My Nana Antoinette ..

©lperry  All rights reserved including internet, International and electronic recording rights.  No copies without prior written permission from the author/artist .

First,  A Note About Feeding Children 

Start Today, Give Your Child Choices in the Foods They Eat..

Laughing..you know, if you are a parent reading this, you really can not force a child to eat what a child doesn’t want to eat.  And that’s a good thing.    So, if you are of the mind that you are in charge of your child’s food, think again.

You might want to try what my grandmother tried.   She just asked me if I wanted to eat something.  And I said yes.  But the difference was that she did not feel the need to control what I ate.  So she just asked me what I wanted.  And that is what she gave to me.

Same thing with almost every other person I met, they gave a choice.  They didn’t force.  I think, eventually, people realize that you really can not force someone to eat what they can not eat.  And if you do, if you are successful forcing them, they probably will vomit or become very ill, either from allergies or from not eating what you think you forced them to eat.

I think , that for me, learning the hard way taught me a lot about life, about people, and about the power of choice.

About My Wonderful Grandmother 

About my wonderful grandmother —   Though she had the title, Nana , my Grandmother, she really took care of me, protected me, as a Mom should.   She saw a need and she filled it.  She saw a child, who looked like she was starving, and she fed me.  She didn’t force me to eat, even though my body probably appeared that I needed food soon, and quick and always.  Smiles.  She just did what she thought was the right thing to do.   She fed me.

Those meals (some might not call them meals as the world might define meals) were some of the things that kept me alive and happy.  I didn’t live with her but she came to visit me when I was younger, and at times she was my ‘babysitter’, and as I got older, I came to visit her.    Funny thing is that I never came for the food.   Even though my body was feeling like it was starving,  I never once came there for the food.  I came to visit because I loved my grandparents.   Lots of times, I didn’t have money for the bus ride (when I was a teenager) but I was glad to have my bicycle.   And it was that bicycle that enabled me to visit when I could.

BAKING CAKES WARMS THE ROOM 

Ahh, but what about the food.  That is what I began writing about.   The food was varied, yet it was the same.   My grandmother would bake a cake for me.  It was a butter-pecan cake, an ‘Ann Page” ( A & P} cake.   She would mix it up, and put it in the oven. That made the kitchen nice and warm.  (There wasn’t much heat in the apartment due to a landlord that was trying to get the tenants to move out of the apartments).  Back in those days, the rent was stabilized, or rent-controlled.  And most times, the landlords would try to get the older folks out so that they could put in huge rent increases.

So, back then, I was too young to know it but part of baking the cake was for eating but part of baking the cake was for making the small apartment warm enough for me to visit with them.  We would sit in the kitchen and have cake and a cup of tea.   And its’ funny how the body and the mind works in a person.  The memories that one retains without even trying to remember.  So many times, during the holidays, or in good times or bad times or in any times, for that matter, my mind and body go to those foods that we shared, back then.   And that makes me smile.

Of course, the doctors and those health-food people probably wouldn’t approve of the foods, from a health standpoint, but hey, you know, sometimes health begins in the mind, and sometimes healthy memories can heal so much better than anything else can heal a person.

Sloppy Joes and Tea and Toast

So, now I’ll tell you about the food.    There were times that my grandmother didn’t have any cake.  She would mix up her own special dish of what I called soggy, lumpy, unmashed potatoes , with butter.  They were delicious.   There were times, once in a while, where she would make her own style of what we might now call ‘sloppy joes’.  But the sloppy joes were made to my order — completely plain, no spices, no sauces, just plain old chopped meat, cooked to my liking, but sloppy joe form, not in the form of the traditional hamburger.  Looking back on those times, I realized what I didn’t realize back then, that the sloppy joes were because they cooked faster that way (my visits were not always expected, not by invite, but just whenever I was able to visit).  And the sloppy joes were ‘extended’ meals.  You can feed more people with sloppy joes than you can feed with traditional hamburgers. There’s no ‘count’ , one for you , one for me, there’s just a whole mess of meal that can be divided as need be.    My grandmother never had any of the meals that she fed me.   She had her tea.

