The NYTimes describes her as a "childhood nutrition instructor," in its recent piece titled 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make. Harriet Worobey, the person behind the 6 Mistakes, is director of the Rutgers University Nutritional Sciences Preschool in New Brunswick, N.J., but before we explore what that's all about, let's look at the mistakes you parents are making.
1--Sending the kids out of the kitchen Ok, so, back in the days when people had tiny, hot kitchens fired up by woodburning stoves, and nine kids, maybe Mom sent a few packing, as in "you're underfoot--go out and play." Today's families have ample kitchens, many a part of the "family" room ( formerly the "living room,") and I doubt they are even able to banish their offspring from them.
And sending kids "out to play" has gone the way of the dodo, if my own extended family is any indication. Kids not inclined to hang around the kitchen retreat to darkened rooms to stare at large, colorful screens, and play things.
2--Pressuring them to take a bite OY! This is obvious. Who among us wants to try Dog Paw Sechuan-Style if urged on by another pushy adult ? Left to our own devices, the aroma, color and foreignness of the offering will entice us completely unaided.
3--Keeping good stuff out of reach--my sainted mother tried this, once, with Hydrox Cookies, the former competitor to Oreos. ( Our household was always "different"--Hydrox instead of Oreos, Studebakers instead of Fords, Tru-Ade ( rarely!) instead of Coke, etc., etc.) My brother found them instantly, over the fridge, and ate the whole bag, washed down with a quart of milk.
4--Dieting in front of your children--No one dieted in the 50's and 60's , did they? Anyway, this is apparently a potentially sensitive mother-daughter thing. Moms should never make their daughters feel weird about themselves, and grownups should be leading active lives and eating tasty, fresh food in moderation.
5--Serving boring vegetables--Or boring hunks of pale pork, for that matter. My solution to "boring" is a shaker filled with red chile, spices, low salt--works for everything, except maybe pancakes. The word "boring" in front of veg is annoying to me, however, as is the eternal use by journalists of the word "lowly" in front of potato, along with writing of the "wrath" of assorted hurricanes. Leave "wrath" to describe your cranky old uncle, people.
6--Giving up too soon--Good point. By the time your kid is 18 and ready to feed her/himself at some university or trade school, she/he will still be alive on whatever she/he eats---kids go through odd eating phases--No white foods! Only white foods! Hotdogs and white rolls only! Plain pasta! Pink ice cream!
Mind you, my dear Auntie once tried the "never give up" route and left me at the dinner table for what seemed like hours as I refused to eat my clammy, cold overcooked peas. ( In fairness, they were probably fresh peas, as my Uncle was a farmer, but I have hated peas from birth, so...) I was a stubborn mite, and was released from the table at some point, peas still on the plate, as I am here today in my office writing about this utter failure in semi-parenting.
The aforementioned pre-school is apparently a "lab" school where 4 year-olds are used as "lab rats" to test food-centered curricula. This cannot be bad, right?
But I jest....in this fine country of ours we have "childhood nutrition instructors," but evidently ( in Alaska) we have few experts instructing parents on how to guide their kids towards responsible sexual behavior, as in avoiding pregnancy before reaching the lofty peaks of adulthood.