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Affronts to Old People #12 – Food that’s “Fun to Eat”

Few things chap my ass more than this asinine practice of manufacturing food that’s “fun to eat” and which is designed with the sole intent of helping ineffectual parents coerce their damned offspring into consuming a meal.

In my day we ate because we were hungry – not because our spaghetti bore a passing resemblance to Scooby Doo or as an excuse to sculpt a cheese string into a mozzarella Rastafarian.

If I had ever demanded that my old mom fashion my porridge to look like Beans the Cat she would have beaten me bloody with a jello mold and been right to do so. Food wasn’t meant to be some damned form of interactive play – it was meant to provide sustenance and we considered ourselves lucky if a few scraps found their way onto our plate.

Nowadays, though, a damned young person won’t even look at a bowl of gruel unless it’s been littered with marshmallow unicorns or formed into a rough bust of Dora the Explorer. They turn their nose up at any food that doesn’t have a narrative, a downloadable theme song and come in a minimum of 14 distinctive fun-filled shapes.

Why the hell do we need to bribe damned young people into do something that keeps them alive? I’m pretty sure that after 72 hours locked in a darkened tool shed without Zoodles and Bear Paws even the most pugnacious of the little miscreants would see the light and happily gnaw on my god damned house slippers.

Honest to God what’s next? Colorizing their oxygen as an incentive for them to breathe?

And it’s not just the pandering I object to. I’m no Benny Spock but if you ask me making food “fun” is the primary reason behind every damned young person on the planet being the size of an African bush elephant. They’ve been raised to believe that eating is part game, part entertainment and all around cure for boredom.

In my view, parents would be wise to put away the dip-able, strip-able, french toast sticks, get themselves some backbone and adopt the mantra used by my old mom:

“You’ll eat what I put in front of you and you’ll damned well like it.”

As a nation, we’d be healthier, happier and better off for it.

101 Comments leave one →
  1. 12:44 am

    I completely agree with you on that. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and I know when I have children I already vowed to adopt the old way of thinking about food. Also, I believe they do have oxygen bars now that flavor the air you can breathe in through tanks.

    • 12:50 am

      Thank you Celeste,

      Glad to hear you’ll take a no nonsense approach with your sprogs. In the long run, both they’ll be glad you did.

      I heard about those damned oxygen bars but didn’t know they could add “flavors.” The whole damned thing strikes me as the worst kind of bumph since Clark Stanley sold his first bottle of snake oil elixir back in 1893.

      Many thanks for the comment, Celeste. Very nice of you to visit once again.

      Best regards,

      Don

  2. 12:52 am

    Well, Don, if you were the Gov’t and you wanted to kill us off slowly by poisoning us with genetically modified food, you’d better make it look appealing. Perhaps McDonalds should start making their fake chicken nuggets into cute little animal shapes.

    • 1:07 am

      Many thanks Tricia,

      I’ve always found an apple to be relatively appealing – and certainly more appetizing than eating chicken which has been ground into dust, mixed into a paste and then shaped to look like a dolphin. (If I want to eat dolphin, I like mine fresh and with a light white wine).

      I don’t know why McDonalds hasn’t formed their nuggets into animal shapes. Perhaps they feel that by calling them “chicken” they are already pushing the truth in advertizing laws to the limit.

      All my best,

      Don

      • Sedate Me permalink
        4:12 pm

        Sir, I think you’ll “enjoy” this clip

        This is perhaps the most depressing kids & food related footage of 2010. Look how even the kids who were grossed out mindlessly tossed their hands into the air when asked if they want some.

        • Sedate Me permalink
          5:06 pm

          Sorry sir, that video was supposed to be just a link to the video.

        • 5:54 pm

          My God.

          You’re absolutely right. That is extremely depressing…and more than a little frightening.

          Thanks for sharing that, Sedate Me.

          All the best,

          Don

        • 11:07 am

          Brrrrrr
          If my kid (hypotetical at this point) does this, I`ll kill it with my bare hands. If you dont know how to live (which is at elast 50 % eating), you dont deserve to.

        • elizabeth3hersh permalink
          11:39 am

          You always have the most FASCINATING videos Sedate Me. I enjoy all of them!!

  3. 12:58 am

    Spot on Don.