The meals we shared

And the meals that we shared were the tea and toast.  This was the only thing that she would have when I was there.  (Along, of course, with the thing that I though was the strangest, most horrible kind of food, a raw egg). I don’t know how she did that but she had the ability to eat a raw egg.

So, times I would visit , we would share tea and toast.  And sometimes she would have what they called, tea biscuits  along with the tea.  On special days, she would break out the Almond Joy candy, again, never eating any herself.     And on really special days, she would give me some money to go down to the candy store.  I would come back with a Chunky bar.

So, tea and toast, sloppy joes, butter pecan cake, Almond Joy, an occasional Chunky.   My grandfather was there, but he never ate with us.   He would be in his home-office, working on his artwork, on his signs.

Coney Island Fries and Colas 

It’s weird, I never thought about it back then but he never ate with us, in the home.      On our visits to Coney Island, that’s when he would walk up to the counter there at Nathans, and order some fries for us, never a hot dog, but always fries, and I loved them.

I was a kid, and we would walk by all the sweets, the cotton candy, the ice cream, the toys and everything else Coney Island had to offer, and we would go straight to the Nathans, straight to the french fries counter.

Manhattan, NYC, and Magic Meals 

And then, there were really special times, when my grandmother and I ventured into the big city, New York City.  We would bundle up, and take the train to the city, to midtown Manhattan.  About once a year, we would go there, and see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas special.   Standing on line for what seemed like hours, we finally reached the front of the line and got to go into the Theatre.  It was magnificent, and so worth the wait out in the cold.  We just waited, and waited.     The show was absolutely magnificent.  And the food, was not there, in the show.   My grandmother took me to the Horn and Hardart store.  And right there, I was stunned at this place. .  Everything was behind little boxes.   Smiles.   You would put your money into the machine and then the door would unlock, and there was your food.   We went there and my grandmother would get my favorite, the most delicious beef stew.   I don’t remember seeing her eat there at all.  I remember the H & H , it was fun, and it was good.   for those fries.   And right there, that was Heaven on earth.

Hot Dogs and Lots of Sauerkraut

When I was a teenager, I’d visit by bike, to my grandparents’ home.  Before I left the house to go back home, my grandfather would give me a bunch of coins.   I used those coins, during the week, to buy food.     Ahh, the sign of a hungry child.   Give a child a few coins, back then and watch their choices.  Most times, if regular food is available, over candy and sweets, a hungry child will choose regular food.   And that is exactly what I did.  I would take the coins, and on the weekend,  I would go over to the pizza store and buy a hot dog topped with sauerkraut.  And I would eat that and then order another one.   This really puzzled the guy behind the counter.  He was probably looking at this skinny kid and wondering,  ‘where is she putting all that’?

No matter how many hot dogs I ordered, I didn’t appear to be putting on any weight , at all.   Back then, hot dogs were 15 cents each, so I had enough coins to buy two or three or sometimes four hot dogs.    This was probably, sometimes, all I would be eating for a day or so.   Our refrigerator was packed with food, mostly diet food (long before it was known that artificial sweeteners were killing people).   At home, I remember there was melba toast and diet cola, and saacharin in the house.   And usually the freezer was packed with veal cutlets, beef, london broil, and things like that.  It was my job or one of my jobs to go to the butchers every single Saturday.    She gave a list to me and I would read the list to the butcher.    It read something like , “beef for braziolle, (I didn’t even know what that was), veal cutlets, chucked chop, and that was it for the butchers’ store.

At home, I wasn’t offered the real ‘meat’ but I had to sit there and make a big slab of liver totally disappear before I was able to remove myself from the table.   I don’t even know where this liver came from as I didn’t remember it being on the list for the butcher.

