Saturday, March 21, 2015

Complaining at dinner

This is an insightful article on complaining at dinnertime.  Specifically, it posits that one factor discouraging people from cooking more at home is that their families always complain about the food that they do cook.  I was a bit shocked to hear how common this apparently is, because the "brazen discourtesy" of complaining about the food someone has prepared for you is so alien to what we encourage or allow in our family.  If our kids are ever picky, and especially if they explicitly say that something is "yucky", we swiftly and strictly reprimand them and explain that A) food is never yucky, because why would so many people be eating a particular thing (eggplant, greens, liver, whatever) if it were indeed yucky?, and B) when someone cooks for you it is a gift to appreciate, not to spurn.  In this sense I think our childrearing philosophy is closer to that a peasant immigrant family with very clear rules about acceptable behavior, as opposed to the "typical" US family with its many breakdowns in normal human interaction and common decency.  Indeed, when my four-year-old Sam does something inappropriate at table or in general, we can often see the clear mark of his presumably more typical, spoiled, bourgeois classmates, since he reproduces phrases or terms we never use in the house, often without being able to explain exactly what they mean.

The moral of the story is:  Don't complain about what someone else is cooking for you.  And don't always make someone else cook for you, for that matter.  Do your part for your family's cooking!

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