    My best trick is the minute they start whining or questioning, I start chomping the food right off their plates. And don’t stop until it’s gone. Then I eat mine. Then they clean teeth, wash faces and go to bed.

    Wham bam thank you for the lovely dinner mam.

    • 1:11 am

      Thanks kindly pascalescheurer,

      Damned sensible and a very fine strategy. (After all, there is no sense in that food going to waste.)

      I’m sure your children will learn quickly to be grateful for whatever food they find on their plate.

      My hats off to you.

      Don

  4. 1:10 am

    Mr. Mills, in your day, not only was food food, but it was spelled correctly too. There was no “froot” or “gogurt.” Spam came from your era too, but I can forgive that for all the comedy it has spawned.

    • 1:24 am

      Thank you bmj2k,

      That’s a damned fine point, lad. Froot? Good Lord…

      And the way they package and market this nonsense is insulting as well. Everything is described as being “now even more supertastical” and “100% awesomepacked.” Honestly, my damned loaf of bread is a supertastical as it needs to be.

      Many thanks bmj2k. Always wonderful to hear from you.

      Don

    • 2:38 am

      Thank you Scott.

      And we said that too. Right before we started arm wrestling over the pork chops.

      All the best,

      Don

  5. 1:34 am

    Damn straight, Don.
    Furthermore, if I dared to turn my nose up at a meal it would be firmly smacked and Ma made sure I sat there until I DID eat it, even if it developed fur and a pulse first! I thank her for that, it built character.

    • 2:41 am

      Very true Al,

      I remember a battle of wills between me and a brussel sprout that must have lasted a good 17 hours. I never developed a taste for the things, and I flinch if anyone mentions them by name, but to this day I’ve never dared to leave another one on my plate.

      All the best,

      Don

  6. 1:37 am

    Hi friend…
    You said, “If I had ever demanded that my old mom fashion my porridge to look like Beans the Cat she would have beaten me bloody with a jello mold and been right to do so. ” Well, my Mom probably would have killed Ol’ Beans and put him in the jello, beat me, and then made me eat him.

    I say that we should go all the way and let them COOK their own FUN food! They want geometric shapes and the latest super hero figures….let ’em go for! Meanwhile, we will still be eating our declicious steaks, baked potatoes, fresh made rolls, healthy salads, and maybe have our own little fun food—chocolate cake. And, I’ll betcha the farm that we’ll out live them litte turds.

    Your friend (and still number one stalker)
    TPB

    • 2:55 am

      Many thanks TPB,

      I must say your mom old sounds firm. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted to finding Mr. Whisker’s left paw in my jello cube. Having to eat around it would be a bit of a damned pain.

      I like the idea of having young people fend for themselves in the kitchen. In fact, that would be one reality television program I’d be tempted to watch (provided they had to make everything from scratch). I like the idea of watching young people fumble around trying to feed themselves with the aid of a mircowave oven.

      All the best, TPB, and thanks for stopping in.

      Don

  7. 2:21 am

    You’re absolutely right! Hilarious. I used to be made to sit at the table until I ate the awful slop my Mom used to make that tasted like top soil. My daughter “negotiates” now. 😉

    • 3:00 am

      Many thanks Heidi,

      Kids are going to be picky…there’s no question of that. I just get damned concerned when we try to turn every lunch into an off-Broadway production in order to stir their interest in eating. To me, it doesn’t teach youngsters a very good lesson at all – and sets up a rather unhealthy relationship with eating in general.

      All the best and thanks for visiting again, Heidi.

      Nice to hear from you.

      Don

  8. 3:16 am

    Great post Don. This is a topic into which I can really sink my teeth! I couldn’t agree with you more. Please permit me to join in this rant …

    As spoiled rotten the young people may be, the food fetishes that fool them can be squarely blamed on the food conglomerates and Madison Avenue eggheads who’ve been in league for many decades, but probably did their worst after WWII wrapped up. Rationing just primed the pump.

    All the busy people getting back to work marching toward ‘modernity’ decided that they just didn’t have the time for proper food preparation. There resulted a disinterest in plain, wholesome foodstuffs. With the manufacturers’ desire to cut costs and increase profits, here we are now: most of what lines the supermarket shelves is devoid of real nutritive value. It’s processed to death, full of air, water, corn syrup, artificial flavor and color, and sprayed with vitamins. It makes us fat and sick. Which is OK, because the ‘feeder’ industry of ‘health care’ has sprouted up alongside to ‘fix’ us up with pharmaceuticals, liposuction, bypass surgery, etc.

