I chanced upon a cookery show the other day when I was channel surfing. Last weeks episode was titled 'Getting Your Child to Eat Veggies". It looked like another one of those programs for mommies with small kids, so I decided to change the channel. As I was about to switch to the News channel, I saw an incredible sight! The program hostess was giving a brief glimpse of some mouth watering veggie preparations that the Chef was going to show and I was tempted to watch the rest of the show. It was not a show on baby food mind you. But regular vegetarian preparation, with an eye on the fussy kids’ palate to entice them to eat veggies. I looked at my kids…my three doggies and decided not to try it on them. Either they would walk out on me or push me out of the house.
The first preparation was a starter. The Chef took a couple of slices of bread, beamed at the camera and trimmed the sides off with a flourish. Next he took some tomato ketchup and drew eyes, a nose and a smiley on the bread slice with the ketchup. Then he drizzled some canned corn above the eyes to make it look like golden tresses. Next he arranged the decorated bread on a nice kiddie plate and viola the most delicious, healthy and nutritious yet revolting snack was ready to spit out...err eat!!
The audience clapped and I gave the Chef's wife a standing ovation for tactfully throwing hubbies preparation into the dustbin and feeding the kids some healthy Samosas and Chips and Sauce as starters. The man beamed as the hostess of the show showed off the creation in front of the camera, gushing over the color, content and sheer creative genius of the recipe. She urged moms watching the show to make the dish right away and give it to their kids asap. I could imagine the scene at some homes across the country.
Mom: Kids come and see what I have made for you.
Kids: What is it ma?
Mom: I have made a delicious smiley face on a slice on bread with tinned corn!!!
The next item on the Chef’s list was the main course. The Chef was of the opinion that kids were fed up of the usual diet of Roti and Dal and Rice. He showed a simple yet delicious and nutrient packed ‘Kaathi Roll’ for the kids that he claimed they would enjoy eating without a fuss.
With a flourish the Chef laid out a Chapathi on a plate. Next he doused it in tomato ketchup. He then laid some lettuce leaves over the ketchup and sprinkled it with toasted Paneer cubes and chopped Capsicum. He finished the whole preparation with a drizzling of lemon juice and coriander leaf and when I was back after throwing up, he rolled the Chapati into a roll and pinned it with a Mickey Mouse tooth pick. Delicious, nutritious, lip smacking ‘Kaathi Roll with Summer Salad’ was ready to throw into the nearest dust bin err I mean eat!!!!
I could visualize kids all over the country packing up their bags and leaving homes by the dozen. Since we do not have Milk cartons in India, Ice Cream boxes would now feature mug shots of kids gone missing from home and presumably hiding till mom stops making them healthy and nutritious food as shown on TV by this Chef.
Next on the menu was dessert! I watched with disbelief and nausea. The Chef made a ‘Bursting-with-Calcium and Goodness of Wheat Kheer’ that he said would be hard to resist for the kids and would be polished off within seconds!!! The recipe was simple. A cup of Dalia (broken wheat) that seems to be synonymous with "health food" in India, cooked in milk and sweetened with Jaggery (for health) seasoned with cardamom powder and garnished with cherries *ugh*. The concoction was served in dessert bowls and a tube of jam was used to draw smiley faces over the concoction and viola…delicious ‘Milky Wheat Delight’ was ready!!! According to the Chef each serving had enough calcium and potassium and Vitamin A to Z to persuade the runaway kids to come back home.
The entire gruesome buffet was shown in the end in case there were viewers who were yet to puke and or finding it difficult to puke. I pitied the kids and thanked my lucky stars that cookery shows for kids were unheard of when I was a kid. My mother’s idea of a kiddie treat was chips and cola and other stuff that we gulped down with amazing efficiency. And by the time she was wiser, we had learned to eat these on the sly or lie that we never touched them at school and that we spent our pocket money on actual food.
Notice: If any kid between the age of two and twelve is reading this post please don’t return home till next week. The Chef is showing "Healthy and Tasty Tiffin Treats" this week!
Healthy Tiffin? For gods sakes is there nothing sacred left on this earth anymore??!?!?! *sob*