Tempted To Eat Your Baby's Table Scraps? You're Not Alone | WYPR

Tempted To Eat Your Baby's Table Scraps? You're Not Alone

May 10, 2015
Originally published on May 10, 2015 5:37 pm

Being a parent changes you in many ways — including when it comes to what you're willing to eat.

Parents eat their kids' leftovers — yes, it's true. And this can mean leftover scraps on their baby's tray ... or bits and pieces hanging off bibs and mouths. Hey, it can look strangely irresistible at the time.

Dan Pashman of WNYC's The Sporkful spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about how to come to terms with this fact of life. His bottom line: Feel no shame.


Interview Highlights

Why it happens

Well, there's something about the cumulative effects of parenting, the lack of sleep, the way that your kids — as lovely as they can be — can sort of wear you down. I think you get to this place where you're kind of feeling a little sorry for yourself. And there's some food in front of you, and you're vaguely hungry and you're just like, "Maybe if I put this in my mouth, everything will be better."

I managed to convince myself that graham crackers are better after they've been gummed by my younger daughter. They're awfully dry and brittle — but once they get moistened just a little, they're like a graham cracker crust.

Where to draw the line

I think you have to put your kids' table scraps into a hierarchy. So the first thing is the food that's lying around the table or the plate that your kid didn't touch. To me, that's fair game. That's like being at a buffet. Then there's the food that your child touched but then put right back down on the plate ... Then there's the food that your kid touched and dropped on the floor .... I'll still usually go for this, unless the floor's having a bad day. Then there's the food that was in your child's mouth and fell out onto the plate or onto the ground. I think it's not pleasant. And I think you've just got to remind yourself of that and back away.

Room for creativity

But there are also opportunities. For instance, I don't give my kids chicken skin because it's a little hard for them to chew. I love chicken skin. So, take that piece of chicken skin, wrap something up in it. Get your hands in there. Don't be shy. Nobody's watching, nobody's judging you. It's not like you're going to go on a national radio show and talk about this. Just go for it.

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Being a parent changes you in many ways, even when it comes to what you are willing to eat. Here's the comedian Louis C.K. on stage talking about parenting a young daughter.

(SOUNDBITE OF STANDUP COMEDY ACT)

LOUIS CK: You don't - you can't sleep. You don't sleep. You don't eat. You don't eat meals. You just eat at the sink fast, standing up.

(LAUGHTER)

LOUIS CK: Some macaroni and cheese that didn't f****** eat. That's your dinner now.

(LAUGHTER)

LOUIS CK: There's people yelling - hurry up. I'm just trying to get food.

MARTIN: It is true. Parents eat their kids' leftovers. And we mean really left over. Joining us now is Dan Pashman of WNYC's The Sporkful to explain what we should do about this fact of life. Hey, Dan.

DAN PASHMAN: Hey, Rachel.

MARTIN: So as a parent, I already know the answer to this question. But maybe you can explain to the audience, why does this happen?

PASHMAN: Well, there's something about the - sort of the cumulative effects of parenting - the lack of sleep, the way that your kids, as lovely as they can be, can sort of wear you down. I think you get to this place where you're kind of feeling a little sorry for yourself.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Totally.

PASHMAN: And there's some food in front of you, and you're vaguely hungry. And you're just like, maybe if I put this in my mouth, everything will be better.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: I mean, gross stuff is either on their little baby tray or, like, hanging off their bib. And now, at the end of the day, like, I'm looking at this, you know, piece of turkey, and I'm like, that hanging off your mouth looks delicious.

PASHMAN: (Laughter).

MARTIN: That is a good idea right there.

PASHMAN: Yeah, no, totally. I mean, I managed to convince myself that graham crackers are better after they've been gummed by one of my...

MARTIN: (Laughter) That is not true.

PASHMAN: ...By my younger daughter.

MARTIN: That is not true.

PASHMAN: Well, they're awfully dry and brittle. But once they get moistened just a little, they get more like a graham cracker crust.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Oh, man. We forgot. We should have done a warning at the top of this for people.

PASHMAN: Yeah (laughter).

MARTIN: Sorry if you're eating your breakfast right now. OK, so we've established that this is a problem. Are there things we can do about it?

PASHMAN: I think that you have to put your kids table scraps into a hierarchy, OK.

MARTIN: OK, ground rules - there should be some.

PASHMAN: Right, ground rules. So the first thing is the food that's lying around the table or the plate that your kid didn't touch...

MARTIN: Yeah.

PASHMAN: ...To me, that's fair game.

MARTIN: Fair game. Yeah.

PASHMAN: Right, that's like being at buffet.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

PASHMAN: You know (laughter). Then there's the food that your child touched, but then put right back down on the plate.

MARTIN: Oh, yeah.

PASHMAN: I think that's still pretty...

MARTIN: Yeah, that's like five-second rule.

PASHMAN: ...Harmless. Right. Then there's the food that was in your child's mouth and fell out...

MARTIN: (Laughter) Yes.

PASHMAN: ...Onto the plate or onto the ground.

MARTIN: Yes. What do we do about that?

PASHMAN: I think it's not pleasant, and I think you should remind yourself of that and back away.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Yes. Don't do it. Just don't go there.

PASHMAN: But there are also opportunities.

MARTIN: OK.

PASHMAN: For instance, like, I don't give my kids chicken skin 'cause it's a little hard for them to chew. I love chicken skin so take that piece of chicken skin, wrap something up in it, get your hands in there. Don't be shy about it.

MARTIN: OK, so I did this recently. There was no strategy ,but my baby was eating - I had black beans on the table, on his little tray and little cherry tomatoes, and there was avocado. And I hadn't planned it, but then I'm looking at that. And then I'm like, that is a delicious, little Mexican delight right there.

PASHMAN: (Laughter).

MARTIN: I just mushed those things together, and all of a sudden, I'm like south of the border. I'm like having a little Tex-Mex feast.

PASHMAN: (Laughter).

MARTIN: So bottom line for you in all of this - we should not feel shame.

PASHMAN: That's right. Nobody's watching. Nobody's judging you. It's not like you're going to go on your national radio show and talk about this.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

PASHMAN: Just go for it.

MARTIN: Dan Pashman of WNYC's The Sporkful podcast. Thanks so much, Dan.

PASHMAN: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.