    The package is much more important than what’s inside. Hell, half of the piping hot crap heaped on their plates will be tossed into the trash anyway. That’s how the brainwashed think they’re in control of their diets now. Look at me, I know how to stop eating when I’m full so I can throw this crap into the dump! All they wanted was the sizzle anyway, since they don’t have time to chew the steak.

    Boy, now I’m hungry.

    • 6:43 pm

      Many thanks David.

      You may be hungry but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to eat again. A fine “rant” lad and I appreciate your sharing it with me. And while I always enjoy blaming eggheads, I still think that people have to take responsibility for their own damned choices. In my view, it’s just as easy to slice an apple as it is to microwave some Hannah Montana Homefries.

      All the best and thanks again for the comment. A fine persective indeed.

      Best regards,

      Don

  9. 3:16 am

    Do cupcakes fall into that category? Just wondering *shrugging shoulders* I like eating and making fun cupcakes Mr. Mills.

    • 6:46 pm

      Thank you Sherri,

      Don’t get me wrong, lass. I’ve been known to snack on the occasional unflavored animal cracker – and I have no objection to the odd sweet or fancy pastry. My complaint is with having to make every damned object on a young person’s plate some form of game in order to bribe them into eating.

      Very nice to hear from you, Sherri.

      All the best,

      Don

  10. 3:59 am

    Did you get kicked out of the Shady Rest for your opinions and crotchety-ness? I, for one, am glad to see you back.

    • 6:50 pm

      Nice to hear from you Carol,

      “Kicked out,” “evicted,” “threatened with legal action”….take your pick. I prefer to think of it as a mutal agreement based on irreconcilable differences.

      Hope you’re well.

      All the best,

      Don

  11. 5:04 am

    “You’ll eat what I put in front of you and you’ll damned well like it.”

    – I think your mum and mine must have been related !!!

    • 6:56 pm

      Thanks Duncan,

      You never know. She was born in Glasgow and raised in Edinburgh.

      Quite a woman and a stern disciplinarian. If one of my brothers and I ever ran afoul of her rules, her preferred form of corporal punishment was to “bang our heads together.” Needless to say, we tended to stay on the straight and narrow (at least whenever she was within striking distance.)

      All the best,

      Don

  12. Friar permalink
    5:56 am

    Even something as old as Lucky Charms has gotten spoiled. Back in the 60’s, when I first ate it…you had to plow through a lot crummy cereal to get the occasional pink heart, yellow moon, orange stars, or green clover. (Yes, I know marshmallows in cereal is a bit over the top….but it’s been around for almost five decades…and at least we EARNED the marshmallows we ate!)

    But have you seen Lucky Charms today? My God..it’s not good enough to have four different colored marshmallow shapes. Now they countless different kinds..including multiple-colored, mold-injected rainbow bits that probably needed NASA to design.

    Not only that…but the cereal’s about 50% marshmallow. At which point, I think it starts to qualify as a candy, instead of “part of a good breakfast”.

    Today’s kids are so damned spoiled.

    • 9:04 pm

      Many thanks Friar,

      I don’t believe I’ve ever had a bowl of Lucky Charms. And I’ve always been suspicious of leprechauns that try to lure children into the forest with brightly colored cereal.

      I’m not surprised, though, that they’ve had to “up” the marshmallow count. It’s the only way they could keep up with things like Reese Puff and Cookie Crisp cereals.

      Give me bacon and eggs any damned day.

      All the best,

  13. 7:02 am

    I didn’t know you and Dr Spock were so tight.

    • 9:17 pm

      Thanks Bearman,

      A decent enough lad but we had a breast feeding-related fall out in the late 1950s. Got rather personal.

      All the best,

      Don

  14. misswhiplash permalink
    7:43 am

    I agree with you..today there is too much mucking about with food, to many additives and too much of anything that is not natural. Take for instance Breakfast Cereals, once it was Shredded Wheat 100% pure , nothing added and nothing taken away. Now it is being chocolate filled. Weetabix now has chocolate chips.
    Even things like normal KitKat which I have always enjoyed , now comes in chunky, peanut, vanilla, and various other rubbishy stuff.
    Why can they not leave well alone.
    Like you I get cross about all the junk that children/adults eat , its no wonder that we now live in an obese society and the heath service can no longer cope.

