Eat This Not That!

The daily grocery store experience, is for the most part, a very mechanical and detached pilgrimage through isles that we usually know well. While shopping for our basics (milk, bread, cereal…) we return phone calls, we think about work or we just project ourselves mentally on the next errand, in an attempt to stay one step ahead.
I rarely get surprised when I shop at my local super market…I know it like the palm of my hands, and given the family time schedule that is usually very tight, I do not indulge myself into unnecessary strolls in isles that carry products I do not need.
But, since I discovered the first and only book I ever reviewed on this blog, I started checking the magazine section here and there, maybe once a week…or less. You never know when inspiration is going to come to you, and where from; it is always better to have an open mind. So I bare the tens of pounds of Rachel Ray and William Sonoma publicatios that overload the shelves; I learned how to skip them “visually”, and see if anything stands out to me.

And a couple of days ago it happened, I finally bought a book at the grocery store: Eat This, Not That – by David Zinczenko.

At first sight it looked like a book with a magazine style cover… a square book, like the ones I read to my kids at night. I opened it and started flipping quickly through the couple of hundred pages or so; I knew right away that I just made a discovery I wanted to share.
As it turns out, this is the third installment from the same author, there are more “Eat This, Not That” available out there, but honestly I never felt the need for being told what to consume or not…I actually tend to resent anybody that tries to interfere with my diet, or any of my consumptions in general!
This time though was different, this time it touched a button that for me bypasses self indulgence and skepticism, my kids.

Since I became a father, I sometimes experienced a slight frustration when it comes to feeding my kids: providing healthy and fresh food is not always the easiest thing… vegetables can be tricky, and lunch boxes that do not get re-heated at school are, at least for me, a great challenge.

Eventually, l started experimenting with what is considered “Kids’ Food”… I am not talking about microwaveable meals or pre battered and fried poultry parts, I am referring more about the breakfast cereal, the fruit bar that sometimes I treat my kids with in their lunch box, or the fat-free organic yogurt that is the only thing my youngest daughter really loved eating, for about six months….last year.
The same yogurt I discovered yesterday to be the biggest MO-FO sugar load available on the market. Fuck Me! Who Knew?
I consoled myself almost right away thinking of all the good things I always cook for them, but still, I have seen enough family fridges, been to enough kids’ parties, and seen way too many very dangerous shopping carts since I became a father. And I have to say, some kids are really being put through it…smart marketing and expensive advertising air time on the Cartoon Network, seem to have convinced a few too many mothers.
Eat This, Not That – For Kids!, is a very straight forward illustrated guide to thousands of foods, comprehensive not only of cereal, yogurt and frozen food label comparison, but with much attention paid to our and our kids daily diet. What is healthy to be eaten at a Thai Restaurant? What is to be avoided in the average Italian Family Restaurant Menu? What about Jamba Juice… it’s tricky there too, you know?
On the back cover of the book is reported that: ” Moms with young children on average spend more money on fast food every year than on music, movies, books and video-games…combined!”.
Me…I would like not to believe it, I would like to convince myself that it is not possible. Welcome to food-terrorism?!?
In conclusion, I read the whole book in a couple of days…I found only two items that made it into my kitchen, I have to find new morning cereal for everybody. Not that hard…and maybe not even that necessary, we’ll see.
However I believe that this little hand book can be very useful for many mothers and fathers, when it comes to shopping for their kids…if anything, it can help them speed up the groceries!
Happy Reading!

BTW. we just got gifted over the holidays with a few pounds of delicious Guanciale, next week we’ll be back with the historical Pasta alla Gricia.
Gabriele