Nov 18 2014
I love to cook and I love to feed people. At the theatre commune where I interned during college, I was the one who baked the vegan cookies for the Tuesday night “Shapenote Sings.” The happy stress of preparing the seder for 20 of my closest non-Jewish friends is the highlight of my spring. I love cooking so much that in the summer, when I could be relaxing and enjoying my time off, I run a small bakery and breakfast restaurant. I assume it comes with the territory of being Jewish, although my Italian grandmother-in-law stakes a big claim to the food-is-love territory, too.
My daughter Penrose is 6 months old, which means it’s time for her to start eating solids. I take all things cooking and eating seriously, and so after talking with friends and doing some reading, my husband and I decided to go with Baby-Led Weaning. And as disdainful as I can be of capital-letter parenting methods, this is one I’m on board with all the way. For the uninitiated, BLW entails giving appropriately sized and seasoned (with no or very low salt) pieces of food (no honey, egg whites or peanut products for now) to a baby for them to play with, drop, feed to the dog, or eat as they see fit. No spoon-feeding, no rice gruel. Lots of mess and actually, lots of fun. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 17 2014
Adam Mansbach is an author of contemporary literary fiction, including the books “Rage is Back” and “The End of the Jews.” However, he’s undoubtedly best known as the author of the New York Times best-selling classic of subversive parenting, “Go the F**k to Sleep.” In that book, Mansbach articulated the deep, almost primal frustration of a parent whose kid just won’t go the…well, you get it. The book was an immediate sensation. His new book, “You Have to F*cking Eat,” taps into that same seemingly bottomless reservoir of parental annoyance, also to humorous effect.
Mansbach took time last week to chat with Kveller contributing editor Jordana Horn about Lenny Bruce, radical honesty and when it’s OK to unleash parental F-bombs.
When you’re not writing these books, would you call yourself a “potty mouth” in real life? Is your internal narrator a Lenny Bruce-esque salty sailor?
Internally, I’m very much a Lenny Bruce/Richard Pryor mash-up. I come from the school of thought that, when properly deployed, profanity can be the most eloquent form of language we have. I grew up around people who cursed with skill and took pleasure in it. When I’m talking to myself, I sound like this in my head all the time. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 14 2014
You’ll never hear me tell my kids to join the “clean plate club.” My father used to always push back when my grandparents told me to clean my plate. Somewhere in between their depression-mentality and his realization that giving your kid a stomachache and making them overeat really didn’t accomplish anything lies that reasonable parental desire to help curb our kids’ seemingly innate tendency to waste food.
Whether you’re that parent that really won’t let your kid eat anything else except what is served for dinner, or you’re that parent who gives in and let’s them have a bowl of cereal, or, heaven forbid, the one who becomes a short-order cook, most of us cringe when our kids waste the food they’re served or serve themselves.
How convenient then that we can use Tu Bishvat, the Jewish “Birthday of the Trees,” as an opportunity to reduce their wastefulness (Tu Bishvat is from sundown on Wednesday to sundown on Thursday). Kids really get a kick out of this birthday concept and want to learn more. If the trees are so special that they deserve their own holiday, we should have respect for the food that comes off of them and be sure to use it respectfully.
Have you ever become frustrated at how much your kids waste or wondered if it really is as much as you think it is? Here’s what you can do at home: Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 8 2013
When my daughter started eating solid foods, we did exactly as the pediatrician said. Start with rice cereal, then move to fruits and vegetables that are yellow & orange, then to fruits and vegetables that are green, purple, and red. My daughter liked to eat and I never really thought more about it. As she grew older, she grew pickier. She moved from eating most things to only eating some things to only eating a few things: macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, bagels (with butter, no cream cheese), grilled cheese, and a pretty good variety of fruit. But NO VEGETABLES.
