I just finished reading “French Children Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon and it is a delightful account of how the American author and her children learned the secrets that every parent should know – how to train your children to love eating and at the same time learn to behave sensibly especially when it comes to eating at home and in public.
Karen Le Billon moves to a small village in France with her French-born and raised husband and spends a year with her in laws and their families. She has two young daughters already showing strong tendencies of being “picky” eaters. Her journey begins when she notes that French children of friends and family eat many foods that even some American adults or children would not consider like leeks, beets and other vegetables. She also notes that these children are well-behaved, enjoy eating, and sit at a table together with order and discipline without whining and hyperactivity.
How can this happen? The French seem to excel in this task where other cultures fall far short. This book is a must read for parents and teachers, especially those who have or teach young children and want to avoid the battles that arise in many households about getting your kids to eat anything except snacks, pizza, burgers, or chicken nuggets.
It has long been recognized that teaching children about food begins at a very early age and that American households neglect this opportunity since many of them have not been educated about food and the joy of eating.
It may be prudent to read a previous post on the French food culture. It is an eye-opener and lesson for us all. The American way of eating has to change from within our own culture which will not be easy, but a few suggestions from the French may be a beginning for future generations.