...All over the First World, children who have been picky, fussy eaters are being told, "Well, that's what we've got, so eat it or go hungry."
I take this with the slightly malicious glee of a spinster aunt, reminded of my mother's story of staying with one of her much-older sisters for a couple of weeks one summer. This would have been some time between 1938 and 1941; Mom was grade-school age and her sister was out of college, working, and not yet married.
Times were hard, money was tight, and if you think the wage differential between men and women is significant now, it was far more so then. Mom was the very youngest, and accustomed to having her own way. Her sister lived in a small apartment, downtown in a fair-to-middling southern Indiana city
One day, lunch was chicken noodle soup, bread and butter, and milk. Mom had decided after a few spoonfuls that the soup was not to her liking. She ate her bread, drank about half her milk, and looked around, complaining that she was hungry.
"Well, then, finish your soup."
"I see." A streetcar bell clanged outside the window. "Oh, there's the trolley! Go have a look!"
Thrilled as only a child can be by such a connection to the wider world, Mom rushed over to the window and watched as the trolley car stopped, passengers got off and other got on, and the motorman dinged the bell and sent it trundling away away.
Her sister said, "Come back and have your milk, and you can go play."
Mom returned to the table, picked up her suddenly-full milk glass, and chugged it -- realizing, too late, that the glass was now half-milk, half chicken noodle soup. Raised too polite to spit it out, she finished her "milk," and took the lesson to heart -- or at least well enough to heart that when she had children of her own, she made sure we knew what might happen.
My siblings and I all learned to finish our soup.
Perhaps a new generation of children is learning to eat what's set before them -- a lesson that may have wider implications than just at mealtime.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
6 months ago