The Corner

Re: Ban Kids

From a reader:

“Adults with children may also be more likely to keep these foods around

the house because they think kids like them.”

Until that sentence, the article made perfect sense.  With a few, narrow

exceptions, kids like fat and dislike vegetables.  Cook a meal with a

heavy sauce and the kids will probably like it.  A better parent would

probably hold the line, but most of us just muddle through.  Sometimes I

will prepare a sauce that can be added or omitted, but it is more work

that way.

Me:  I missed that the first time, but the reader’s right. In fact, I’m growing increasingly annoyed with the idea that kids like fatty, sweet and all around yummy foods because of some sort of social construction of reality. I remember reading somewhere that Dr. Spock (no, the other one) said dessert shouldn’t be withheld as a punishment because it emphasizes the wrong food and makes sweets seem like the most “valuable” meal. For a long time, this made total sense to me because I never had to think about it. Now that I’m a parent, I recognize that it is almost a total crock. Kids like ice cream because it tastes really frick’n good. Telling a kid, “clean up your room or no spinach for you” would be brilliant if it weren’t so scandalously stupid (note: if yours is the one kid in a million who likes spinach more than ice cream, congrats. But we ain’t building social policy around your example). I keep  seeing these segments on TV or reading snippets in the paper about how if you just raise kids to like apples more than cookies, they’ll like apples more than cookies. Maybe that’s possible,  but only if you never let your kids eat really good cookies so they never learn what they’re missing.  

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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