    That’s all folks… I have stepped down from my soap box for today

    • 9:19 pm

      Many thanks misswhiplash,

      I used to enjoy the odd kit kat myself. Seems to me that either I’m getting smaller or they’re making them bigger nowadays. (Could well be both). I’ve seen the “Chunky.” A very fitting name.

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      6:04 pm

      I was quite taken aback when I discovered that the cereal Kelloggs markets to “health conscious women”, Special K, actually has double the sugar it had in 1978. Nearly every cereal (and damn near every food product) made in 1978 has more sugar in it today.

      Yesterday’s junk food rivals today’s “health” food.

  15. 8:27 am

    now, c’mon, don. am i to believe that your mom bought that oft-mentioned melonballer only for beating you and your brothers? she had to have used it to make a cantaloupe or a casaba more attractive at least once. or maybe that was just for company? yeah, that must be it. 😉

    • 9:23 pm

      Thanks Nonnie,

      As you guessed, the melon baller was used for its intended purpose only on special occasions. We didn’t dress up our fruit unless someone was getting married, having a baby or had died. Believe me when I tell you it got far more use as an instrument of discipline.

      All the best, Nonnie.

      Don

  16. 8:49 am

    This, as ever was amusing to me, and it isn’t without its truths!
    The supermarkets have nearly a whole isle dedicated to this rubbish, and it is a real shame that parents aren’t teaching their children to appreciate different foods from a young age.
    After all, they aren’t going to be consuming much Spongebob Squarepants spaghetti when they move out are they!
    Thanks for the post, as always it was an enjoyable read!

    • 9:27 pm

      Thank you KarlCulture,

      It’s true – the store aisles are littered with the stuff. It’s getting so a man can’t find a simple box of Cream of Wheat anywhere.

      Here’s hoping you’re right and that today’s young people won’t still be scarfing down Spongebob Spaghetti when they’re middle aged.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Don

      • Sedate Me permalink
        6:11 pm

        Cream of Wheat and Red River Cereal (Remember that one sir?😉 ) was about all I ever had for breakfast. I occasionally got boxes of no-name Corn Flakes for Christmas & birthdays presents.

        I ate it or I starved. Luckily I liked it (and still do). Turn out it’s pretty damn good for you…which explains why they’re so damn hard to find.

  17. 10:51 am

    Oh so true! We had to eat everything my mum served us ( and believe me she really couldn’t cook! ). I grew up for years thinking beefburgers came in burnt quarters….

    • 9:29 pm

      Thanks egills,

      We’ll have to trade old recipe stories. My dear mom – god love her – had her share of trials in the kitchen too. To this day, I still can’t look at a plate of mince.

      Best regards,

      Don

  18. elizabeth3hersh permalink
    10:58 am

    Based on the girth of today’s youngsters, one would think that parents would be interested in fashioning snack food to look like parsnips and turnips, Don.

    “What does that mean, Billy’s BMI is 26?”

    “Well, his friends all must be 27 and above so that makes my Billy normal!” Harumph!

    • 9:35 pm

      Thank you elizabeth,

      An interesting notion. Another approach might be to try the “scared straight” tactic. Perhaps snack foods could be fashioned to resemble clogged arteries, exploding hearts or morbidly obese teenagers.

      Always a pleasure, Elizabeth. I hope you’re well.

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      6:13 pm

      Are you kidding me? Little Billy has a BMI of 47!

  19. 12:20 pm

    Even as a ‘young person’, I agree completely. Why must the rest of my generation insist upon multi-coloured, oddly-flavoured rubbish when they could enjoy actual food? I admit, at times it may not look like much, but when did that matter? Food is something you consume to live and an added bonus is it usually tastes nice. Unless your food looks like poison and is delivered in a bottle with ‘Cyanide’ written on the front, why does what it looks like matter?

    • 9:36 pm

      Many thanks timegirl4468,

      A very healthy attitude and a very sensible comment. My thanks.

