Modern childhood.


I’m getting to an age where I’m genuinely wondering if I’ll ever have children. I like kids a lot. I would like to have them some day, assuming I find a nice man and/or feel like I have a strong enough support system.

I might change my mind later today, after we host 200 kids aged 5 to 12 at the cinema, mind you.

I got driven to the point of insanity yesterday because I saw endive branded all ridiculously. I posted that photo on Facebook too, with the same caption, and was asked why it’s a problem, and it was suggested that it’s no different than putting Elmo on food to make it kid-friendly. Well, I don’t like the idea of infantilising grown-ups, and the word ‘diva’ gives me hives (though, I wonder if North American women buying ‘Diva’ (or, ‘enDiva’, as Richard thinks it should be called) know about this magazine) because the term connotes being demanding and pampered, a terrible aspiration. Also, it’s a fucking vegetable. It is probably delicious. Marketing ideas include: Delicious recipes on the back of the (IMHO unnecessary) packaging, nutritional facts, or even just ‘Hey, I’ve never made anything with endive, so how do I use it?’ kind of information. Not a slimline silhouette and a stupid name.

The comment also worried me for another reason, but,  since I’m not a parent, and I don’t want to kick a hornet’s nest, I’m not sure how to address it. But…should kids be making the shopping decisions?  I mean, we were spoiled endlessly by our mother, but, especially with my older brother and I,, she said ‘no’ plenty. Sugary, cartoon character-brand cereals were not a normal thing in our house (we might get a box of Count Chocula every two years). Soda, until we were teenagers, was a special treat. Green Giant was the only vegetable ‘brand’ I was aware of, but those commercials were on during ‘Barney Miller’, not ‘The Smurfs’.

Sure, we ate a helluva lot of Chef Boyardee and Kraft Dinner, but that’s because we weren’t terribly well-off, that stuff is cheap, my younger brother was a fussy eater, and, well, our mum was busy. There was lots of kid-friendly food in the house. But Mum was in charge of deciding what to buy, not us, otherwise we’d have lived on Jos Louis and Pepsi, Vanier Breakfast-style.

Outside of the Zoodles jingle, the food-related between-show broadcasts I remember from back in the day are the ‘Make a Saturdae‘ (which, to this day, makes me feel hurly because the yogurt looked like cottage cheese, which I never want to look at) and other ones from ABC’s PSAs on nutrition.

To be fair, I don’t know what parents are up against nowadays, or any days. Will banning junk food advertising help, or will we have to get dictatorial, say no to everything, and make our kids live in caves? Or is rebranding carrots a good idea, or just trickery? I haven’t a clue.

But, as I’m a mad hippy (who occasionally enjoys a McNugget), I’ll say that I support companies that do this kind of thing in the community, to teach kids where their food comes from and that a lot of work goes into growing it. But as I live on the borders of Westboro and Hintonburg, I’m just living up to my neighbourhood’s expectations of me. Heh.

(The writing here is kinda shambolic. I might tidy it later today, if my brain resets.)

Edited to add a link to this thing from a New York Times showing that junk food isn’t always cheaper. The catch is that you have to know how to cook (which, okay, a lot of people don’t). This image has been popping up on my FB feed a lot lately, despite it having been published a while back, so I thought I’d give it proper attribution.


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