My Family and Other Animals

A few weeks ago I went to the baby clinic for one of those deeply undignified naked weigh-ins. At one point, I overheard Chef Anna telling the health visitor about my extreme enthusiasm for eating anything and everything, and she suggested that this was because MA-MA breastfed for a fair while and thus I was exposed to a vast array of interesting tastes. Now, I suspect this is one of those snippets of wisdom health visitors like to dole out in order to encourage breastfeeding, and actually it is based on zero real evidence, but nonetheless it got me thinking about how influential our parents are when it comes to what us babes like to eat.

MA-MA comes from a long line of perpetual grazers. Her MA-MA (the Feeder) lives life in one of those Bertolli adverts– she has been eating avocado, olive oil and flaxseed for years, and has only just realised that the “Mediterranean diet” is a thing. Grandpa seems to be on an extreme version of the 5:2 diet. He spends one day a year eating packets of those cheap sugary biscuits from the newsagent to make up for those years of starvation in boarding school, but generally he is a health freak and firmly part of the “eat to live” camp. He thinks the solution to all your problems is to eat a raw diet, but sometimes MA-MA suspects he just doesn’t know how to cook. As far as I can tell, MA-MA and her family all think of themselves as “basically vegan”, except for salmon, which inexplicably does not count as long as it is “wild Alaskan sockeye” – code for “from Ocado, not Tesco”.

Dadada’s family are a whole different kettle of farmed fish. They think a meal is not a meal unless it includes a nice slab of meat, and they refer to anything else as “vegetarian food” (or worse). Dadada thinks that potatoes count as one of your five-a-day, and MA-MA takes great pleasure in letting him know that he is indeed WRONG. He might not know the difference between white and red quinoa (he might even pronounce it “kwin-oh-ahh” – lols) but God love him, his family they sit down and eat every meal together and actually talk to each other, and that is one thing I love.

MA-MA holds a firm grip on the reins in our house, so in some ways I’m turning into her mini-me. I love avocado, fish and berries, I’ll take savoury snacks over sweets any day and I get very grumpy when I’m hungry. Plus MA-MA either cooks for me, or instructs Dadada and Chef Anna what to make, so I’m automatically eating what she likes. Nonetheless, a grazer I am not. Each meal I have is eaten sat down in my little high chair, with either Chef Anna, MA-MA or Dadada in front of me so we can have a lovely chat about whatever is on the menu.

Oh, and I just remembered another way I’m like Dadada is that we both like an evening drink. Mine comes in baby bottle and his comes in a pint glass, but I guess that still counts, right?

My gorgeous Grammy in Paris

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