      Best regards,

      Don

  20. 1:34 pm

    Mr. Mills,

    What a delight to wake up to your latest post – it’s right up my alley. I couldn’t agree more that we should stop pandering to young people and do away with the ridiculous games we play to get them to eat. Unfortunately the problem in this case isn’t only the damned young people begging and manipulating their parents to buy them Dora’s latest food-form – it’s the grown folks taking orders from a child that’s our problem. When did the power change hands? Why are intelligent, experienced adults allowing children to run a household? It’s absolutely frightening and in this case it’s not only young people that need the give their heads a shake – it’s time for parents to wake up and take some control.

    Sincerely,

    skinnyFAT

    PS. It would us all some good to forget processed foods in their entirety and go back to “old school” whole foods. That’s all Granny eats and at 85 she doesn’t look or feel a day over 70.

    • 9:46 pm

      Many thanks skinnyFAT,

      I couldn’t agree more. Damned parents are all walking around on eggshells in fear of upsetting their sprogs and being wished into the corn. No one wants to damage little Felix’s psyche by asking him to stop eating with his fingers or setting the cat aflame. It’s preposterous.

      Glad to hear your Gran is on a sensible diet. She’ll likely outlive us all.

      Best regards,

      Don

  21. 3:22 pm

    It’s a little known fact that nowadays, along with lifts, tucks and implants, the most popular elective surgery is the parental spine-ectomy. Afterwards, moms & dads just kind of flop around ineffectually and let their offspring do whatever the hell they want. But they look really good while flopping, and that’s the important thing.

    • 10:10 pm

      Thank you pegoleg,

      I’ve certainly seen the evidence first hand. Funny though – I mistook the ineffectual flopping for terrified cringing or overindulgent book-licking. Regardless – same result.

      All the best, pegoleg, and many thanks for dropping in again.

      All the best,

      Don

  22. 3:28 pm

    I used to feel bad about myself for being a boring cook and for barking out tired old sayings in response to the complaints of my kids. But thanks to you, I will no longer feel apologetic that I hate to cook and will remind my kids how lucky they are to be getting boring meat, potatoes and veggies… “again”. And now, along with telling them this isn’t a restaurant where they get to order whatever the hell they want and I’m not their slave, I’ll remind them that food should be chosen for its nutritional value not by how entertaining and exciting it is. It’s food, not a damn date.

    Oh… one more thing. After reading this blog and finding out that parents have turned feeding into a circus act, I feel obligated to share a tip I have used to get my kids to eat and even enjoy veggies. I’m no Dr. Spock either and the tip may sound a tad simple, but what I do is, I throw my kids outside for a couple of hours, let them get good and tired, even a little bit starving and then put a huge plate of raw vegetables in front of them. You’d be amazed by what they will eat when they’re hungry.

    Thanks Mr. Mills. I love your writing. Your blog has become my favorite.

    • 11:58 pm

      Many thanks ADIGI Books,

      That has to be the soundest parenting advice I’ve heard in ages. Perhaps it’s time for someone to write a common sense parenting guide. I think your “exercise + fresh air = appetite” equation would make a very find chapter one.

      All the best and thank you for the kind words.

      Don

  23. 4:01 pm

    For me i dont eat my spaghetti O’s unless they are the JUSTIN BEIBER version. And colored oxygen i am going to look into that, sounds like a money maker. Anything for a buck, and hell maybe i can the brill cream that smells like fruit thing going. In your day, well lets not get started about that….woodrow wilson was a great man i should say….zman sends

    • 12:04 am

      Thanks you Zman,

      Funny, I had you pegged as more of the Selana Gomez type. Oh well, this isn’t exactly an area of expertise for me.

      The rest of your comment is a bit of puzzler. From Brylcreem to fruit to “back in the day” to Woodrow Wilson….makes me wonder if you’re huffing something stronger than just oxygen, Zman. Regardless, always good to hear from you, lad.

      Trust you’re well.

      Sending back (postage due),

      Don

  24. 4:54 pm

    Damn right, Don. When I was a youngster, food wasn’t a form of entertainment, it was a form of torture! My brother had to sit at the table with a timer in front of him, giving him one hour to eat his vegetables (which looked like vegetables, not cartoon characters.) If he failed to eat, he’d be having his vegetables for breakfast.

    Telling kids that eating (which keeps you alive) is fun sets a dangerous precedent for letting them think that living is supposed to be fun.

    • 12:08 am

      Many thanks Matt,

      Nothing puts a damper on a Saturday morning like Corn Flakes with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli. I trust your brother soon learned his lesson (unfortunately mine never did).

