When I was a kid, I was a lazy eater. It took me FOREVER to finish a meal. I found eating to be tiring. I needed to take multiple breaks over the course of dinner. At restaurants, I needed to stretch out on two adjoined chairs. And I did NOT like to work at my food. I still remember how my dad would cut up my pizza into bite size chunks whenever we went out to Pizza Hut.
Sounds pretty bad huh? The problem is, we are bringing up a generation of lazy eaters. Kids today drink their food. Kids today require that the crusts of their sandwiches be cut off. Fruit is being stripped of fiber, steeped in sugary juice, and served out of a can rather than being eaten whole with the peel on. Whole chicken is being processed into bite-sized chicken nuggets.
Yes, food should be approachable. Yes, food should be fun. But this lazy eater will be the first to admit that convenient food lends itself to lazy eaters. When I was a kid, I would scour the chicken bucket for chicken legs because they were easy to eat. Breast or thigh? Heck no! That would require a knife and fork!
As foods become more and more processed, whole foods become less recognizable. It is important that kids recognize whole foods so they have a better understanding of where their food comes from. In fact, ignorance of where our food comes from is what Michael Pollan, a prolific journalist and author of Omnivore's Dilemma argues is the fundamental problem with our food system.
The other day we went out to a Peruvian restaurant. They served roasted chicken that was succulent and juicy. Not only did Cassie and I love it, so did the kids! And we weren't the only ones. The restaurant was packed with other families. It was really refreshing to see kids enjoying chicken that wasn't served in a fast food establishment and wasn't shaped like a nugget.
I decided to attempt a version of a Peruvian roasted chicken, which is featured in the following video:
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Here's the link to the recipe I used: http://www.food.com/recipe/el-pollo-restaurant-peruvian-roasted-chicken-231211
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006.