It’s not easy feeding children. Some of them just don’t like to eat. They instinctively know that even if it’s shaped like a bear, it’s a chicken nugget and a chicken nugget is made out of chicken (hopefully) and eating chicken would make mommy happy, so, no, that child is not eating it. It also doesn’t help when their father is a picky eater. When we are invited out for Shabbos meals, I inevitably get the phone call, “What does your husband eat again?” And I have to respond, “Pretend you are cooking for a 90-year-old man and that’s what he eats. He eats kasha varnishkas. But really, he only eats the varnishkas, which is a fancy word for bow tie noodles. So just make him noodles. Or he can just sit at the kids table and eat from there.”
In any event, when it comes to finding foods your kids like, along comes Pesach and a whole new set of rules apply. After convincing your child and yourself that bagels are a nutritious food group (as opposed to Oreos), out comes the matzoh. After finally getting your child to eat whole grain Cheerios (or Fruit Loops, same shape) here comes Fruity O’s (which are basically made of and taste like sand… Is there fiber in sand?). My eldest picky eater discovered boiled flanken one Pesach, so, like his father, he eats like he lives in a nursing home (not that there’s anything wrong with that since I will be ending up in a nursing home, sooner than later, if I keep writing about my boys and their father).
My favorite food on Pesach is matzoh cereal. With milk. And butter. And sugar. And just a teeny bit of salt. When I was little, my grandpapa used it to make it for me just like that. And now, as an adult (in years, certainly not maturity) when I make myself the cereal, I close my eyes and it’s like my grandfather is there with me. My dad comes over before yom tov and makes charoset with my boys using the same bowl and chopper that my grandfather used to make it with. And though
I have trouble remembering this morning, I can clearly remember my siblings and I taking turns chopping the walnuts and apples with my grandfather’s gentle hand helping us. Because really, that is what this time of year is all about. It’s not about reprimanding your kids for not eating vegetables (a pickle is a vegetable, just eat it.) And it’s not stressing over their protein intake, you have years to worry about that. It’s about making memories that they will carry with them into the next generation. And if all they want to eat are those bear shaped chocolate lollycones from Amazing Savings, just let them.
Wishing all of you a zissen Pesach!
Banji Latkin Ganchrow is a Teaneck resident and writer who enjoys traveling across the country by car with her husband and three sons. She is also the author of the blog holycrapimgonnabe40 and hopes to, one day, write a best-selling novel and appear on the Ellen Show.
By Banji Latkin