Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enjoying Food With All Your Senses

"Don't play with your food!" Have you ever heard or said these words? I used to hear these words a lot when I was little. My mom always reminded me not to play with my food... My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, and she was very strict and believed that children should be seen, not heard and other things along those lines. So I think one of the reasons my mom was so strict was my grandmother's influence.

Interestingly, I also said these words quite frequently to the teenager when he was little. It's so easy to say and do the same things your parents did and said, even though you said you never would...

With the toddler, I am a lot more relaxed, and I truly have learned to pick my battles.

The other day, we had kimbap ("Korean sushi": rice, vegetables, & seafood rolled into seaweed) for lunch.

The toddler started by taking a piece and eating it.

But then he looked at a piece and did this,

and this,

and this,

until he finally ended up with this! It was beautiful.

He proceeded to pick up the individual ingredients, and he ate them. He also smelled some of the ingredients before eating them. I realized that the toddler was truly enjoying his food with all his senses, and I was glad that I didn't tell him to stop playing with his food. He ate until he was full, having a great time.

Watching the toddler play with his food before eating it, was a great reminder that food is supposed to be fun and pleasurable. I believe that if we focus on the beauty, smell, and taste of our food, it is much easier to be satisfied with less food and to truly enjoy what we eat.

I think "interactive" meals are a great way to "play" with your food a bit. For example, I like to make tacos that everyone assembles. Or breakfast burritos that everyone fills and rolls up. We haven't had an interactive dinner or breakfast in a while; I think it's about time for all of us to play a bit with our food... :o)

Questions: Were you allowed to play with your food as a child? When was the last time that you played with your food? If you have children, do you let them play with their food?

Be well,