Grocery Shopping. If you have kids, that phrase might be enough to make you shutter. Between that and “road trip” or ” airplane ride”, it elicits a similar type of full body shutter. When my son was a baby, it was pretty easy to take him shopping. Now that he’s a toddler, he isn’t too fond of the idea of being constricted in the cart, especially with all the activity buzzing around him. If its grape season, all hell might break loose when he spots them.
In fact, now that he’s nearly two, we’ve had an increasingly scary amount of hair-raising grocery incidents that make me question the meaning of life and why I don’t preemptively medicate before embarking on a shopping trip. In fact, a recent trip left me with what I am confident were ulcers. I called my husband frantic from the car saying I was never, ever, not in a million years taking our son shopping with me again.
I was pretty content in this decision until I started thinking about a story my husband had told me combined with my own experiences of childhood. We are both the product of healthy parents who made it a point to cook nutritious meals every single day despite both of our mothers working full time. They also made it a point to involve us in the “gathering of food”. My husband, from Mexico, remembers going to the bread shop, the egg vendor, the farmers market, and the little tiendas to acquire what was needed to prepare the week’s meal.
There is something to be said about involving your kids in the entire process of eating. From picking those mint sprigs off a backyard porch, to collecting blueberries at the local farm, to systematically going through each stand at the farmers market, and to organizing a list and marching through the aisles of a store.
Preparing a list of what we’ll eat and what we need to buy every Saturday morning while my son doodles all over the notebook pages has become a sort of family tradition.
And it’s those traditions that are the start of a family food culture that will stay with your little one as they grow.