Monday, October 28, 2013

Food (Network) For Thought

Tonight's cocktail is a glass of Zinfandel, in honor of the chill in the air today. Winter is coming, yo.

Photobomb courtesy of Magnus the cat.
First, this post is not in any way sponsored or condoned by the Food Network. I mean, if they wanted to shove money or chocolate or Bobby Flay down my yoga pants, I'd totally take it, but I haven't broken into that level of blogging. I'm doing this for LOVE, people. And therapy. But mostly love.

Over the summer, my kids developed a weird obsession with the Food Network. I was working out on my stationary bike (it's not just for laundry anymore), and I needed something to distract me, but if there is a screen on in my house, my kids gravitate towards it. Despite the fact that I find this behavior disturbingly zombie-like, I didn't want to traumatize them with The Walking Dead, so Food Network it was.

It started with Chopped. Then Restaurant Impossible, The Great Food Truck Race, and Food Network Star. Now my kids can name at least a dozen celebrity chefs and their specialties. Take THAT, you people-who-prep-your-kids-for-the-CogAT.

I only ask that they not start referring to Giada as "Mommy."
Photo courtesy of Food Network
I had hoped all of this exposure would encourage my kids to be more adventurous about food, and for Tink it did work. She's now eating a variety of vegetables on a regular basis and has started liking sushi, of all things. But Tweak? Not so much. The kid is a total food racist, in that he will only eat things that are white. There are nights when I would rather spork myself in the eye than prepare food for him, because he finds something wrong with everyfreakingthing: too mushy, too crunchy, not cheesy enough, too cheesy, has a microscopic brown spot, too hot, too cold, too spicy, too bland. He hardly ever eats meat, even bacon. Recently he announced that apples and bananas make him queasy. I know this is spectrum behavior, but still. I. Give. Up.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're gearing up your lecture about how I shouldn't prepare a separate meal for him or let him go get a piece of cheese out of the fridge if he doesn't like what's on his plate. Hey, I agree completely, in theory. This was one of those things I said I would NEVER do when I had kids. In reality, though, instead of looking forward to seeing my kids after working all day, I was dreading it because dinner was such a miserable experience with the whining, the WHINING, oh-God-please-not the whining. I just couldn't do it anymore. That said, if you think you can change things in my house, please, come on over. I'll pour the drinks and take bets on how soon you'll be running from my house in tears. It'll be fun.

Beyond food experimentation, I do think that Food Network has something to teach kids other than Not Bothering Mommy While She Works Out Her Aggression Through Exercise So She Can Be a Nicer Person. Here's what I came up with.
  • If you want to be good at something, you have to work really hard.
  • Sometimes you just have to work with what you have, even if it's some animal organ you never considered eating.
  • Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  • Don't be a sore loser.
  • Don't be a sore winner.
  • Disappointment won't kill you.
  • Neither will criticism.
  • Mistakes are great learning opportunities.
That's a heck of a lot more than they ever learned from any other TV shows (suck it, Elmo). Now if only one of my kids will learn how to cook gourmet meals so I don't have to do it anymore, I'll be set.

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