Thursday, October 13, 2011

Epic Food Fails (Part 2 - guest post)

Sometimes even the simplest attempts to please a child's discerning tastes can backfire, as my friend Thea explains here, courtesy of her terrific blog, Nutgraf.

I only wish I could have stopped her before she prepared lunch that day. I would have told her of the time I put a whole banana into my daughter's lunch box and refrigerated it overnight before sending her on her merry way the next morning. When I looked in the box that afternoon, there was a black, mushy shriveled shadow of what was once a noble fruit.

I got the hint: Mom, there's a reason these things don't grow in Alaska.

Frozen Banana: Toddler lunch faux pas

Toddler lunches are one of the banes of my existence. Here are the questions that go through my mind each evening as I prepare Offspring’s noontime repast:
  • Is it too much?
  • Is it too little?
  • Is it nutritionally balanced?
  • Is it gross?
  • Is there enough vegetation?
  • Will she eat it?
  • Will it keep well?
  • Do they heat it up at all if it’s something obvious like meatballs?
  • Is the refrigerator there any good?
I admit to sneaking a peek at the other lunches that are lined up in the fridge at daycare, and I can’t identify any of it. Possibly because of my pre-coffee status at dropoff time. Naturally, there is a nut allergy in the vicinity, so no nuts are verboten. Removing peanut butter from the equation seriously impacts my lunchtime strategy.
The Tupperware divided lunch containers I bought are divided into one large and two small compartments. The big one, I use for chicken nuggets, fish sticks, turkey meatballs, pizza bits or pasta, sometimes with a supplemental string cheese thrown in for good measure. The two small areas will have some kind of vegetable and some kind of fruit – often strawberries because the kid is CRAZY for strawberries and I am crazy for the kid. Also of note (at least to me) is that none of the other kids have as comprehensive a lunch-containment solution in the daycare fridge. Perhaps because their parents aren’t obsessive.
I try to make a point of including fruit in each day’s offering, since a) she loves the stuff, b) fruit is good for you, and c) if I can’t obsess about something and make arcane rules for myself that makes my days just that much more complicated, what *can* I do? The other day I ran out of fresh fruit and decided to throw in some sliced frozen bananas I’d been saving for smoothies. Now I’d never used a once-frozen banana in its thawed state before, and had a bad feeling about how it might turn out, so I sliced more than she’d need and stuck the surplus on a plate in the fridge, intending to check on them around lunchtime to see what she would be facing.
This is what I did to my child.
Ugh. I am a terrible mother.
The next day when I dropped her off, I stopped the teacher to explain that I had no idea what happens to bananas when they thaw, and that this won’t happen again. Very gently, she expressed relief.
So now you know what happens to frozen bananas when they are thawed.
Note for future testing: Do the test overnight *before* sending experimental matter to school.

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