Pineapple is my favourite apple

Snack times are fun. More fun for the kids than parents for sure, but an exciting time for both. It does bring out some interesting ideas about food from the kids as they explore the taste and textures of a seemingly routine food. Especially at an age when they learn to talk and make social conversations at dinner times, their culinary imagination stirs up an appetite of a different kind.

I have mostly relished the dinner table discussions at my table and, of course, the high chair, successfully holding off my cleaning-related anxiety until later. The ‘sluuuurrp’ of spaghetti reminds my pre-schooler of a snake as he struggles to take it all in. Thankfully, my tot still thinks of it as a finger food and unleashes his fondness without a care.

Pizza toppings are a pet kitchen art project. It starts with popping and chopping the peppers, in mega blocks of all sizes. It is followed by sprinkling all of the veggies, including the peppers, lavishly onto the pizza base and further dumping chunks of mozzarella on the top. It is a daunting task to control the toppings with two assertive kids on chairs standing on both sides. The attempt is to make a very colourful pizza. I usually split the toppings into half and keep the rest for later. Obviously, when no one is watching. Eventually, it all goes in the oven, where it slowly cooks under the watchful eyes of my kids. Even my toddler keeps coming back to confirm if it is ready. Feasting on the delicacy is another story with the title “When ketchup meets pizza”.

During one such meal times my 4-year-old said, “Pineapple is my favourite apple”. That was just a couple of days after he declared, “Potatoes grow on trees”. And it immediately rang a bell. A very recent UK study showed that many of the nation’s youngsters believed that cheese comes from plants, fish fingers are made of chicken and tomatoes grow underground. The good news is that they are not alone. The bad news is that it is a deeper issue.

The confusion about origins of food is more common than thought. A significant proportion of school goers, both young and older, believed that strawberry jam counted towards daily fruit and veg intake. It might have to do with how sneaky companies are towards labelling ingredients but it also has to do with how our kids might be getting fewer chances to interact with the botanical aspect of everyday life. How the food lands on our dinner plate has more to do with supermarkets than the rather traditional growing and cooking aspect of it.

As a parent I can try and educate my kids about the sources of food, how they grow and where we get them from. And, since summers have arrived, I also plan to use the opportunity to try and grow some simple veggies in my backyard. I was thinking of starting with tomatoes, beans and a couple of fairly straightforward ones. It will be my first time sowing seeds to see something grow. So we are all very excited to dig up the earth behind us. We have got our gloves and spades ready and our fingers crossed.
Because I won’t be pleased if they tell me that chocolate falls from the sky.

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