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Weekly Shhhout-Out

Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two Peas and a Cupcake

Oliver TwistCan a small child thrive on a meal of two peas and a cupcake? I've been spending many mealtimes with my little grandsons lately and I can report the answer is yes. They are both healthy and thriving despite being picky eaters. I'm surprised they turned out this way because both parents are gourmet cooks and have always placed an interesting variety of healthy, real foods in front of them. Their likes and dislikes change constantly. Peas were a favorite one day and the next good only for use as projectiles across the table. That was a fun mealtime with grandma in charge! I was raised in the stern post-war "clean your plate and remember the starving children" style so I have difficulty resisting becoming the stereotypical nagging, bargaining grandmother: "just one more pea, and then you can have a cupcake."

The modern approach to forming healthy eating habits is to provide children with a variety of nutritious foods and then don't fuss over what and how much they eat. Pediatricians advise that the worst thing you can do is make mealtimes a battleground and power struggle. The children will win, perhaps with dire consequences in the future: eating disorders or obesity. I was once at a family dinner where a pediatrician with three children served lasagna, salad, and bread. One child ate only lasagna, one only salad, and one only bread. When they finished they could leave the table. It was a very calm, stress-free meal. The pediatrician explained that they ate what their bodies must need that day. Hungry children will eat anything.  Ergo: if they don’t eat they aren’t hungry. I've started reciting the mantra "Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist" whenever I feel the temptation to urge my grandsons to eat up or else.

Many parents and grandparents find this a stressful issue, especially when busy schedules leave little time for cooking from scratch. And when news stories about childhood obesity foment anxiety. Fortunately the library has many books with ideas, advice, and easy recipes. One I found particularly helpful is Real food for Healthy Kids: 200+ easy, wholesome recipes by Tracy Seaman.  Hungry Monkey: a food-loving father's quest to raise an adventurous eater by Matthew Amster-Burton, a food critic turned full-time Dad, is entertaining as well as informative. The Sneaky Chef: simple strategies for hiding healthy foods in kids' favorite meals by Missy Chase Lapine is indispensable. Just add shredded carrots and zucchini to that cupcake and it becomes a health food! Choose My Plate

First Lady Michelle Obama was inspired to take the lead on educating parents and children about healthy eating and exercise after alarming statistics on the incidence of childhood obesity in the U.S. received widespread publicity. Her Let’s Move website has a wealth of information and resources for parents and links to the new dietary guidelines from the USDA, ChooseMyPlate.gov

I raised my own children on some of the traditional English dishes like Toad-in-the-Hole. One day my daughter's friend stayed for dinner. When she went home her mother asked her what we had to eat.  That mother wasted no time in getting on the phone and asking me in an alarmed tone "What did you give my child for dinner?" I hastened to assure her that toad was not actually involved in the recipe, just good old English bangers! I am waiting for my daughter to invite me to cook this treat for my grandsons. Then we'll find out just how fussy they are! Bon appetit.

Rita T.

Rita's avatar

CATEGORIES: Children , Food , Rita T.
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Literary Sampling...

Having worked for Montgomery County Public Libraries for almost 20 years, I've come across divers and sundry titles and am definitely a fan of various genres. A literary sampling for those out there seeking something different (summary is followed by where in the library you can find the book):

* "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess. A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him the novel asks, "At what cost?" READING LIST

* "48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. Greene has created an heir to Machiavelli's Prince, espousing principles such as, everyone wants more power; emotions, including love, are detrimental; deceit and manipulation are life's paramount tools. Anyone striving for psychological health will be put off at the start, but the authors counter, saying "honesty is indeed a power strategy," and "genuinely innocent people may still be playing for power." Amoral or immoral, this compendium aims to guide those who embrace power as a ruthless game, and will entertain the rest. 303.3 GRE

* "The Trial" by Franz Kafka. Written in 1914, The Trial is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century: the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers. READING LIST

* "Why We get Fat - and What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. An eye-opening, paradigm-shattering examination of what makes us fat. In theNew York Timesbest seller Good Calories, Bad Calories,acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes argues that certain kinds of carbohydrates - not fats and not simply excess calories - have led to our current obesity epidemic. Now he brings that message to a wider, nonscientific audience in this exciting new book. Persuasively argued, straightforward, practical, and with fresh evidence for Taubes's claim, Why We Get Fat makes his critical argument newly accessible. Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century-none more damaging than the "calories-in, calories-out" model of why we get fat-and the good science that has been ignored, especially regarding insulin's regulation of our fat tissue. He also answers key questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat or avoid? Concluding with an easy-to-follow diet,Why We Get Fat is an invaluable key to understanding an international epidemic and a guide to improving our own health. 613.712 TAU

More to come...Bon Appetit!

POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007