Lapping Up the Being Eaten

Ralph Nader
The Seventeen Traditions

In the Arabic language, words of endearment are derived from the world of food. “How delicious you are,” parents tell their children, or “How tasty,” or “How tender.” Sounds funny in English, but in Arabic such comments are ancient, routine and heartfelt. As much as she loved us, though, my mother never asked her young children what we wanted to eat. Why? Because “young children don’t know what is good for them,” she observed after we were grown. “They don’t have to like what they eat; they just have to eat it.” We were expected to eat everything on our plates. “If children find out that not eating will bring lots of attention, then they will frustrate their parents by making a scene again and again at the kitchen table,” she said. “Parents must not lose control here, or else they will have a scene often at dinnertime.” But she knew that children also have an acute sense of fair play. “Parents should eat the same food as their children,” she believed. “No double standard.”

I like how cultivating a taste for fairness comes on the heels of bodily health and psychic well-being.

And so for day 3021

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