiments were quite as much a staple of my diet as they are for my children. Especially in school, I never ate ketchup. It was too much fun to save the packets for middle school pranks like lining them up in the road in hopes of getting splattered by passing cars. I do remember the kid who ate a full cup of mayonnaise on his french fries every day. As gross as it was to watch, we agreed that it was better than school food.

So, when my children pile high the condiments, I encourage moderation, set some reasonable limits (a tablespoon of ketchup per fry is too much), and am glad that they are eating healthily underneath it all (homemade french fries baked in organic virgin coconut oil). Sure, there are times I cringe, and even feel my own throat being cauterized by the flood of vinegar consumed when my eight-year old son eats collard greens. But he's eating collard greens. There is something to be said for that.

Something along the lines of, "It's a condiment, not a beverage".

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