How is food viewed as food

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This sentence has remained in the educational repertoire of many parents for generations over generations: You don't play with food. But why not? Is it just a matter of age, morals, or just outdated?

With some grandparents, their grandchildren's learning to eat is accompanied by incredulous looks. Having often experienced the shortage at first hand or passed it on from their own parents, they have been brought up to handle food sparingly and with particular care. Use instead of waste. Throwing away is frowned upon. When the food of the grandchildren lands on the floor after extensive exploration, it is not just views, but entire basic attitudes that can collide. You do not play with food! But can't eating also be a game?

Playing is learning

Any kind of exploration and discovery of the world is a game for babies. The game is actually their method of learning. With all your senses you can feel, try, look at, feel, taste, sniff but also tear, smeared, torn, squashed and mashed down to the last detail. All of this is part of learning about taste and smell, from texture and consistency to experiencing and testing the laws of gravity - especially when the little darling throws something off the high chair for the 10th time.

All in all, it is a curious test, a true explosion of the senses and thus a pure adventure - something that adults are hardly allowed to experience. For parents who allow this game to be played extensively, the meal ends with a rag, hand brush and floor mopping. What resonates is not infrequently one's own ambivalence.

Appreciation and fun are not mutually exclusive

Polarized with eating games. It is true that babies are usually allowed to play and, in the sense of exploring their food, because it is part of it as a learning process, but also because many families today no longer have to pay careful attention to whether something becomes inedible as a result of playing. And that's exactly where the crux of the matter lies, the fine line to waste. In the case of older children, gimmicks are often strictly prohibited. Little reflected arguments from starving people elsewhere have only limited convincing effects. A credible argument could be based on an appeal to the careful and not wasteful use of food. Because our food needs a lot of energy and time until it finally lands on our plates. It is important to instill appreciation and gratitude for food in children from an early age. However, this in no way excludes being able to experience enjoyment and fun while eating, because the eye and the imagination eat too.

Imagination for more appetite

Fun food ideas of funny fruit faces, carved vegetable animals and whole meals that are decorated in a child-like manner to promote the desire and fun of eating have been circulating in books and on the Internet for years. But none of this is necessary - a little imagination is enough: Simple meatballs in tomato sauce turn into a rice volcano with lava sauce and rocks. The little ones taste twice as good and less popular foods can be imaginatively advertised to idiosyncratic children. Many parents even swear by these tricks and gimmicks with little eaters who refuse to eat.

Food for handicrafts - yes or no?

The question of whether food should be used for handicrafts is controversial. When painting Easter eggs, the age-old tradition only focuses on the shell, the egg itself is still eaten. When coloring Easter eggs with food, the food that is used for coloring is mostly discarded. For this purpose, chemical tablets are dispensed with, which ultimately end up in the wastewater.

Cress heads sown in clay pots are not only cute, but also edible and at the same time convey the connections between emergence and harvest. But what about potato printing in which a potato cut in half and carved into motifs is used as a stamp? Here the potato is used exclusively for playing or doing handicrafts. Instead of wasting food, you should also think outside the box and consider what things that would otherwise end up in the trash could be used to create great craft ideas. Up-cycling is a big trend and sustainable at the same time. Instead of potatoes, bottle corks are also ideal for carving and stamping.

Ultimately, everyone has to answer for themselves whether conscious play with food is okay. A fundamentally appreciative attitude and careful handling of food does not fundamentally exclude the possibility of imagination while eating and having fun with food.

Author: Kati Voss
Photo: ClipDealer


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LS 03/2019