The Cute Toddler Food Trend Must End

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Before I dish about Toddler dishes, I want to share a funny YouTube video I helped make that is just up:  2013 Coney Island Toddle Hot Dog Eating Contest. Babble blogged it as did I for truTV. My kids are in it, as well as the kids of some very talented comedy producers.  We had a blast making it and it was my first ever visit to Coney Island.  The kids came away with rides, mermaid toys and balloon animal kits.  This video was made for love, no money and happened thanks to director Kevin Maher. I hope you enjoy and thanks for checking it out.

Cute food for kids.  There’s no doubt it’s a genius way to get kids to eat and we all could use more levity in our lives.

There’s one restaurant called The Carriage House in a far-flung place called Barryville, NY that my kids clamor to go to because one of their kid menu items is done so adorably.  It’s called “Chicken Happy Face” and they love it so much, they ask, “Can we go to Chicken Happy Face?”

The owner pounds a chicken breast paillard-style. He uses angel hair for the hair and then an assortment of veggies to make the face.  The veg change each time you go but you might get cucumbers for the ears, red pepper mouth, olive eyes, a shredded lettuce beard and more.  There’s no doubt the fun factor makes them eat more veg than normal and to that I say, huzzah.

I certainly have worked the cute food thing myself.  The pic above was me telling my daughter that her sunflower butter sandwich was talking about cheese.  Still, she liked it, but it didn’t sell the carrot.  Ah well.

But I have a friend who has gone loopy for cute food, even before her boy was of an age to appreciate it.  She’s got no job and rarely gets out with the kid because she spends ages crafting each meal into a thing of beauty.  She texts me pictures of some of the items.  Tulips done with exotic organic veggies was a recent one.  I think she feels if she doesn’t go the extra mile she’s a bad mom.

Where does this come from? I blame the Internet.

Pinterest is filled with examples of Bento box lunches that are nearly museum quality.  And people share all their works of food art on Facebook.  There’s an arms race of adorable edibles and I think it’s gotta end.

Sure it’s better to be a concerned parent than throw them a frozen meal.  And of course we should encourage them to eat better foods in whatever way works.  But surely there are better uses of the precious time we have as moms than making each ephemeral meal a masterpiece.

Yes I’m all for creativity.  I applaud it.  But we’re already half crazy trying to feed the best food to our kids by making a balanced meal. So can we just chill on the baby meals a wee bit?

If not, I’m afraid I’m going to have to do a Mona Lisa in soy meatballs and aint nobody who wants to see that.

Words and images by Susie Felber. For more Susie Felber articles, click here

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