No vegetables. Not one, not ever. When she was 2 1/2, we went to a friend’s house, who just happens to be a professional chef, and she served purple and orange carrots, roasted vegetables, and meatloaf with veggies hidden inside. My daughter picked at the meatloaf, but that was it. At 3 years old, I hosted a dinner play date for a bunch of friends. We made ravioli, edamame, and steamed carrots. My daughter refused the carrots, only tried the edamame because we called them magic beans while singing a song from Yo Gabba Gabba about trying new foods, and she even hated the ravioli, which is cheese and pasta–the same as macaroni and cheese–but I guess it’s not, to her. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 4 2013
A few days ago I was busy in my kitchen preparing a double batch of honey cakes for the upcoming Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. In between measuring out cups of honey, sugar, and flour, I found myself thinking about the traditional blessing for a happy, healthy, and sweet new year that Jews around the world wish each other in the weeks and days leading up to the holiday.
Mostly, I rattle off the words without much deeper thought as to what I am actually saying. Naturally I want my loved ones and the Jewish people as a whole to be blessed with health and happiness. Sweetness sure sounds like a good thing, too. But, as I peered down into the bowl of gooey cake batter, I started to wonder what type of sweetness I was talking about and whether it was such a good blessing to be doling out after all. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 29 2013
I gave birth to my daughter six months ago, and, a few sleep-deprived weeks later, I realized it was right around the 10th “anniversary” of when I was admitted to a hospital for an eating disorders inpatient program.
When I try to reconcile the memory of my scared, enervated teen self with myself today, as a (somewhat) confident mother of two with visibly muscled biceps from lugging around a giant purse, a diaper bag, a breast pump, a baby, and sometimes a 38-pound 3-year-old, it’s difficult. But I still vividly remember the feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and physical weakness. As it turns out, you can be too thin after all. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 31 2013
As my children trickle home from school and their tummies begin to rumble, I can hear the question before it even begins to leave their mouths. With authority that they think is their birthright, they ask me, “What are we having for dinner?”
Oh, how I have grown to strongly dislike this inquiry. When the question begins to form, it is not just on the lips of one child but the lips of four little mouths whining in unison. It’s a rhetorical question for sure and experience has taught me that there is no correct answer that will satisfy all eight ears. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 29 2013
Our 16-month-old daughter has always been on the low end of the weight percentile scales for her age. She dipped down to 0-3% a few months ago, but averages around 9%. She’s normal if not a tad above average for her height.
She’s a noodle. We get really excited when she moves up a diaper size. She’s up to size 4. As if I didn’t have enough to be anxious about as a new mom, the percentile game added a number value to my self-perceived success as a parent. Though a bit underweight, the doctors assure us that she is doing just great developmentally, and suggest we mix butter into her food to get some extra calories into her. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 15 2013
We all have plans for how our children will eat. The other parents will drool with jealousy over the varied and sophisticated palate of our little ones. They’ll run around the playground clutching carrot and celery sticks and turn their nose up at white bread. This works for a while, until your child leaves the house. Then it’s all over.
For the first time since I had my son, in January of 2012, I braved going to a Friday night Shabbaton dinner at my shul. With Shabbat starting early in the winter, it was pre-meltdown time for him and my 4-year old-daughter. Of course I forgot our little booster seat, so my eating-dinner-like-a-mentschette plan was in major jeopardy. When a family friend (aka the “baby whisperer”) told me it would be his pleasure to hold little “Dimples” on his lap during the fish course, I threw him the baby and ran to my seat to stuff my face while I had two hands and a lap free. Read the rest of this entry →
May 17 2012
I never thought my diaper bag would save a life. But the EpiPen that I carry in that diaper bag serves as a reminder that my child’s life could be in danger at any time, in any place. I need to be prepared to recognize his allergic reaction, stab him in the leg with the EpiPen for 10 seconds while holding him down, and get emergency help ASAP. All while keeping his 16 -month-old twin brother safe, too.
The challenge of food allergies hasn’t been the countless trips to the dermatologist when my son’s face, legs, ankles and diaper area were weeping, seeping, and raw. It wasn’t the day my mother held him down while a nurse drew blood from his tiny veins and I paced the hallway holding his brother, waiting for his screams to erupt the silence. It wasn’t giving up dairy and eggs while breastfeeding. It wasn’t even the morning my husband awakened to find the baby’s entire face swollen so severely that we couldn’t see the whites of his eyes–and within minutes we were on our first ambulance ride. Read the rest of this entry →