 

Smiles,  I was the special kid of the house, so   I had to  sit down at the table with a slab of liver.  uhghh.  It was horrible.  The good thing about it was that I was permitted to smother it in ketchup.  That kind of took the taste away.    Heck , I wasn’t eating it anyway.   Heaven forbid but most of it went into the trash when nobody was looking.   The liver, the eggs-hidden-in mashed potatoes, the plain white milk just made me gag.  And there’s no eating food that makes you gag right?

Eating at our place – where I lived with a biological relative (not my grandmother).

I was unable to eat food in that place, the place where I lived.  There were no choices.  The food was put in front of you, and you ‘had’ to eat it. Or so, the woman (a relative that I lived with, {not my grandmother)  thought.   I would push the food around on the plate and then get rid of it as soon as possible. .  I wasn’t keeping track of what I ate but I knew for sure what I couldn’t possibly eat.  There didn’t seem to be any peace in that place where I lived.   And, sometimes, most times, children can not eat in a place where there is no peace.   You can pry the kid’s mouth open but you probably can’t make them eat anything .   You must first provide a peaceful place to eat.  Food, seriously, is secondary.

Visiting My Little Brother ..

Laughing, I remember, after I had long moved out of that place, I went back to visit my brother.  He was just a kid.  He was home alone.   And I happen to find the toast underneath the piece of furniture.   I asked him what the toast was doing under the furniture, and he laughed; He said he didn’t want to eat it.   Smiles, boy, children use their imagination when necessary.   Who would think to put food under furniture?   When I was younger, my ‘thinking process’ went only as far as putting the food in the trash, when nobody was looking.  Have to give it to my brother though, under the furniture, that was pure genius .  It was only then that I realized I was not the only one that was  ‘forced’ to eat certain foods, no matter what.

If You’ve Been Unbearable When It Comes to Food, Start Today, Offer Choices 

Laughing..you know, if you are a parent reading this, you really can not force a child to eat what a child doesn’t want to eat.  And that’s a good thing.    So, if you are of the mind that you are in charge of your child’s food, think again.

You might want to try what my grandmother tried.   She just asked me if I wanted to eat something.  And I said yes.  But the difference was that she did not feel the need to control what I ate.  So she just asked me what I wanted.  And that is what she gave to me.

Same thing with almost every other person I met, they gave a choice.  They didn’t force.  I think, eventually, people realize that you really can not force someone to eat what they can not eat.  And if you do, if you are successful forcing them, they probably will vomit or become very ill, either from allergies or from not eating what you think you forced them to eat.

I think , that for me, learning the hard way taught me a lot about life, about people, and about the power of choice.

Funny thing is, I  Love Vegetables.. 

The power of choice can mean the difference between life and death sometimes.  Sometimes the power of choice  can mean the difference  between war and peace.  And almost always, the power of choice can mean the difference between control and love.

I was a kid that loved vegetables, yet never offered any.   Yea, brussel sprouts, cabbage potatoes, – I love veggies, always have, always will.

ONE OF MY FAVORITES 

Mix up a bowl of rice, tomatoes, peas, mushrooms, tuna, beans, ahh, it’s all good.

So, what is the purpose of this entry

I’d like to convince one single parent or guardian to stop forcing a kid to eat.  If you have a kid that you are having a hard time feeding — stop trying to use control to change that situation because forcing a kid to eat food  will just make the kid hate meal times.   That’s it.  If one person learns from this entry, then my purpose is served.   Just ask the kid what he or she wants to eat and then give it to them.  (Of course, not if they are allergic to the food, duhhh ).   Of course, consult your own doctors for professional advice.  I offer no professional advice here.  This piece is just an OPINION piece based on my own experiences.

You Can Never Show Love By Force

In today’s world, showing love by force is nothing but obsession. In today’s world, some parents think that by forcing their kids to eat , the parents are showing love, but that is the farthest thing from the truth.   By forcing a kid to eat, all you are doing is showing a kid that you are , temporarily, more powerful than they are.

What are you trying to show someone? Are you showing love? Force? Obsession?
Edited December 2019.

Wow.  I just ‘discovered’ soup, I mean a whole different kind of soup.   I mean, I’ve had “stew” .  My grandmother and I had the beef stew at Horn and Hardarts’  That was the best.

