This is something that has been weighing a lot on my mind lately...I am really bothered by the presumption that some (not. all. and I mean that) childless people who consider themselves to be "foodies," "gourmets," or "gourmands" have that those of us who try to raise kids to appreciate good food are insincere impostors. Or that we use our interest in cooking and appreciating all varieties of food as a "status symbol for the 'urban sophisticate.'" I know it shouldn't bother me, and, honestly, I'm not losing sleep over it, but it grates nonetheless.
I recently addressed this in a post on Strollerderby, a blog for which I am paid to write.
I read lots of food blogs because well before having kids I loved and appreciated cooking and eating delicious meals, and that love didn't die the minute I squeezed my children from my loins. Many of the food blogs I stumble across happen to be written by people that don't have kids, and I am just blown away that so many food bloggers (again, not. all. because I know I am going to get shit for it since nothing riles up the interwebs like breeders on a tear) presume that children eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for every meal, or worse, should eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for every meal saving the good stuff for the adults. Or if they do see children gobbling up nigiri sushi topped with flying fish roe and quail eggs (my kid), they titter, "Oooh, how quaint." (Would they say that to a Japanese kid?)
I have never understood why there is a difference between "adult food" and "kids food" and never will. You don't see kids' menus at most ethnic restaurants or in other countries, why has that been engrained as "okay" in American culture?
For many parents like me, it's not about being competitive or au courant, it's about continuing a tradition of eating. My taste buds didn't get switched on the moment I was 18 and went off to college to experience "the mysterious Indian food" with my dorm friends. I grew up eating sushi, caviar, spicy Korean, and sublime Chinese food etc. because my parents had no issues or hang-ups about food and felt it was natural to expose us to the things they enjoyed eating.
I think the way I was raised makes me damn lucky. If my palate is even the slightest bit refined (by whose standards, I don't know), it's my parents that get the credit. They taught us to appreciate the best foods by cooking well and taking us to white tablecloth restaurants and expecting us to behave. Or else.
When I moved from Rome then to Hawaii and then on to California as a junior high schooler in the early 80's, I went to school with kids who, for the most part, weren't like me. How could someone my age have never tasted abalone or prosciutto? It was incredible to me. Again, "me" being the product of my parents' house.
By the way, I don't have a huge problem with foods that come from cans or boxes, not at all. I prefer not to make all my meals that way, but there is a time and place for convenience. The worst kind of food snob in my opinion is someone who poo-poos the occasional convenience meal. Those kind of food snobs can pretend to be anything they want on their blogs and/or in front of their friends, because they'll never write about their secret love of Ranch Doritos or margarine or Slim Jims or whatever their junk food weakness is. I don't trust those people because everyone has a weakness. Everyone. I am a huge fan of Zatarain's mixes, Barbara's Potato flakes, frozen pot stickers, and Maneschewitz Matzo Balls. We parents are busy, some nights we take short cuts. It no wonder that ads for things that come in boxes and cans are targeted at us. Do we have to rely on them every night? I hope not. I started this food blog to show parents that quick and tasty meals could be prepared just as quickly as opening a box or can.
So that's my rant for now. I so enjoy reading the food blogs written by the childless—they get to travel to fun places, go to the best restaurants, and throw the best parties. They can shop farmer's markets or specialty grocer's in peace, taking time to savor everything. I just hope that the next time they see a parent next to them in line at the cheese shop or Asian market they view us for what we are doing: continuing a tradition for choosing, cooking, appreciating, and eating really delicious foods, and not as some pretentious novelty act.