Thursday, April 2, 2009

Armenian style crackers

When my daughter comes to me saying "Mom, I want something to eat, but something that's bad for you", I know I'm in for trouble.

To me, it illustrates perfectly the deep emotional completely irrational relationship we have with food. Beyond our basic appetite for food which results from hunger we may sometimes find ourselves inexplicably tied up in a love/hate relationship with food. We may want to gorge on more food, faster, or junkfood not to satisfy our stomachs but our minds.

This is why I take proper care to smooth out any sudden cravings of my children or myself by giving in the occasional indulgence or blatantly refusing to let go. I know this relationship with food needs nurturing and balance as our health both mental and physical, our wellbeing and happiness are at stake.

One of the keys to success is to educate my kids about what goes in their mouths. When I mention to my daughter there are chemicals in processed foods or on fruit and vegetables, her natural instinct is to say what? chemicals? I'm not eating that. Now she knows what organic means.

She also knows the steak on her plate comes from a cow. Her initial apprehension was rapidly won over by her quick curious child mind and she asked what part. I responded the butt. She laughed, made an expression of disgust and went on eating thinking we adults definitely do funny things. But what I ensured was that she doesn't make what could be a shocking discovery at a later age, explained in a way that could lead to a dramatic change in her diet and in herself.

The benefits of eating from a varied plate are not only measurable in calories and vitamin intake but equally importantly in the unquantifiable pleasure of taste that satisfies the soul. I want to empower my children with confidence, knowledge and respect for food so that when they're old enough they don't turn around and gulp down all the junk food they'll feel they've been deprived of all their youth. So that when they are on their own, they do what comes naturally to them. So that wholesome healthy food becomes to them good to eat and good to think and that emotional battle with food bad food, too much food is finally over.

At home, I'm trying my hand at some of the foods I know my kids will love snacking on and I can feel good about giving them such as those crackers. It is basically a slightly sweetened bread dough that is rolled out so thin it crisps up in the oven. You can either precut the dough to have uniform shapes or just cut off shards when baked.