CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC
Music – “What’s to Eat?” from I Am Just a Kid: Songs for Kids + Parents by Rod Owens. Released: 2007.
Among my cookbooks, I have several catering to the care and nurturing of children, through food. “Food & Fun for Daughter and Son“, by Lila Erminger and Marjorie Hopkins, was published in 1946 and has chapters including “Timely Tips”, “The Careful Parent” and “Daily Dietary Pattern”.
In their book, the authors point out that one should “Never serve meals carelessly – they should look, smell and taste good“.
In addition, they also suggest that “For the sake of novelty eat in new places about the house“.
The authors note that “Children should be taught to eat everything...”
Of course, it goes without saying that “…a taste for new dishes may need cultivating” and don’t forget that one should occasionally allow a child “…to dress as he pleases for supper and pretend it is a special event”
The authors also stress that “…table manners should be taught at an early age to avoid embarrassment…”
It is wise to prohibit a youngster from blunting his or her appetite by stuffing bread or crackers into the mouth before the main meal.
The authors go to great lengths to outline foods and the minerals they contain, suggesting that the child’s diet should include them. For example, clams are high in calcium.
Jennie Burdick, author of “What Shall we Have to Eat?”, published in 1922, suggests that it would be a good thing “….if all food could be locked up in the intervals (between meals) so that no one would be tempted“.
Irma Rombauer, in addition to her famous “Joy of Cooking”, also authored “A Cookbook for Girls and Boys“, first published in 1946. Irma takes a novel approach in attempting to teach children how to cook, by relating lively stories along with the recipes.
Before the children can learn to cook eggs, they are regaled with Irma’s story about chickens and eggs:
“I was once motoring with three friends along an Illinois highway. A hen started to cross the road, hesitated, stopped, then changed its mind and made a fatal dash. Our car struck it amidships and we proceeded on our way through a light flurry of feathers.
When we stopped for oil shortly after this roadside tragedy, the gas-station attendant asked in surprise: “What is this you have on your radiator?” What indeed! A fried egg! However, I recommend a less complicated method for everyday use…”
Now, I don’t know about children in 1946, old enough to read and use Irma’s cookbook, but I have my doubts that they will be enthusiastic about her advice on the amounts of meats to purchase if planning a meal for the rest of the family. In my youth, although I learned to cook, I never had any desire to prepare liver, heart, kidneys, brains and sweetbreads to serve to my family (and I still don’t!), however, Irma seems to think that girls and boys would be amenable to these fine dishes (not). Find me a child today, who can cook “Shrimp in Creole Sauce” or “Scalloped Oysters“, if they were even affordable.
We all know by now that fast food is detrimental to growing children and is associated with obesity, diabetes, allergies and a host of other nasty things. So, parents, if you want your children to grow up to be healthy adults, start’em off early. Replace the burgers with a plateful of clams. Ditch the white bread for farina biscuits heaped with fried liver. Hide the candy and bring on the stewed prunes. And, for goodness sake, don’t forget to lock the refrigerator!