I was watching reruns of Friends the other night. It was the episode where Phoebe is singing songs to a group of children at an elementary school.
The horrified looks of the audience, both young and old, as she sings about cows being ground up for hamburger meat is unsurprising. Going by way of the Tooth Fairy and Santa, the truth about where meat comes from is always a troubling time in a child’s life. The truth is that these younger generations are growing up in a culture where there is a big disconnect between food and its source of origin. This culture ultimately sets up an uneasy relationship with food, hindering one’s ability to learn new skills and make healthy, responsible choices.
That is why it is so important to start young! Experiences had in these formative years can set up habits and tastes that last well into adulthood. Overall, the benefits of getting kids in the kitchen are astounding.
- Healthier: Learning to pick out ingredients and then cook them into something delicious results in fewer meals from drive-thru windows and packages.
- More knowledgeable: Kids that learn about food are better able to make informed choices when it comes to what they are willing to put into their bodies.
- More adventurous: When kids learn more about food and how to prepare it they are more apt to try new things
- Bonding: Spending time at the farmer’s market in the morning and at the dinner table that evening makes for a fun filled day of family bonding
- Sparks creativity: Cooking is an art form and there are endless combinations to experiment with
- Helps to change the culture: The more we can teach the next generation the truth about food the better we will be able to end the cycle we have going on now.
Having children become well-rounded adults who have a healthy relationship with food is the ultimate goal. We are already beginning to see kids becoming more active on the food scene here at Eat Seattle. In fact, in several instances it has been the kids who have asked their parents to sign them up for our food educational tour, rather than the other way around. They are being proactive in expanding their knowledge on the local farmers, producers, fisherman and butchers in the Northwest.
Not all children are as enthusiastic as the ones on our tour, and that is where the older generations step in. We must be pioneers in teaching ourselves as much as we can so we can pass it on to our younger counterparts. So get out there, ask questions, have fun and set your kids up for a lifelong love of (and respect for) food.
Post by Katie Bauer