Don’t Tell Kids to Finish the Contents of Their Plate
I grew up in a household where wasting food was akin to murdering puppies. My mother would inspect my plate before I was allowed to put it in the sink. She would always manage to scrape together a spoonful from what I had deemed an empty plate and even went so far as to encourage me to lick food that had somehow found its way to my fingers. I’m not sure if that was because she didn’t want me to waste food or because she was concerned that my sticky fingers would interfere with her desire for a pristine home.
I was accustomed to the occasional 3 hour lunch because I either really disliked the food or was too full. Often the dinner table discussion would involve me inquiring how finishing the contents of my plate would benefit starving children in Africa. If anything I should have been allowed to send the food I wasn’t eating to Africa, but somehow my parents didn’t seem to understand that.
However there was an understanding that there were certain foods I just would not eat. The last time my mother served me sago (a food I have abhorred since childhood) she decided to refer to it as potato soup so I didn’t make a fuss. While she may have thought she was being very clever by changing the name and serving it in a different manner, I was still unable to stomach it. In an effort to make it more palatable I added some pepper. Still gross. Added more pepper. Still gross. Eventually the entire pepper shaker was in my bowl of potato soup. My mother had finally accepted that the contents of the bowl was not going down my throat and that she would still have to eat it to set an example about not wasting food. Needless to say she was very angry with me about the peppery sago (which she threw out when she thought I was not looking).
I preferred to serve myself so I could control what I ate, although even that backfired at a party one Christmas. As a 9-year-old I firmly believed cake was supposed to be sweet. However grown ups did not seem to get that rum prevented cake from being sweet. Since I knew I could not get away with discarding the giant slice of rum cake, I kept going back to add more cream to drown out the bitter taste of alcohol.. Funnily enough the host noticed my numerous trips to the dessert table and presumed it was for more helpings of the dreaded cake. She even commented to my father about my fondness of the cake, unaware that I had finally wised up and stuck him with the task of finishing the contents of my plate.
That was not the last time my father would have to consume my over-sweetened leftovers. When I turned 15 he made me my first cup of coffee which I found too bitter to consume. So I added a spoonful of sugar. It was still bitter. So I added another spoonful. Still bitter. This continued until I had added 10 spoons of sugar when I realised no amount of sugar would make it bearable. So my father tried to drink the coffee and got a ‘sweet’ surprise.
While my parents clearly suffered from consuming my adulterated meals, they were not the only ones. Upon reaching adulthood they were no longer there to bail me out. So, because my parents hammered in their point about not wasting food, I still continue to follow this rule. Even the time I mistook butter for brie cheese and put a generous portion in my plate. And before realising my mistake declined the host’s offer to let me just put the extra butter back. Thus I can conclusively say telling your kids not to waste food will increase their chances of a heart attack.
I wouldn’t eat carrots when I was young. My dad thought that by blending them in with other foods they would somehow become invisible. He should have tried it with something that isn’t bright orange. Parents, eh? 😉
I reckon that’s how carrot cake was invented!
You might have a point!
My friend’s mum regularly made cucumber cake too!
That’s a thing?? I remember going to my friend’s birthday party when we were little – she had cucumber sandwiches. She was not popular for a while after that. 🙂
Haha you brought back memories of going to a birthday party of my cousin’s friend when I was 6. All the food was grown up people food, save for the birthday cake.
Yeah, we all just wanted E-numbers 🙂 I don’t know what her mum was thinking!
If I have kids they will have cup cakes with Tom & Jerry for their birthday.
It was the same with school dinners – we weren’t allowed to go out to play until we had cleared our plates. I remember sitting chewing a bit of gristle for what seemed like hours and only being allowed to spit it out when the bell for lessons rang. I hated the custard there, too, but cottoned on to the word “allergic” so I didn’t have to eat it!
Haha I wonder if people will catch on if I say I’m allergic to every food I don’t like
Oh my, and I thought my Mom was crazy about me ‘eating properly and not messing with the food’, but now I see I was lucky.
And I HATED carrots too. My Mom firmly believed that carrots were the key to improve my poor eyesight, so I’ve had my share of them when i was little – I was given to eat them raw, as a puree, mixed with pureed apples, as juice, and whatever else form the could be. It wasn’t until some 10 years ago that I’ve actually got over that hate and decided that carrots might actually be OK as long as they’re not forced on you. But the real and pure evil for me was beetroot and especially beetroot salads. OMG! I can eat pretty much anything with beetroot in it, but salads. Salads are still my personal No-No, and i don’t think it’s changing anytime soon
I can understand the hatred of betroot. It’s the colour. But as for carrots I think they are awesome because they cleared my eyesight problem (I wore glasses for 14 years but no longer need them). However carrot juice is blasphamy.
unfortunately no amount of carrots can fix my eyesight. And I do agree that carrots are awesome (except for the juice which is yuk), and i love them. But back in the day I was to eat ’em carrots not because I wanted to, but because I was told to, and that’s where my mom would go into a full on ‘you’re not going anywhere before you get finish your carrot something’. The only kind of carrots I used to love in the day were those baby carrots right from my grandma’s garden 😀
Haha totally with you about not liking something just because I was told to eat it!
Me I couldn’t stand orange juice, and now I absolutely adore it! But when I had to drink it… uuf haha!
I wonder if this has anything to do with pulp… because pulp in orange juice is just wrong…
I can totally understand this. That’s how I was brought up. Now I have a 6 year old and I naturally would have him do the same thing. I often find myself changing my mind though. Especially with the problem of over eating in this country.
Smaller portions are the way to go!
Do parents still encourage their children to clean their plates? I know this was common for the parents of the 50s, but now with the well-publicized child obesity epidemic, I would be surprised if this was still going on.
I still see it happen although I wonder if parents are reducing portion sizes now…
All evidence to the contrary