Monday, January 17, 2011

Parenting and Food Choices

I've been reading Anthony Bourdain's new book Medium Raw, and in one chapter he goes into detail how he has an entire propaganda campaign to sort of brainwash his 2 year old daughter on the evils of McDonalds.

He has to talk to her often about how Ronald McDonald smells like poop and has cooties and how the food served in McDonalds has nasty things in it (it does!).

But the entire passage left me puzzled - if you've never taken your kid into a fast food restaurant, how can your kid beg to eat there?

I've taken Aidan to McDonalds three times and it was ONLY to play at the play structure to inject some variety into our usual park outings. I ordered a Diet Coke and sat at the table outside while he played. We haven't been back in about a year.

My kid never even MENTIONS McDonalds or any fast food outlet because we simply never patronize such places. Aidan only mentions McDonalds when we pass by it and he associates the restaurant with the play structure, not the food. I'm proud to say none of the disgusting menu items have never passed my son's lips because I did my job as a parent.

So the whole controversy about San Francisco banning Happy Meal toys is absurd to me. This should be the job of parents. The rest of the country laughs at SF when they see such a story (John Stewart had a real gem on his show about this subject) because it is clear that the government is overstepping its bounds in nannying. What do you think?

Back to Anthony Bourdain: the question I kept having when reading the chapter on his daughter and Evil McDonalds is, "Why is McDonalds even on this child's radar?" All fast food restaurants are not in my child's consciousness at all. We don't make it a big deal, we don't go to fast food restaurants, and my son doesn't watch TV with the advertising about it. It's so ingrained in our lifestyle it doesn't even take any effort to avoid, either. And because it didn't take any effort, the huge amount of effort that Bourdain went through for his daughter gave me pause for consideration.

What kinds of efforts do you go to for your kid regarding fast food? Are you like Anthony Bourdain putting in lots of effort or like me where it's not an issue at all? I'd love your feedback.


lillian said...

I couldn't agree more !!!!!!

Andrew said...

A blog I agree with in it's entirety. My two kids have been in McDonalds on two occasions for some chips (french fries) when we were desperate. They have no idea what the golden arches are or a happy meal etc. If they did find out and ask to go there I would say no as the food is not healthy and doesn't taste that good. My girls love to go out to eat but because of the choices their parents (me) have made their favourite place is Fuji!