Saturday 20 May 2017

Why We Don't Say The "F" Word In Our House

It is utterly banned in our house.

If someone else starts to utter it then I have to stop them in their tracks.

We do not say "Fussy eater", for us it's not a thing. 

My wife and I were talking about it just the other day and then she saw this clip of Gino D'acampo talking about the same thing and sent it to me.

My day is pretty much full of children telling me "I'm hungry" or "When can we eat?" "I want a snack", and to be honest I do give in and they have plenty of snack through the day, my children tend to be happier when they graze. 

But I'm a lot harder when it comes to meal times. 

Don't like what's on your plate? 

Don't eat it then.

If they miss a meal then it won't kill them. 

I will not cook something specially for my children. We all eat together each and every day and we all eat the same food, even my little boy who's 16 months old eats exactly what we have (I might cut up his meat for him though). I put a lot of time and effort into growing, preparing and cooking what we eat, but it's not a restaurant and they don't get to choose what they have. 

We don't ever call it being fussy or attach a label to it, we think that in doing so you give them justification. 

Now that's not saying we don't have our fair share of arguments or that they eat everything at every meal time. My younger daughter does sometimes put up a fight and objects but she'll normally eat something off her plate as she knows that she'll go without otherwise. My eldest daughter is no trouble and will eat almost as much as my wife and my son isn't far behind in all honesty. 

But these are the rules in our house. 

Don't like something, then leave it on the side of your plate, I'm not going to sit and pick out mushrooms or onions because they decided they don't like them that night. 

If they want a drink with their meal they have to ask before I've sat down, otherwise they wait until the end. 

No one starts pudding until everyone has finished their main course.

No one leaves the table until everyone has finished and then you have to ask. 

My dad was (is) obsessed with table manners when I was growing up and I fear it may have rubbed off on me. I hate when children run off and start playing when they've eaten what they like. Meal times should be a time for conversation and to see what everyone has been doing during the day, that and eating some good home cooked food! 

How are things done in your house? 

Do you (or did you) cook separately for your children?

Are table manners important to you?


  1. Sorry to correct you but it's "manners" not majors. A manor is an old term for the largest house in a village.
    Love you blog and your views on life.

    1. What a school boy mistake! Spelling was never my strong point and I think I put two 'n' in but still used the 'o' and it corrected it for me to the wrong word! At least yours was the fist comment and I could alter it!
      Our house certainly isn't the biggest in the village that's for sure!

    2. Thank you BTW! And thanks for liking the blog!

    3. No problem. Hope you don't think I'm a pedant!
      Yes i like your blog and for a young man you have your head well and truly screwed on properly. Best wishes.

  2. I think you are setting very admirable rules, regardless of the spelling of "manors". I think your wife and you are also very correct in not putting a label on not wanting to eat certain foods. I admire your fortitude to do all the different skills you have to have to be a good homesteader let alone a kind and loving father!! Take care from Iowa

    1. My thanks Melody, I do feel like I nag them sometimes though, but it is lovely when we go to eat at a friends house and they ask to leave the table without being promoted! And they try everything on their plate.

    2. bahahahah! it must have auto-corrected you again. i think you meant "prompted"...or maybe they do get promoted??? xoxo

    3. No they feel they need to move up the career ladder first!

    4. No they feel they need to move up the career ladder first!

  3. We sat at the table, ate the same, together, discussing our various days. Although we now don't use the table when on our own, as soon as son and dil visit, we eat at the table and no phones!!!

  4. Definitely with you- I'm a mother, not a short order cook!

    We also banned the Y word- nobody, even (especially) visiting children are allowed to say food is yucky. It might not be your favourite, but that's ok, tomorrow might be. I wouldn't deliberately cook food I know somebody really didn't like, but you might have to put up with something for one meal, for instance child #3 wasn't keen on rice but loves pasta whereas child #2 would eat rice three times a day given half a chance. So I wouldn't cook a rice-based meal two or three days in a row.

    My children do get praised for their table manners and wide-ranging taste- they used to get invited to tea with friends to encourage the friends to eat more!
    I'll concede some of it is luck- mine have always enjoyed eating and cooking whereas friend's children treat mealtimes as a necessary evil, but perhaps that's at least partly down to the parents attitude to food? We enjoy eating, use food/meals to celebrate (occasions and customs, not chocolate as a reward) and prepare most foods at home. Some of that must rub off on the children.

    I work in early years and see many parents warning their children they won't like a food. How do you know? And of course they won't now you've told them! And how can you say a child won't like strong flavours when you're putting pickled onion Monster Munch in their lunch box?!(My youngest wanted brie sandwiches and smoked salmon pinwheels at her 3rd birthday party. We had to make some cheese sandwiches too and some wouldn't even eat those).

