Confessions of a food fascist

2012-01-13 09:53

My friend joked that she knew as soon as the potential swimming teacher gave my ­one-year-old a Jolly Jammer biscuit I wouldn’t be taking my child there for swimming lessons. You see, I am infamous in my mothers’ circle for my zero tolerance to junk food and sugar.

Food is about so much more than nutrition and our relationship with it begins in the womb. So, it follows, that my transformation into a food fascist began when I was pregnant.

Somewhere, lost in the hundreds of thousands of words I read in the run-up to giving birth, was a story about how what you eat echoes through the amniotic fluid and begins the process of developing taste. I ate a whole lot of garlic, chilli and herbs.

Another article explained that breast-feeding has a similar effect – the variety of flavours the mother eats find its way into the milk and continue the development of taste. I did find to the detriment of my sleep that the odd unusual flavour – liquorice, memorably – caused screaming and wind rather than a taste sensation.

So it followed that when my baby was six months old and it was time to start introducing solid food, I was extra careful about what she tasted. After one mouthful of the tasteless gloop in the jars I started cooking.

For months I puréed vegetables and fruit, made chicken stock with no salt and made sure she tried something new every day. I spent my weekends cooking endless recipes, puréeing and freezing, slowly leaving in lumps.
Little did I know this was the easy bit.

The tough part is when other people enter the equation.

The well-meaning auntie who arrives with sticky sweets or the granny who says: “Ah shame, let him have some juice.” I am notorious for saying “no” and nobody gives my child sweets unless they clear it with me first.

I am sure they gossip voraciously about me too, but my broccoli-eating child will have the last laugh.

Parties are the exception, but I draw the line at party packs. The last one I confiscated had three fizzers, a Chomp, a fizzpop and a packet of crisps in it.

I am hoping moderation and a taste for good wholesome food is what I nurture in my child.

» Read my food blog Some More Please and follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala


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