      Always good to hear from you lad.

      Best regards,

      Don

  25. 5:09 pm

    “Honest to God what’s next? Colorizing their oxygen as an incentive for them to breathe?”

    Beautiful visual.

    “They’ve been raised to believe that eating is part game, part entertainment and all around cure for boredom.”

    Very true, good way of “summing it up.”

    Love your blogs, it’s a subscription I’ll actually pay attention to.

    -Aun Aqui

  26. 6:24 pm

    Don,

    Your spot on this time! I’m a mom and I see so many people using food for bribery (okay, we do that sometimes) or just putting snack after snack in front of their child.

    Kids need to learn how to hunger for things. My son eats well but I let him get hungry first. The kids his age (3) running around so fat is terrifying! They are everywhere.

    • 5:56 pm

      Thank you Heather,

      I appreciate the comment. It is indeed terrifying – and a very troubling sign of what’s to come.

      All the best,

      Don

  27. 7:15 pm

    Oh Don…You are so damn spot on. Right on to you Don!

  28. 9:41 pm

    That’s why my mom always stuck to gefilte fish and matzah ball soup. Can’t go to wrong with that!

    • 5:58 pm

      Thanks kindly kissmeinshomer,

      Your mother sounds like a sensible woman.

      Thanks for stopping in and leaving me a comment.

      Best,

      Don

  29. Wayne permalink
    9:56 pm

    You relly are a tottall morron . You CANT eat Scooby Doo because he isnt real!!! Hes a carton caracter dip wade. And a rasta is a black guy whos religlion forces him to smokes pot like my buddy tbone who you insalt with you”re stupid ingorantce. And why shold we eat gruel that”s just the most stupiddest thing plus they stoppped inventing it along time a go. And you cant color the oxygen you idiot, have you ever herd of a thing called “sience” oh and if we didn”t eat wed die!!!! Ever think of that pork face???? First you tell us to eat than you tell us we don’t. WTF? You make me laugh because your the most stuppidddest idiot who ever got born which how you did is no one nows.

  30. PolishSpring permalink
    11:53 pm

    Dear Mr. Mills,

    As always, your wisdom shines as the Northern Star of truth, guiding the garbage-ladden youth into the world of righteousness.
    Path is narrow, they better pack an apple for a snack, not some damned poptarts if their overgrown backsides are to fit.

    One problem, it isn’t just the youth food. The supermarket is woefully stuffed with all sorts of matter trying to pass for actual food.
    My motto is “thou shalt not shove in thy mouth anything your dear GreatGrandmother would not recognize”.

    And you’re absolutely right (naturally), that choice is limited to fresh and locally grown fruit, vegetables, non-gmo grains, meat from personally known farmer, and milk that’s seasonal from grassfed (antibiotic&hormone injection free) cows. All of which does not a lard-ass make.

    Kind regards,
    ~”Mr. Mills for President” supporter~
    Polish Spring

    • 6:02 pm

      Thank you very much Polish Spring.

      I’d like to see that motto of yours catch on with young people and young parents. I’m quite sure that my great grandmother wouldn’t recognize 90 per cent of the “food” people consume nowadays.

      Many thanks for visiting, Polish Spring. Very nice to hear from you again.

      Best regards,

      Don

  31. PolishSpring permalink
    11:55 pm

    My apologies if the post pops up twice, I keep experiencing perpetual technical difficulties of the blackberry kind.

    Polish Spring

    • Sedate Me permalink
      7:45 pm

      Eating too many blackberries have given you Internet posting diarrhea or something?

      I love the fresh fruit, but you gotta know your limits.

  32. lookingforsomethingtofind permalink
    1:46 am

    One of your best Mr. Mills.

    • 6:02 pm

      Thank you lookingforsomethingtofind.

      Very kind of you to say. Appreciate it.

      All the best,

      Don

  33. 1:58 am

    War and post war rations made for simple fare at the dinner table. My dad home from Korea wanted nothing more then some good food. Heaven help us if an eggplant found it’s way to the table. I seem to remember some “entertaining” foods including,
    Koogle Eyes Peanut Butter Man from the 1970s.
    Freakies Cereal came with refridgerator magnets in the box,Cracker Jacks with the prize inside.
    Loved the sailor saluting on the box.
    Can’t find the cream of wheat Don? Try Walmart. That’s where I buy it and whole oats too.
    I happen to agree with you and serve only healthy fare to my “sprogs?”.
    However when I visit my old parents, Dad gets an umbrella in his Ensure cause he likes it that way.
    Cheers!

