One of the major differences I noted when living in France and Italy, food culture nations, is how the public before purchasing food to be consumed, often questioned what is in it? How it was made? Who made it? When was it made? Where was it made? This is not common practice in America or maybe it would be if babies could talk.
In Europe children often shop when possible with their parents and gain an understanding of products, pricing and the history of the item which are important factors that could help children seek quality in their choices.
In many foreign homes children are in the kitchen observing and often working together to help prepare foods with family members. This can be beneficial in many ways. The kitchen should be the center of home life. Cooking teaches children civility, table manners, what is in the food, as well as practical skills to use later in life. Households that have lost the soul of cooking miss out on the thrill of all senses in play to enjoy a daily necessity as it becomes a daily pleasure. How often does one smell anything appetizing in a fast-food establishment or a school cafeteria that outsources other than that familiar smell of reheated frying oil?
Kids can learn to cook real food, not just cookies.
Cousins making sushi for their parents.
Mom said if you like to eat them, lets learn to clean them. After cleaning it was time to cook those creatures, tentacles and all. For the first time the boys even ate the tentacles they cleaned.
A child exposed to traditional foods that are made to satisfy and not just stimulate, may be a child less affected by the billions spent advertising small amounts of poison to add to appearance, prevent putrefaction, and be disguised as nourishment.
I realize the time factor and other priorities leave little time for children to experience preparing foods in the family kitchen. But there is a lot to be learned and shared if one could find the time, even if on a weekend day. It has been proven that children that have this experience, as do many ethnic societies, are more apt to seek quality with a better understanding of foods and less likely to be tempted by fast food establishments. I believe that the road to healthier nation is the family meal and table. With food culture at home, children are most likely to make better choices of food when out of the home.
Unfortunately our lifestyle in America has created kind of a hostile environment for food and nutrition with an excess of ready calories available and unfavorable choices made when genuine foods are not a priority or not available. To quote Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, who coined the word “nutritarian,” referring to food choices stated, “The American diet could not be more effective in generating heart disease if we designed it for that purpose.” How sad In America that also time in the kitchen does not seem to be a priority. Besides the benefits of having quality time preparing foods together, it can be a most enlightening experience for family bonding and a healthier diet. Just remember to also have fun in the kitchen. That always brings everyone back into the kitchen, the heart of the home.
With the arrival of family members joining me in Italy for the summer, I shall retire from blogging until September.
I would appreciate hearing from my readers as to which of the three subject matters they prefer: 1 artisans ( an educational subject matter); 2. fun at the villa (true international humorous experiences) or 3. Convivio ( a family legacy of an Italian-American’s experience comparing table life).
WISHING ALL MY READERS A HEALTHY AND FUN SUMMER