Daddy The Garbage Disposal
Aug. 29, 2012 12:09 pm
Updated: Sep. 1, 2012 8:10 am
Got a little more than a handful of dusty cereal down at the bottom of an old cereal box that is clogging up your pantry shelf ? Have no fear, The Garbage Disposal will finish it for you. Two end pieces
of bread that are sure to turn moldy before the kids will ever eat them in a twisted up bag at the bottom of the bread drawer ? Have no fear, The Garbage Disposal will make a sandwich out of them despite the fact that it doesn’t like the end pieces any more
than the kids do. Scraps of scrambled eggs left on a breakfast plate that somehow didn’t get into the dishwasher from the kitchen counter ? Have no fear, The Garbage Disposal will scoop that right up. It’s not a glamorous job but somebody has to do it and
in our house, that job falls to me more often than not. The reason I bring this up is that the other day the New York Times had an article by Matt Richtel called “Drop The Pasta, Dad, and No One Gets Hurt” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/dining/dads-often-find-it-difficult-to-eat-healthy.html?_r=1&ref=dining< )
in which he discussed the Daddy As A Garbage Pail mentality that a lot of us Dad’s go through when we cook for our kids. To a certain extent I could relate to what he wrote but when I discussed it further with my wife, we both agreed that cleaning up at mealtime
isn’t just a male pastime.
Now I am sure that everyone grew up being told to finish off everything on their plate because there were hungry people in other parts of the world. I am sure that thought still goes through our minds
as we clear off the plates from the dinner table and we notice those last few french fries or those last few bites of mac & cheese that were left behind. And I am sure that more than a few of us do surreptitiously shovel those bites into our mouth instead
of into the garbage can or into the garbage disposal because it’s what our parent’s would have wanted us to do. But is it the right thing to do for us and for our children ? Is there a way for those of us that do “graze” off the dinner dishes to stop ? Is
the answer really in how we prepare & serve our meals ?
When our children were younger, we prepared the meals for them and we served up the portions for each food group on their respective plates. Their dinner came out much like it does in a restaurant.
The kids, being the somewhat fussy eaters that kids can be, would eat what they liked on the plate and fight us to the death on what they didn’t want to eat. As most parents know, that means that you are most likely going to give in and give them the extra
pasta instead forcing them to eat the peas. We also know that it means that there is a higher likelihood that some of the extra pasta we give them is also going to come back because at that point the demand for more pasta from the child is more of an issue
of control than it is true hunger. So in our frustration we eat the leftover pasta. Our waistlines then expand, our cholesterol goes up but no food gets wasted. Not a great solution and one that certainly does fall into the category of the parents being a
garbage disposal. Now when we serve dinner, we serve it family style. The meal is cooked and the serving bowls are filled and placed on the table. The kids are all older and can make better decisions about what they like to eat and if we give them enough options,
there is sure to be enough of something for everyone. The drawback, however, to this approach is that as we all know your eyes can be bigger than your stomach and there is a tendency to get a little heavy handed in what gets put onto each plate. While we,
the parents, have control over the type of food, we find that we give up the control on the quantity that makes it to the plate. Again at the end of the meal we find that not everything on the plate has been eaten and again we have to make that decision as
to whether we should throw it out or just pop that last bit into our mouth. In most cases now, thanks to Dr. Killjoy sending me to my room without dessert, the extra bites on the plate goes into the real garbage can and not into the Daddy or Mommy sized garbage
cans. We already ate our meal too so we really don’t need that extra bite or two or three.
Now normally I wouldn’t end a blog with a question but I think that this topic actually begs me to ask, what do you do with those last few leftover bites on a plate or those last few crumbs in a box
? Do you scrape them into the trash ? Do you save them for the next meal or for a later snack ? Or do you shovel them in your mouth and hope that your waistline & hips don’t notice ?
Come back next time when I might actually talk about at least one of the shelves on my spice rack that I was supposed to talk about in my last couple of blogs.