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Save the Kids!

Sabine Schneider
Sabine Schneider

I always thought they were exaggerating when friends told me about people who will only eat fatty fried slop, such as hash browns, plasticky-looking sausages, soggy bacon, battery eggs and tons of oil-dripping chips – all washed down with gallons of fizzy drinks like coke or energy fiz, half a teaspoon of which would make me look as if I’d slept with my fingers plugged into a power socket.

But these people really exist. I’ve seen them myself. “Normal” people whom I wouldn’t have suspected of trying to kill themselves with pseudo food. And they really – as in REALLY!! - don’t eat anything else. Nada. Zilch.

I’d always wondered what all the fuss on telly is about – Jamie Oliver and the like bleating about killing our kids. And of course I thought that was somewhere else! Aren’t the really ghastly things always happening somewhere else? In the case of food they’re happening right here.

Especially in light of that new government and its education minister Anne Tolley’s scrapping the requirement of schools to sell healthy lunches instead of foodlike substances that make them sick and obnoxious, will cause the health system to collapse even further and, of course, will kill them in the long run. But maybe that’s the government’s plan to keeping population growth in check.

Our kids grow up in families where the parents can’t or won’t cook and won’t eat anything remotely foodlike. Those parents hate food that is green, red or orange – in fact, anything that isn’t one of a dozen shades of brown. It’s not because they don’t like anything else, it’s because they don’t know anything else. Even if they’ve heard of a variety of food, they often don’t recognise it when it is presented to them. And what they don’t know they don’t like. It’s that simple. Kids imitate their parents. That’s how they learn. So the bad attitude toward food is passed on to the next generation.

And what do you do when parents don’t give a shit about their kids? When all they care about is their own egos and their suicidal eating habits. You could argue that they themselves were the victims of their parents’ likes and dislikes. Now we’re approaching my generation and I must admit that you’d be right. My generation has let their kids get away with blue murder. My generation has let their kids down. We were too busy finding our roots, smoking dope and generally having too much of a cushy life to be concerned about something as mundane as food. Healthy food? Tell that to someone who gives a damn. No wonder we now have a serious problem.

I teach cooking at nightschools and I’ve come across several students who didn’t recognise this vegetable or that ingredient. But there was one woman who blew me away with not recognising unpeeled potatoes. I wasn’t able to say anything much. But IT spoke volumes!

Everyone out there who has kids and claims to love them:
First teach yourself * and then make an effort to instill in them the love, passion and taste for real food. If you don’t do it, nobody will. Even if they don’t want to eat this or that or the next thing – be persistent and make colourful, tasty, fresh food attractive to yourself and to them. Help them recognise different fruits and vegetables. Take them to a market garden to buy something in season. Even better, make a little garden and grow veges with them.

We humans are natual sloths and gluttons – if we’re not trained to move with joy and eat good food until we’re full, we will not move at all and stuff ourselves with greasy, sugary crap until we explode. Let’s train the kids.


*Your local high school probably has a nightschool programme with cooking classes. They provide a safe and fun learning environment where everybody sits in the same boat as you. So I dare you to go and learn, then pass it on to your kids.

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