Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery
dr_pretentious

The Solid Food Dancers (Or, Why The Food Network Should Not Hire Me To Develop New Programs)

It's time now to start introducing Gareth to solid food. Over the past few weeks, he's been watching Dan and me with fascination whenever we eat. He's five months old, teething, curious, and due to run out of his body's iron reserves by the end of the month.

And yet, I hesitate. Not just because of La Leche League's warnings about the risk of food allergies. No, the real obstacle is my memories of my first two nieces' early experiences with solid food. For a very young child, it's not enough to explore a food's flavor, texture and color. A very young child feels a profound need to explore a food's ballistic and adhesive properties, too. Am I really ready to cope with flying gobbets of applesauce? With finding the pages of my books stuck together with masticated rice? And no sooner will Gareth be through the ballistic and adhesive explorations than the picky-eater stage will set in. The whole prospect is so daunting, it makes my early travails as Dr. Moo Cow seem rosy in retrospect.

So I got to thinking, maybe what the world needs now is a sort of epicurean equivalent to Sesame Street, an educational show that would do for children's eating skills what the Children's Television Network has long done for the foundations of children's literacy and numeracy. I got to thinking this because, every time I would say the words solid food, it would trigger a memory of that goofy 1980's pop music show Solid Gold. If you're of the wrong generation or nationality to remember the Solid Gold Dancers and their theme song, YouTube can show you the kind of thing I have stuck in my head.

I have a lot of conversations that go like this:

FRIEND OR RELATIVE:
So, when is the baby due for solid food?

ME:
Oh, he's ready now. We just need to catch up with him. This could be the weekend for solid food.

MY BRAIN:
So-lid FOOD!
Fills my life with pureed carrots
So-lid FOOD!
Jamming rice grains up your nose


FRIEND OR RELATIVE:
I remember when we started our kids on solid food...

MY BRAIN:
There's a jar that's unopened
Though the baby is hopin'...


ME:
I'm sorry, what were you saying? I seem to be somewhat addled by sleep deprivation.

FRIEND OR RELATIVE:
What really worked for us was...

MY BRAIN:
The floor is covered with Gerber's
Covered with food
SO-LID FOOD!



The interpretive contortions of the Solid Food Dancers are best left as an exercise for the reader's imagination.

But really, is it that much more far-fetched a premise than that of, say, Iron Chef? And the Food Network already has its stable of culinary celebrities who could be recruited for the project. Some of them (I'm thinking of Sandra Lee and Bobby Flay) are suited, by temperament or style of self-presentation, for spandex and hip-waggling. Others, I admit, would not make the transition into the ranks of the Solid Food Dancers quite so gracefully. Mario Batalli and Alton Brown probably should not appear in the same sentence with the word "spandex," but it's too late now. The part of Dionne Warwick will be played by Anthony Bourdain.

You see now why I don't have a future in television?
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