Apparently many children don't know where food comes from. I don't mean which shop, or where the money appears from (although I'm sure many children are ignorant of that too*) I mean the actual food they cheerfully eat.
Some children were confused to discover that meat came from animals, that 'pork' and 'bacon' actually meant 'bits of dead piggy' (yes slices of Sodding Peppa Pig and her annoying family! eat up kiddies!!). And a lot of children were confused as to where certain vegetables grew. Many children 'don't like potatoes' but eat chips and crisps having no idea what they are made of. I'm sure many children don't know that, unless specified vegetarian, that jelly they love, or the jelly sweets they chew, are made from pork gelatine.
Bread, pasta and other foods which are compounded from other foods but are seen as staples can be confusing, why is rice a 'thing' but pasta is made? Does rice grow on trees? Does spaghetti? Where does sugar grow? in sticks? in the ground? (trick question) What is bread made from? What is rye? And when America confuses the issue by calling sweetcorn 'corn', while we talk of cornfields meaning wheat fields, no wonder children are mixed up!
Of course some of you reading this will be vegetarian or vegan and so will probably have talked about your choice and why you don't eat dead things, or stolen milk from distraught mother cows. Which is another thing to consider, how much choice do your children have? If they decided to be a vegetarian when you are not would you find that acceptable and cater for them as such? Or deem it 'fussy' and ignore the request as a fad? How about if you are vegan and they want to try a bacon sandwich? would you try to steer them away by tales of shrieking pigs (Peppa again, or maybe Daddy Pig)?, explain you case calmly or just let them buy a butty from the nearest burger van.
Worryingly I know adults that don't know the full details of where there food is from! Did you know (for example) that peanuts grow under the ground? Or that calamari (which looks so like a tasty onion ring) is sliced squid body? That Quorn is a micoprotein (from fungus)? have you seen Brussel sprouts growing?
I think food is an important issue and yet we can analyse too much. eating disorders can be triggered by all sorts of things and no one wants to traumatise a child by revealing 'truth' in an unpleasant way (except me, and the Peppa thing)
So at what age do you discuss food? or do you wait for questions?
Do you think it's important to know about the food you eat? Would your child stop eating beef if they knew it was from a real animal? And if so is it fair not to tell them? You may find this Food Facts website useful to discuss food with your children.
Come and chat over on Twitter or my Facebook page I'd love to hear from you
*Do you explain to your children where money comes from? Why we use money? How you (or someone else in your family) earns the money? Do you talk about the finite nature of it, despite signs on cashpoint machines declaring 'FREE CASH HERE' and seeming, even to adults sometimes, to dispense money as you want it without a thought? Do you explain budgets? Or do you assume either that they are too young, school will teach it, or maybe just 'they'll soon learn!' ? A whole other post here I think!
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