Just been listening to radio comment about the obesity "epidemic" among children. I was eating breakfast at the time (All Bran, Muesli, linseeds in minute proportions with soya milk & a dollop of yogurt), brown seeded toast & Vegemite, delicious oatcake- made in Dunoon - and home-made marmalade, tea, orange juice). I never used to enjoy breakfast until I realised that it was dehydration which made me feel sick in the morning! I don't intend to go on about the delights of my own diet (though the soup I made yesterday will be great for lunch...) and I know that not having to go out to work means I can make soup midweek and be around to eat it. But that's not the point.
It seems to me that it's an education thing. If your own children grow up eating food which tastes and looks good, which they know was prepared so that they and you can sit down to give it due attention, they will not be so attracted by instant food. The few microwave meals I've eaten remind me of aeroplane food - or maybe hospital food - and frankly I'd rather eat my fingernails than one of these. Is it the fact that on the packaging they look like "real" meals such as Granny might have made? Granny would birl in her grave.
It's also a matter of perception. "I haven't the time to cook. I work too hard. I come home late and can't be bothered." Presumably these worker bees eat *something*? Will and prioritising come in here. If such a person were to consider the cumulative effect of the additives and the salt they are about to consume, would they still persist in thinking that it was a waste of their precious time to assemble 30 minutes' worth of real food? Nigel Slater is my great guru when it comes to real fast food, and at least one of his recipes has become what might coyly be called "my signature dish".(OK - the spicy lentils, if you must know)
I feel I'm ranting. But having never been one of life's Marthas, and having worked full time while bringing up a family (who are still relatively slender ...and have all their own teeth ...) and having observed the misery of fat children lumbering round the games field in the wake of their skinny pals (and yes, there are still some around) I become incensed when I see parents indulging in this kind of ...what? Abuse? Neglect? Choose how you would define it. Bring a child into the world, stick a bottle in its face because "it involves its father" (bah!), teach it to prefer highly salted/sugared food - and in what seems like the twinkle of an eye you have a couch potato who lives on fizzies and those wildly moreish round crisps. Or the wee square ones.
Last thing: it makes a huge difference to eating habits if you sit at a table and give the act of eating some importance. As Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth said : "The sauce to meat is ceremony." Right enough, her old man was briefing a blood-smeared murderer at the time when he should have been sitting down to his dinner. But you get my drift.