On deliciousness

David Chang at Wired – The Unified Theory of Deliciousness:

Joshua told me he wanted to make a version of a Bolognese, the Italian meat sauce. I told him that was fine, but he had to use only Korean ingredients. I often set these kinds of limitations, because I’m a big believer that creativity comes from working within constraints.

Anyway, that meant he would have to find a way of re-creating the sweetness, umami, and pungency of Bolognese without the onions, celery, carrot, tomato paste, or white wine. He ended up using scallions, red chiles, ground pork, and fermented bean paste. Instead of using milk to provide that silky mouthfeel, I encouraged him to add in some whipped tofu. And rather than pasta or gnocchi, he served it with rice cakes that looked like gnocchi. We called it Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes, and when most people taste it, it reminds them—even on a subconscious level—of a spicier version of Bolognese.

I often find that with our food constraints, much of what we cook tastes the same, and very familiar. This is good in one sense, since by now we know what our son likes and dislikes and can guess whether he’ll like the food or not. But it’s bad in another sense, where I feel that we’re limiting him and not presenting a wider range of flavours and textures the we want him to experience.

Chang’s attempts at recreating familiar foods with different ingredients shows that in some instances he can re-imagine familiar dishes using unfamiliar ingredients. We are trying to do that every time we make a new dish, having to replace ingredients with others that are safe. Unfortunately it’s only too easy to fall back on the tried and true recipes. Time is the overriding constraint.

Report on free school meals left unpublished

Clare Salisbury for BBC News – Free school meals: Report on struggling small schools ‘not published’:

The Department for Education told the BBC: “We are not going to publish the Small Schools Taskforce report.

“It wasn’t published last year because of the Spending Review and by the time that was complete, the report was out of date and much of it was already in existence.”

If much of it was already in existence, then it’s easy enough to highlight the parts that they implemented, isn’t it? Unless they didn’t actually implement anything.

Also listen: Food Programme podcast School food: An uncertain future

Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms – A working farm that produces many products (including furniture), strives to be sustainable, and best of all, has an educational mandate.

Shelburne Farms began a rebirth in 1972, when family descendants founded a nonprofit organization of the same name, dedicated to conservation education. For 40 years, the organization has offered educational opportunities for children of all ages to learn about sustainability and their connections to the natural and agricultural world.  As stewards of the property, the nonprofit has placed much of the land under conservation easements, and preserved and rehabilitated the buildings to new uses. In 2001 the property became a National Historic Landmark.

Cow milk allergy and calcium in children

Kathryn Doyle at the Globe and Mail – Kids allergic to cow’s milk may have low bone density: study:

Kids with cow’s milk allergy had lower bone mineral density than others, and 6 per cent had low bone mass, while none of the kids in the comparison group had low bone mass, according to the results in Pediatrics.

“The important message is that these children should be followed preventively to be sure that they take sufficient calcium and vitamin D to have strong bones and avoid bone problems,” Des Roches said. “Otherwise, these kids are in very good health.”

Less than half of kids with cow’s milk allergy were taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.

As a parent of a child with many allergies, it’s been difficult to find a good replacement for the milk/dairy that is recommended in all food guides. We eat plenty of vegetables, but perhaps we also need to find a supplement.

Report on Health in Children in Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada publication, published February 24, 2016 – Health Behaviour in School-aged Children in Canada: Focus on Relationships:

Key Finding #11: Healthy Eating

While some concerning dietary habits were reported, there were also some positive findings with respect to healthy eating.

Almost half (46%) of boys and more than one third (37%) of girls reported eating neither vegetables nor fruits once per day or more, while 34% of boys and 42% of girls reported eating both fruits and vegetables once per day or more. Some of these behaviours may be attributable to the food environments that surround young people and the availability and affordability of fruits and vegetables. More positively, reports of soft drink and candy consumption have decreased over time, and reported daily consumption of potato chips, diet soft drinks, and energy drinks was quite low. This lower frequency of consumption was consistent with the Canada Food Guide recommendations on reducing the intake of foods high in fats, sugar, sodium, or calories.

Boys and girls aren’t eating enough fruits or vegetables, but at least they have reduced their consumption of sugary drinks and snacks.

Key Finding #12: Healthy Weights

The epidemic of overweight and obesity is not declining in young Canadians.

Approximately 1 in 3 boys and approximately 1 in 4 girls were classified as overweight or obese by Body Mass Index (BMI; calculated from self-reported height and weight). Up to 25% of girls and 10% of boys were, or thought they should be, on a diet to lose weight. The percentage of young people who perceived that their body was too fat has increased from 28% in 2002 to 32% in 2014. Despite ongoing public health efforts, the prevalence of youth obesity, and the behaviours and feelings surrounding it, remain high and have increased over time.

We need to teach kids about growing food, cooking food and eating food, healthfully.

Teaching children the enjoyment of food

Helene Skantzikas at Elevating Child Care – Secrets to Enjoying Healthy Meals With Our Children:

When we are nervous or afraid that our children won’t eat, or not eat enough, we tend to be inconsistent with our boundaries.  It’s the same dynamic as the fear of a tantrum. We cannot set consistent boundaries that make our children feel safe if we are trying to avoid tantrums and strong feelings at all costs. Avoiding the tantrum suddenly takes priority over self-care, and that often ends in a lot of frustration on both ends.

Similarly, if “getting the child to eat” takes priority over self-care and the boundaries necessary to the family enjoying a meal, frustration ensues for the parent, as well as negative associations to mealtime (stress, power struggle, fuzzy boundaries, testing) for the child as a result.

 

On picky eaters

Dilla Narduzzi for Macleans back in December 2015: A Naturally Picky Eater? There’s No Such Thing

This profusion of taste buds can make kids more sensitive, or even resistant, to strong flavours, but being exposed to those foods over time can make them more receptive. Unfortunately, many parents don’t realize this is a stage, and never offer the offending item again.

The way we introduce new foods to our child is to ask them to try the food at least once per meal. (i.e., stick out your tongue and taste it, and maybe chew it a little.) We offer the food every time, whenever we happen to cook it, and model eating it. Beyond that, we don’t force them to eat it. We also try to have at least one dish during the meal that we know they like and will eat, which ensures they won’t leave the table hungry (at least, not too hungry).