Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rules, rules, rules

Who made up the rule that you can't play with your food? Who said you can't eat with your fingers? Sure, now we have 'finger food', but is it totally acceptable to pick it up & eat it with your fingers? Ha! There's a contradiction to that rule!

I don't much like those kinds of rules. Too much formality. Sit up straight, don't slurp, skim your soup away from you & bring your eating utensils up to your mouth, don't slouch down to meet halfway, napkin in your lap... Forget it!

We have brought up our girls with basically only one hard rule at the dining table: If it's something new, you have to try if we tell you to! If you don't like it, you are welcomed to spit it out. That's pretty much it. As a result, our girls welcome new foods, different flavors, & are not afraid to try anything no matter how weird, or gross sounding! As a matter of fact, they have often pulled the same rules on us! They put together some concoction, claim it is tasty & make us try it. :) You would be surprised what tastes good with ketchup, or ranch dressing!
We are very relaxed at the table. I keep silverware & chopsticks on the table incase someone chooses to use them. Sometimes I put tortillas, or other flatbreads at the table to be used as eating implements.
Eating is an intimate act. Touching our foods lets us use all of our senses; sight, sound, smell, touch, & finally taste. The sound is the "mmmm... this is good" or the silence of word to the clanking of spoons digging into a big bowl of soup followed by some slurping & "mmmm.. this is so good!" There's nothing more satisfying than seeing someone slouched over their plate of food just shovelling it in, barely taking a breath of air because they are enjoying it that much! Ahhh! That is gratifying!

I am not saying that our children have absolutely no table manners at all. They are well mannered & we can, & do, take them anywhere to eat & not worry how they will behave at the table. I am just saying that too many rules at the dinner table is a cause of unnecessary stress.
Our girls have also been brought up with the idea that you listen to your parents & act decent at the table. That's what they do. So what if they slurp their soup? So what if the conversation gets gross? They do often eat with their fingers, or flatbreads. They are allowed, sometimes even encouraged, to play with their food, as long as they are going to eat it!

Our children look to us as an example. They do as they see us do, so lets relax at the table &

One of the concoctions made up by our 15 year old is rice with butter & a little sugar. I didn't want to try it, but she held me to my own rule! Whaddya know! It is really good! She now makes herself a small pot of buttered sweet rice for breakfast. And she makes enough to have leftovers incase somebody else would like some.
And, no, she doesn't eat it with her fingers. Although if she did, I wouldn't care! :D

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