Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Fake lettuce and red raisins

I swore never to lie to my children about the food I gave them. Ever.

I remember the restaurant buffet clearly. I was being a total, complete, irritating nudge of an 8-year-old as my mom was trying to fill plates for me, my four-year-old brother and herself.

"What's that?" I'd ask in an irritating voice while pointing at foods I knew perfectly well.

"What's that?" I pointed to carrots.

"Carrots" my mom replied.

"What's that?" I pointed to cucumbers.

"Cucumbers" she said more tersely.

"What's that?" pointing to leafy green things, expecting her to say lettuce.


"Oooo yuck!" I declared. "I HATE spinach!"

"No you don't," she practically snarled, clearly at the end of her rope. "I've been putting it in your salad for years and telling you it was lettuce."

I nearly dropped my plate in horror. My mom lied to me. I felt betrayed, let down.

But I love spinach salad to this day.

Thirty years after that evening in the restaurant, I now have a daughter who will only eat carrots for her vegetable and raisins for her fruit. I take comfort that she eats tomato sauce with pasta and on pizza and just loves guacamole. I'm so desperate I count the jelly in the fruit bars for a serving of fruit. I'm grateful she loves orange juice. Watered down, of course.

So imagine my surprise when she started picking the blueberries and cranberries out of my multi-berry muffin and happily eating them. She called them raisins. I didn't correct her.

I bought dried cranberries at the store and told everyone they were "red" raisins. She bawked at first but now eats her "red" raisins.

So how do I break the news? Hopefully I'll have a few years to continue the tradition of motherly betrayal.

But maybe she'll love craisins well into her 30's.


aimee / greeblemonkey said...

And hopefully the unveiling of the truth won't be so terse, so she won't drop her plate in agony. ;)

Real Life Drama Queen said...

That is a cute story. A bit of a problem on how to break the news. I would wait for a bit. But hopefully she will except it when you tell her.

Fourier Analyst said...

I've been sneaking in "hated" veggies for years in spaghetti sauce. Bless the inventor of the "Stick Puree-er"(direct translation from Dutch and German, don't know what it's called in English!). It is a handy all-purpose chopping device that can be used directly in the pot one is cooking in and will mash up all sorts of offending foods into a smooth mush guaranteed to fool any child. The only comment I have ever had was one time DD1 said in her very suspicious voice "Mom, these tomatoes are really thick". I just agreed with her and promised to add more water next time. Ah, the fibs we tell for our children's benefit...

Goofball said...

breaking the news??? eum she can read this post one day :p.

I don't think my mom fooled me in the past (unless she still has to break the news to me), and I always had to try everything a little bit anyway even if those 2 bites costed me 2 hours of time to swallow. I couldn't get much pity on her side. Her strategy didn't teach me to learn to appreciate everything though. Fortunately I am an adult know deciding on my own menu choice.
I am wondering though: do you give your children the veggies or food in general that you don't like yourself? How can they learn to eat something if they never do you force yourself then to eat the hated items ???

I love spinach salad so much more than normal lettuce. i always add 2-3 spoons of cranberries to it, chuncks of a freshly cut apple, a spoon of mayonnaise and then I top the salad off with slices of parmazan cheese. Yummmie!

anno said...

I presented broccoli to my daughter as broccoli trees. Intrigued, she ate them. Thirteen years later, broccoli is still one of the few vegetables she will eat (no fruit -- icky texture), although she rolls her eyes if I mention trees.

By the time your daughter learns that her red raisins are really cranberries, she'll probably be ready to hear it. It will be fine.

I love this story, btw.

Gunfighter said...


Everyone (or nearly everyone) lies to their children at one point or another, SMID.

Either you lie about food... or why the dog didn't come back from the Vet's office with you.

"Red RaisinS" Hahahahahahaha!

jennifer said...

Oh the things I have snuck into my children's stomachs! Your daughter will probably love this story when she is older, and feel even more loved for it!

Jen said...

Oh my gosh... this is such a conundrum! My DS asks what's in stuff all the time and then refuses to eat it. But I also really don't like lying to a 14-year-old. I do sneak stuff in, but if he asks, I tell him. But I wish I'd taken your route, lol. Now I'm STUCK!

Jami said...

Just last night we were talking about heating up some (store-bought, but they make it fresh) broccoli-cheese soup to go with supper. My daughter, who loves cheese but hates broccoli, didn't hear what kind of soup and asked what we were talking about. Simultaneously and with no previous preparation, we both said, "Cheese soup ... with just a few green things in it. You know how much you like cheese!" Technically, we weren't lying, just not telling the WHOLE truth. That's just what you have to do with kids sometimes.

...and she didn't have any soup.

Flower Child said...

We ate everything as kids - spinach pasta, escargot, liverwurst, frog legs. There wasn't a food we didn't like as long as we tried it once. Not eating something was never an option - you got one vegetable you could veto and that was it. I'm amazed today to see kids I know who "don't like" mashed potatoes (having never tried them) or who only eat hot dogs that come from a can (with a side of BBQ chips of course). Scary.

Amy Barry said...

Nah - that's not lying. They are raisins! Just cranberry raisins as opposed to grape raisins! Can't she have different "flavored" raisins? We have different flavored fruit roll ups right? ;)

And as far as sneaking extra veggies pureed into sauce, do you disclose the entire ingredient list of the sauce when asked? No! It is merely spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, etc. Why the need to mention there is spinach or carrots pureed in if you don't mention the oregano, parmesan, etc,?
Nope! Not lying!