So with that I introduce you to Book #30 of 2010 ... Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton.
Seattle dad and food critic Amster-Burton wants his daughter to grow up fearlessly savoring a wide range of appealing foods, something beyond untutored childhood’s bland fodder and ubiquitous processed foods persistently marketed to television-watching adolescents. He believes that developing a child’s taste for uncommon produce, meats, fish, herbs, and spices lies in early exposure to their flavors and being sure that baby sees Mom and Dad relishing a spectrum of victuals. One by one, Amster-Burton debunks widely held opinions about feeding toddlers, such as withholding salt, sushi, or spices. And he’s not averse to cooking with wine or allowing his daughter a tiny sip of beer. Recipes include a number of Mexican favorites, even highly seasoned Thai and Chinese dishes, all designed to be simply and quickly prepared. Any parent frustrated by an offspring’s dismissive “Yuck!” will find some usefully novel approaches here to patient cultivation of adventuresome palates.
I did not pick up this book because I was looking for guidance with feeding my kids or even for the recipes (though a few do look enticing). It just seemed like a quick and interesting read about something I love - FOOD! You'd be hard pressed to find a book about food I didn't want to read (excepting perhaps "1001 Uses for Sheep's Brains").
I absolutely agree with several of Amster-Burton's points - picky kids will not die from lack of nutrition, bland is not best for baby (little babies in Bangladesh are born with the same little taste buds as babies in Milwaukee) and for the love of all that is holy ... dessert is not the devil! He backs a few of his opinions up with some research which is nice if you want to throw the information in someone's face ... say a mother-in-law or know-it-all co-worker. I think when it comes to food a good deal of very well intentioned parents create issues that don't need to be created. Food is to be enjoyed -- so if you aren't enjoying your wheat germ flavored organic gruel chances are your kids aren't either. Food -- you gotta love it!
(And there you have the gospel according to Jenifer.)
Next up (to read, not eat) is ... "Gifted" by Nikita Lalwani.