Feeding children. That starts being traumatic at about the time they learn to speak. “No, don’t won’ it”, “yucky”, “I fink it’s too green” are all familiar kid-speak terms for “Mummy, I would rather not eat that today”, “It will do nothing to engage my appetite” and “I find it visually unappealing”. Force-feeding is illegal, so parents are on the horns of a dilemma.
It’s important that children enjoy food. Funky Lunch provides ideas that will persuade your youngsters to tuck into epicurean works of art in the guise of sandwiches. Yes, there is the nutritional aspect, and everyone should be concerned that youngsters have a healthy balanced diet, but there are the social implications to consider as well. We need to introduce kids to a wide variety of foods so that as adults they will have educated palates, and relish the prospect of new and different foods. Well, OK, so that might be a distant dream, but making sandwiches fun to eat could promote an interest in food in general. I don’t think you seriously have to worry that your four-year old will still be demanding his lunch in the shape of a chimp when he is an adolescent… well, unless all his friends think it’s ‘cool’ (or whatever the current phrase might be).
I find it quite disturbing to see kids lifting that top slice of bread with the same degree of enthusiasm as one might attach to prising up some old floorboards, and with the same expectation – there is something nasty under there. Is it that they have thwarted parents’ previous attempts at poisoning them? Well, hardly. It’s more that unless it’s a very thin slice of cheap ham then it might be too exotic for their taste buds. Unless it’s a sliver of ungarnished plastic processed cheese then it should be cast away. They need to be introduced to the concept that food can be both delicious and fun, whilst distracting them from new and varied sandwich fillings. Slipping them a plate of still-living sea urchins can come a bit later.
Mark Northeast has penned a volume that will inspire not only you but the younger members of the family as well. These are designs for sandwiches, and there is nothing wrong with these snacks if the bread is as good quality as the fillings. The sandwiches are little works of art which your young ones might like to help prepare. These culinary exercises take the fear away from food. How could anyone possibly be anxious about eating a three-eyed monster?
Each little sandwich can have a healthy filling of your choice, and has vegetable garnishes in the guise of arms, legs, teeth, hair, scales etc. The kids will be so distracted by who the sandwich is that they will forget to question the contents, or the fact that the leaves on that daisy are made of their least favourite vegetable. Even less likelihood of sulky resistance if the aforementioned flower was cultivated by their own small hands.
Funky Lunch is indeed an amusing book full of clowns, farmyard animals, creatures of the deep, and a pirate galleon, that will have you smiling from page one. It will encourage both you and your children to think about at least some meals in a different way. If lunch is fun then perhaps the trauma might be dispelled from dinner. There are ideas aplenty here for your children and for entertaining their friends. Value for money and a great gift for any fretting parents.
Funky Lunch – happy food for happy children
Author: Mark Northeast
Published by Absolute Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018