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Let The Feasting Begin

This week both Cora and Maddie have
Thanksgiving feasts in their schools, and I have a teeny(ish) issue
with both of them.

Maddie’s feast is today, and to be fair, I’m not sure
of a good solution to what I perceive as the problem. For the
school’s feast day, family members are invited to come in and
partake of the special meal with the students, so everyone goes
through the hot line in the cafeteria for what I am sure is a meal
that’s had a lot of work put into it. And they have to
process hundreds of people in a very short amount of time, so I
know it can get crazy.

But the trash generated in this one meal
is probably more than my household creates in three months. Setting
aside the overwhelming amount of food that will be discarded
– what kid is really going to eat a whole serving of mashed
potatoes and gravy – everything’s put into single-serve
plastic cups to make the serving faster. A plastic cup for your
mashed potatoes, a plastic cup for your gravy, a plastic cup for
your butter . . . the list goes on. What’s even sadder is
that most of those cups are recyclable but it’s so hectic
that it all ends up in the trash.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not slamming the system
at Maddie’s school. I love that the families can come in, and
love that our school makes the effort to do something special for
the holiday. I just wish there were less waste, is all. And since
it comes the day after the National Day of Recycling – which
was much touted at the school yesterday – it seems even more
of a shame.

For Cora’s feast, I have a different gripe.

Cora’s class will be enjoying a special feast, though no
parents are coming in. But the room moms sent out a sign-up list
stating that “in lieu of the traditional Thanksgiving meal,
we thought we’d go with more kid-friendly food, so sign up to
bring one of the choices below.”

The menu? Chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.

Look, I get it. We’ve got toddlers who are picky eaters. But
part of the reason they’re picky eaters is because we let
them be! Couldn’t we make a kid-friendly version of the
Thanksgiving feast – ham cubes and rolled up turkey slices
and carrots with ranch dressing and a bit of pumpkin pie? I know
that Cora has three or four favorite lunches which I rotate
regularly, and that pretty much the only fruit she’s
guaranteed to eat is a strawberry. But listen: I give that girl
strawberries every. Day. And when I serve a different fruit at
another meal – say, dinner – and she doesn’t eat
it, she goes to bed pretty darn hungry. That’s her choice,
and I’m ok with that. If her school served a lunch and she
wasn’t interested, I’d be fine with her getting out of
school really really hungry. Seriously.

On the upside, with a menu like chicken nuggets and macaroni and
cheese, there will be less food thrown away and hence less waste.
But I fear if we do that too often, then when these kids hit
Maddie’s school they’ll scorn the traditional fare and
the food will end up in the trash anyway.

Next week we’ll sit down at Nana’s table for our family
Thanksgiving feast, and if my girls can’t find enough to fill
them up from the groaning largesse in front of us, well, then,
they’ll be hungry and have to do without the pie at the end.

And once again, I’m ok with that.


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