    We also eat as a family where possible.

  5. Eating around the table is the most important "rule"for a family on so many levels. We eat at the table for every meal no matter how few or many of us there are.

  6. Well done Kev, your dad and my mum were cut from the same fabric. Not only does it ensure your toddlers learn to sit and eat, it also sets them up for when they are older, meal times in our house was conversation time, catching up with our separate daytime activities. We all love to see a child sit and eat their meal not run around with food in their hands or worse, order something and then not touch it.

  7. We share the same upbringing Kev, and that's how I raised my daughter. I could take her to restaurants at an early age knowing there would be no histrionics, which unfortunately was the case when we accompanied a couple of our friends and their kids, who were allowed to eat what they want, ordered dessert and didn't eat it, and threw tantrums because they didn't want to stay at the table.

  8. I always cooked one meal for the whole family, and we sat and ate it together at the table. The boys were given the option of choosing the vegetables to go with the meal (it gave them a sense of having a part of the decision making process for what they were about to get)such as 'peas or carrots' 'broccoli or sweetcorn' ... nine times out often they would ask for both :-)

    If I served up something new they were allowed to leave it if they didn't like it ... but only after trying it properly. After two servings of the not liked items if they still didn't like it we would not have it again. I didn't have the money back in the day for foods that we all couldn't eat together.

    Snacks were kept to an absolute minimum, again due to finances, they would get a homemade flapjack, oaty biscuit or fairy cake after school and then a couple of custard creams or bourbons with a glass of milk before bed. Simple but good food.

    They've both grown up loving virtually ALL foods and are now strapping six footers, so I did something right :-)

  9. I think you and had same father...kidding! But good manners were extremely important at our table. Farmers who didn't put elbows on table, asked to be excused from the table,ate what was on our plate, if we kids didn't like it we got less of it.Mom was good that way,but knowing that I help grow it helped many things go down easier. Keep up the great job, do what you know is right.

  10. School dinners from the age of 5 meant either eat or go hungry! We ate - anything and everything. Our lot all eat anything too. It's their other halves who I have problems with!

  11. When they are a bit older add "no mobile phones".

  12. Kev - i love the way that you are teaching your children about food...and especially letting them graze throughout the day. i am a firm believer in grazing but also having proper meals at proper times. and i am sure that your kids do like jambaloney and me - go out in the garden, pick a pea or a tomatoe or a carrot, quick rinse and there's a quick snack for you.

    sending love to all of you! your friend,

  13. I completely agree...amazing how so many people specially cester for each person for meals! I always made ONE MEAL which we all ate....I don't remember snacks being such a big deal, either!
    My motto is here's your meal...take it or leave it...

  14. Parents who have trouble getting their children to eat are the problems, not the kids. When our daughter was growing up, our rules were exactly like yours. My kitchen was NOT a restaurant. I cooked nutritious, healthy, tasty food and there was no reason anyone seated at the table wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't eat it. To allow children to dictate their food preferences is asinine. (Can you tell I feel strongly about this?) A relative (who shall remain nameless) allows her two small girls (ages 3 and 5) to take whatever food is prepared for them (at their request) from the table to anywhere in the house to eat it. When I questioned this practice, she told me it was the only way she could get them to eat anything. Words escaped me. I had no retort.

  15. When my 3 children were small there were just 2 hard and fast rules. We all ate at table together, and they had a story before sleeping.

  16. A child in the 50's we sat at a table; no elbows on table; no reaching over for salt/pepper. You asked to leave the table and waited for a reply. I worked with a woman who made five different meals every night, no way. When at school we could ask for small, medium or large portions. We worked in pairs and I used to go up with two plates and ask for large of everything, then my friend would take half of mine too, she was from a large family and that was the one meal of the day for her. I always felt very lucky at the side of her and it taught me a lesson. Keep up the good work. Love Andie xxx

  17. Amazing comments from everyone thank you! I'll try and get back and comment on each one when I get chance, it's a busy time of year!
    Thank you all! And I'm glad you all feel the same as me!

  18. I was trying to think what we did when I was growing up, and you know what, I cant think of anyone in my quite big family who didn't sit to the table, or fuss about what was on their plate. Well done to you, I lapsed a bit with my daughter, she was given what ever I cooked, but living in a small flat it was lap trays. Her friends were treated the same if they came to tea, and they always came back...

  19. Same rules here. Worked well for my youngest but my eldest was always a bit of a problem (mildly autistic). We did persevere and at least I can say that he did learn manners and to like a couple of veg! No way was I going to cook separately for each person and the table was for use not decoration :)



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