Today we were in the car, driving home from yet another photo shoot (can you tell I am obsessed??), when a song came on the radio. It was “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, a song I know well. I began singing along with it, which made Kurt’s eyes roll a little since I did my best Axl Rose impression — high-pitched and nasaly. Then I quizzed him: “Do you know what movie this song comes from?” He looked at me a little weirdly, and I amended my question to which movie’s soundtrack does the song appear on. He guessed a few here and there, but was nowhere close.
Give up??? It was Terminator 2: Judgement Day! I had to crack up because Kurt adores anything having to do with the Terminator saga. He’s seen all three movies at least twice, he’s totally thrilled that another movie is coming out next year, and he is up-to-date on “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” For me to know something about Terminator that he doesn’t know is just too funny.
It’s music-related, so maybe that was it.
So today after we finished photographing various things, we ended up at a rare and used bookstore down in Kingstown, Rhode Island. This place is AMAZING. As soon as you walk in the door, you see old, old books… and just to the right of these old, old books is the cooking section! I just about swooned. There were old cookbooks and new ones, covering all kinds of cuisines. Amazingly enough, I did not buy a single old cookbook. I know! What a shocker. The thing is, they were a little expensive, and they were too similar to ones I already had. I don’t mind buying another edition of a cookbook I have if it’s only a couple of dollars, but $10 is a bit high. But it was fun to see the old cookbooks and to page through them.
Then I delved deeper into the bookstore. Around every corner, I found more and more treasures. New books next to antiques. It was really very amazing. I ended up with six books, four new ones and two antiques, along with someone’s handwritten notebook, full of recipes and poems and newspaper clippings and pamphlets and even a telegram from 1935 from the recipient’s mother informing her of the death of her father. So sad.
I’ll go into more detail on that book another day, after I’ve had a chance to photograph some of it.
One of the antique books I bought was published in 1928, and it’s called Cultivating the Child’s Appetite: A Timely Book for Parents Beset by the Baffling Problem of the Child’s Refusal to Eat. I guess having picky kids has been a problem for many generations of parents. However, what’s interesting is that anorexia is defined in this book as a lack of appetite, and the author calls it a symptom, much like fever is a symptom of a larger disease or syndrome. To read this author, “anorexia” is something that almost all children will suffer from at one time or another as they test their boundaries and learn what kind of power they have in the family.
Not quite the same definition we have today. And we now know that true anorexia is a disease that can be treated with varying success.
Anyhow. The book goes on in later chapters to discuss ways of providing a healthy atmosphere at the table to encourage the child to eat and thereby prevent malnutrition. Here are some examples:
Number of Attendants at Meals
To begin with, consider the mere fact that the child is usually influenced by two or three different personalities at his meals. Mother, nurse, cook, and father may all take a hand on occasion. The more difficult are his feeding problems, the more people take a try at home, all of them using different methods. All of them talk about his eating… In order to establish good eating habits in a child, a sensible pre=arranged plan or technique of feeding should be established. Only then may all of thsoe actively engaged in feeding him cooperate with good results. It is always prefable, however, to have one person supervise meals.
This was obviously written for people who had plenty of money and a lot of leisure time. I mean, who’s got both a nurse and a cook nowadays?? Amazing.
The entire process of eating should be decked with pleasant sights, words, and sensations, so that the child’s thoughts of meals will also be pleasant. Atraactively prepared food, interesting dishes, a pleasant room and attendants (these last not too attentive), all contribute their part toward making the meal time enjoyable.
I obviously get an epic fail at this. Yes, I prepare my food attractively and serve interesting dishes, but I have never put forth much effort into making the dining room pretty and full of pleasant sights, words, and sensations.
No Strong Emotions
Strong emotions should never be evoked near meal time. In this we must ever be watchful. If a boy is likely to have a tantrum if he is asked to wash his hands or brush his hair before dinner, do not make him do it. This prodecure may be open to criticism, but I am thinking of appetites and I insist that to have an emotional scene before meals is bad for appetites. Not only is it bad for appetites but we have seen that strong emotions also stop hunger contractions. I would rather have my child eat his meal with unwashed hands than have him refuse it entirely.
This book was supposedly written by a medical doctor, and he’s suggesting letting a kid come to the table with unwashed hands just to make sure he eats all his food? Now I’ve lost my appetite, thinking of a germ-filled kid coming to the table without washing his hands. I’m not a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s just gross.
Avoid Too Many Services
It is often a good plan to serve a plate lunch. Many time a child with negativism will refuse to take helping from the waitress. If he is served with all the different foods on one plate he has fewer opportunities to exercise this power of veto.
Yet another example of how this book is written for folks of means. How many poeple do you know that have full service at their meals? The only service I get is the nights when Kurt cooks, and he brings a plate full of food to me at the table.
It’s just so interesting to read these old books, to see how far we’ve come. I doubt any modern dietician or nutritionist would agree with hardly anything in this book.
And reading this book makes me glad that I have at least one excellent eater in this household. That Grace will eat almost anything that I set in front of her, as long as it’s not spicy or has peanuts. Gotta love it!