    • 7:08 pm

      Many thanks gmomj,

      I’d say your old dad has earned that umbrella in his Ensure. Thanks for the tip on the Cream of Wheat – I’ll drop by the Walmart just as soon as I can work up the nerve. (I don’t normally like to buy my food in a place that also sells snow tires but me and “progress” have never really seen eye to eye.)

      Pass on my best regards to your parents and good luck with those kids of yours.

      Best regards,

      Don

  34. 4:54 am

    People are having more fun eating. Obesity proves it.

  35. 11:55 am

    I’m still wondering when they’ll come out with food that’s fun for adults to eat and that isn’t shaped like penises or breasts. There’s no imagination in the adult food section. All we get is stuff to make sure our colons remain cleansed and our fat intake is slightly under “life threatening.”

    Everything aimed at grownup eaters is some version of granola or a health bar or offensively bland. We’ve still got some life left in us, dammit! Give us something that says “You’ve earned it! Enjoy yourself!” The mini bottles of booze are pretty cool, I suppose. It makes you feel like some sort of mythical titan who is very slowly getting drunk and going broke. Like as if Valhalla had to make a last minute liquor store run.

    But that’s really about it. I mean, I can eat ice cream right from the carton without getting yelled at now, but just like staying up as late as I want, it seemed much, much more intriguing about 30 years ago.

    The answer is probably psychedelically-enhanced food, like Reese’s Puffs spiked with a proprietary blend of MDMA and cruelty-free peyote. Or dark chocolate bars dusted with LSD for slow days and PCP for armed robbery days.

    Time to head back into the “lab” (converted entryway) and do some serious “thinking” (Farmville).

    • 1:48 pm

      Thank you CLT,

      You raise an interesting point. Personally, I don’t want my meals to be “fun.” I get enough fun reading the obituaries, writing down suspicious licence plate numbers and throwing slippers at my television set. Having said that, however, I might be agreeable to the introduction of large print alphabet soup, saltwater “Tafty” (fashioned in the shape of our 27th President) or Young People Animal Crackers (in shapes like “hipster”, “rapper” and “stoner”).

      Perhaps a letter the folks at Campbell’s would be a good idea.

      All the best, CLT, and good luck in the lab.

      Don

  36. Dr Tim permalink
    11:11 pm

    Good to see you getting back into your stride Don.

  37. 6:19 pm

    I used to like my charcoaled sausages, mashed vegetables and slice of gravy.
    I found it very wholesome.
    Now i enjoy a nice salad or if i am feeling naughty i MAKE fish n chips.
    I hear you on the kids being fooled and spoiled with food.
    My only regret is i couldn’t provide a witty comeback.
    Cheers Don

    • 4:46 pm

      Thank you Art,

      It sounds appetizing – if somewhat unhealthy. Still, all things in moderation.

      Nice of you to stop in Art.

      Don

      p.s. I can’t remember the last time I heard the phrase “slice of gravy.”

  38. Madison permalink
    3:15 am

    You are TOO FUNNY!! Totally loving your blog. Today’s kids are so damn stupid – finally someone is saying what we’re all thinking.

    • 4:46 pm

      Many thanks Madison.

      I appreciate your stopping in and leaving me a comment.

      All the best,

      Don

  39. Sedate Me permalink
    7:48 pm

    Sir, I’m just barely old enough to remember when kids occasionally ate meals at the table with their parents instead shoving “food” in their faces in front of the TV/computer/cellphone.

    Growing up, I remember eating what is now called “healthy, organic, free range, locally sourced, whole foods”. Back in those days, the only thing we called it was “supper”. This is how sick society has become that actual, honest-to-God, food is the exotic exception to the highly manufactured, instant, junk “food” rule.

    Back then, the food tasted plenty good enough, if only because we weren’t brainwashed into demanding something else by a constant bombardment of ads for deep fried butter dipped in sugar and wrapped in bacon. We didn’t need mass produced, celebrity endorsed, glow in the dark, “food” that was “fun to eat”.