But my kind of soup ,  ahhh, this was good.   It’s homemade with none of those artificial additives, none of those fillers, and none of those chemicals you might get in processed soups and processed foods.

I just began making soup from vegetables, and from tomato paste and from filtered water.   This was too good, too easy, and way too delicious.  It was just like I like it with no other spices than a little bit, really little bit of salt.   After that one delicious bowl of soup, I tried different variations on the soup.

 

Most of the food that I ate, as a child, I got from my grandparents, or I would get at the butcher store.  (Smiles, they had these ‘tasting’ tables once in a while).   I would walk in and out of the store, tasting those cocktail hot dogs that they gave as samples.

Along with that, I would get the coins from my grandfather and  I would use that for food during the week.     That’s how I ate, how I got food that I really was able to digest.   As I got older, I went to live with my Dad, and with his second wife, and the two kids.  At that house, since I was ‘free’, I began to taste other foods, (that was taste, not be forced to eat any of it).

It is just a horrible thing to do to your kids, so if you are doing that now, stop it.  You can never force anyone to like any particular food.  But you can give a kid an aversion to food by forcing them at mealtimes or by making mealtimes a horror for them.   Some people don’t even know that they are doing this but then there are others that do this on purpose and those are the real  demented ones that use food as a weapon.

If you are a parent reading this , know that as you force your kid to “finish that all”  “eat that plate of that something”, you are doing a most horrible thing to that kid.  Remember kids are just little adults and we have the same tongues and taste buds.  We have to realize that if it is okay for a n   adult to say, “NO” to a food, we must let children, kids and teens, say , “NO ” also when it comes to food.     But only if you want to be fair, only if you want the kid to eat, and only if you want the kid to develop healthy attitudes towards foods and towards eating.

Think about this, the same kid that will eat practically nothing when they are with a particular person, might just be open to eating almost anything if the atmosphere is right.  If force isn’t used.  If the child isn’t getting beaten up if they don’t eat or finish eating.   Food is a wonderful thing.  And it is only a narcissistic bully or an evil person that can make food a horror for a young child.

If your child is actually dreading mealtimes, you might want to lighten up a little bit.  Step back, and maybe, just maybe even ask that child what they want to eat.  And then, for goodness sake, give it to them.  As long as they are not allergic to it, and as long as it’s not poison, there’s no ‘bad’ food that you can give to a child.      And that means if a kid wants burgers for breakfast or eggs for lunch, that could work – if there is love, not force.

For myself, I grew up liking all sorts of foods, all sorts of veggies, and other foods, thanks to my grandparents and to my Dad, and to my Uncle,  to those individuals that allowed me to use my own mouth, and my own taste buds, to decide what I liked and what I didn’t like.

You know, the truth is, you will never, ever make a skinny kid gain weight by forcing them to eat certain foods.  You don’t have that power.
Truth is , you can never, ever force a kid to eat any food .  It’s just not going to happen.  You might think that it’s happening, but it’s not going to happen.    I know.  I found that toast under the furniture…that my brother hid  — because he was forced to eat “everything” that was put in front of him.    So whether it is toast, or onions or garlic or hot dogs or meatballs  o r  caviar, parents,and guardians, don’t be stupid, and don’t be bossy, just you be you and let the kid be the kid.    Everyone will be so much more happier that way.      And it makes for better memories also.    Smiles.

 

 

 

 

 

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When Apologies for the glitch. ) .

Published by artfromperry

ARTFROMPERRY I take photographs and tell stories with photographs, . Everything in these photographs is exactly as it is supposed to be. Blurred, from a distance, sharp or not, colors varied from the average. These are not photographic mistakes nor anything to be corrected. These are exactly as I want them to be seen. As a pastime, I produce and direct television programs in parts of New York City, NYS USA UPDATE: Due to covid hitting our city, I temporarily stopped producing television since the studio required that we sign a seemingly illegal covid contract in order to have access to the studio. Considering a lawsuit to get the program back on the air again .

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