Anything Plus Broccoli

March 11th, 2011 · 25 Comments · Picky Eating, Pork and Beef, Posts by Andy, Quick

There’s a formula we deploy, in our heads at least, whenever we feed our kids something that isn’t exactly homemade, DALS-approved, crafted by the kindly elves who affix those green-and-white organic labels to everything — or, more to the point, good for them. Think of it as the The Tranformative (and Self-Justifying) Law of Retroactive Nutritiousness.

____________ + Side of Broccoli = Healthy Enough.

Convenient, right? Go ahead, and fill in that blank. Mac and cheese. Panko-encased shrimp tempura from T Joe’s. Grilled (yellow American) cheese and bacon. Strawberry jam sandwich on soft white bread. See how good that feels? How strangely virtuous? Do you see how the broccoli, by some metaphysical trick, just erases guilt? As Abby would say, it’s very magic! I often hear laws of science described by smart people as “immutable” and I’m never sure what that means, exactly, but I’m pretty sure this broccoli law is immutable, too. There’s danger in it, of course, and it should be applied with moderation, but it does make us feel a little better — or maybe a little less guilty — about ourselves when we, say, fry up an entire package of hot dogs in butter and serve them on toast with ketchup.

Ah, the hot dog sandwich. Please don’t think less of us because we serve these, somewhat regularly, to our kids. The hot dog sandwich was one of the first things — along with Steak-Umms, Beefaroni, and Toll House cookies — that I learned to make for myself. Growing up, my parents both worked which, in those regrettable early eighties days, when mulleted, unsupervised tweens roamed the earth, made me a full-fledged latch-key kid. Get home from school, knock off the homework, make a hot dog sandwich, watch The Jeffersons. That was the routine. I’ve kept at least one part of that past alive and, I know this won’t come as a surprise, but the kids really seem to enjoy it, if clean plates are any indication. Try them on a Saturday afternoon, after soccer practice. Or  on vacation, after a long morning on the beach. Or — and I apologize for this, as I know this is a family website — at 1 am after a few beers. Am I proud of this? Not particularly. But the broccoli has set me free. Now, if I could only figure out how to get it to work its guilt-erasing magic in other parts of my life, because I still have nightmares about missing that ballet recital. – Andy (more…)

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