    Over supper, we were told what tomorrow’s chores would be, wedged in between stories of growing up in postwar East Germany. For example, scouring the fields after the harvesters had been through to look for potatoes that were too small for the machines to collect, or walking from town to town to find bread. Roast beef and carrots looked pretty damn good in that context. I didn’t need a dipping sauce endorsed by Vampire Weekend to get me to eat it.

    I know what these little shits need to make meal times more “fun”. They need to be told “Put this nutritious food in your mouth, or I’ll Tazer your tongue!”

    It would sure put a smile on my face.

    • 4:56 pm

      Many thanks Sedate Me.

      As usual, you make some excellent points – especially around how we’ve turned simple, decent food into some form of exotic anomaly – and adjusted the pricing accordingly I might add.

      Your tazer idea may have some benefits in addition to just encouraging young people to eat their peas. Associating meals with blinding pain instead of Sesame Street may motivate young people to leave a little something more than just tongue marks on their dinner plates.

      All the best, Sedate me.

      Don

      • Sedate Me permalink
        3:03 pm

        I think this is another side effect of ejecting grandparents from the family home. Grandparents were always full of dinner table horror stories that they could share as motivation for kids to appreciate their peas and parsnips.

        “FDR had me shovelling farmers’ fields off of city streets in exchange for a bowl of gruel.”

  40. 12:02 am

    Great post as usual Mr. Mills. That video clip that another reader left was horrible.

    Life is too short to eat crap. If I can’t pronounce, much less know the definition of an ingredient listed on something, it doesn’t go into my cart. Same goes for any gimic out there. Just give me the essentials or I’ll make it myself.

    This might make me a tad unpopular with my daughter as she gets older, but at least she’ll know where real food comes from and won’t be a walking list of preservatives.

    • 4:59 pm

      Thank you very much Zany Housewife.

      That was a disturbing clip wasn’t it? Doesn’t bode well for the future I fear.

      You’re right that your daughter may grouse a bit in the short term but I have to suspect that in the long run she’ll be grateful for your choices.

      Best regards,

      Don

  41. 4:34 am

    I couldn’t agree more. My five year old was diagnosed with type one diabetes at three and a half, so he needs to eat healthy. But even before then he never ate crappy food. He loves his veggies because we always made them part of the meal. On the rare chance we actually go out to eat, he always requests to go to the little family diner instead of McDonalds. Another great post, Don.

    • 5:02 pm

      Many thanks masterplanner,

      Glad to hear your boy enjoys his vegetables. They’ll serve him well. I have a little family diner not far from me as well and when I’m not in the mood to cook will sometimes stop in. At least there, I know that the meat in my chicken salad came off a real chicken.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  42. Claudia permalink
    3:10 am

    Glad your not related to me

  43. mysoulforsale permalink
    3:10 am

    My biggest problem with all the garbage we’re pumping into our children these days is that it’s making them sick. For example, numerous studies have found a connection between food dyes and ADHD, yet many parents’ answer to these illnesses is drugs rather than cleaning up their household diets. So sad.

  44. 9:53 am

    Great stuff, Donald. Could not agree more, which probably elevates me towards the higher levels of age.

    I’ll admit I’m a little worried about how to keep my kids on the straight and narrow when they arrive to the “wonders” of dinosaur shaped cereal and damn coco pops. Nothing against coco pops personally, but a bowl of oast is far more beneficial.

    Luckily they come from an environment where they are still grateful for food, and food. But children adapt so quickly.

    What about shampoo Donald? Have you walked down the supermarket aisel lately and tried to decide exactly what coloured concoction you should choose to wash your lovely locks? It becomes a scientific excursion and you need MSc to even start to understadn what poisons you might be injesting!

  45. 3:49 pm

    Hehe, My dear departed mom was famous for her niggardly portions. No that’s not the N-word, it is a perfectly fine word that means cheap. If you get hungry enough you’ll filch uncooked spaghetti and eat it. There were no picky eaters in our family!

  46. 2:01 pm

    I must admit that’s one of the biggest regrets I have. My mom was a very good cook, and cooked delicious, healthy meals like roast beef and tuna casserole–but I didn’t realize they were delicious, because I’d been brainwashed by “Ronald McDonald” and the “Marvelous, Magical Burger King” into thinking they were not. Now I live over fifty miles away from my mom, who’s still a very good cook–and I sure do miss that real food!

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