October 20, 2008

Food, Glorious Food

It's probably a good thing I didn't speak or understand the language of my table mates at Pita Inn. It might have turned ugly.

Pita Inn is a local treasure. The food is inexpensive, fast and tasty. Judging by the number of diners in head scarves or salwaar kemeez, the food is the genuine article. It's also consistently crowded. Pita Inn does a brisk take-out business, so the entryway is inevitably packed. To dine in, you must wait until someone vacates a chair, then grab it. This is how Jeff and I found ourselves sharing a table with a young couple and their 2-year-old.

The mother was desperately trying to siphon soup into her unwilling daughter's mouth. Each spoonful was preceded by 30 seconds of loud coaxing, cajoling, threatening, begging, followed by squealing, crying, sulking refusal. After twelve such tries, I wanted to beat the woman about the head with my plastic spoon.

My parents also had old world attitudes about feeding children, although they would not have engaged in such preamble to each mouthful. As a result, I have taken a radical feeding approach with my own kids. To wit: make healthy food available, shut up about it.

After a dozen years of this philosophy and its success--no dinner table tantrums, no weight issues, no waste--I have become fairly strident. Unfortunately, this woman didn't get my telepathic messages. My brain was screaming at her, "JUST LEAVE THE KID ALONE ALREADY!"

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