Thursday, November 4, 2010

For the love of Schmukinuck

My friend Christy wrote me that lovely comment about what a great mom I am cooking my kids all this home-made food, and well, I've got to come clean:  When I excitedly announced to my family that I had joined Vegan MoFo....

...they GROANED.  Collectively.

And just last week in fact, before this Vegan MoFo business even began, my husband whined pathetically that I don't cook enough "Dude Food".

So although it might look all Happy Healthy Homemaker from the outside, I've got the same problems as the rest of you.  I perhaps, am just really good at ignoring them.

No but seriously, "how to get the kids/partner to eat healthy foods" is a question that comes up a lot with coaching clients.  So let's talk it through.

Many of you have already heard this story, but my mother says that my first word was Pop-Tart and my love of junk food and all things processed and packaged just grew from there.  Do you guys remember something called "Space Food Sticks"?

Mercy me, these things were a 1960's Space-crazed version of giant tootsie rolls to fuel us young astronauts through our busy days of moon rock collecting.  I actually became so addicted to them that my mom had to stage an intervention.  I am NOT kidding.  She had the entire family corroborate the lie that the company that made Space Food Sticks (Pillsbury) had gone out of business.  And because I always did the grocery shopping with her, she had to constantly invent growing subterfuge to keep me from wandering down that aisle and uncovering her deception.  I eventually did and have yet to forgive.

My mom was a gourmet cook and ahead of her time whole-foods wise (Pop tarts and space food sticks notwithstanding). I of course hated everything she made and invented a name for healthy veg-filled meals:  Schmuckinuck. Yes for real, and if any of my childhood friends are reading you are surely cracking up right now.  For about 15 years I subsisted on scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and tuna fish sandwiches with the crusts cut off.   The daily Schmuckinuck that appeared on our dinner table along with those objectionable bread crusts, rarely passed my lips.  When at age 16 I announced I would no longer be part of the animal cruelty machine and was from here on out Vegetarian, my mother chuckled and said "OK, good luck with that."  The only vegetables I ate were tomatoes, corn and potatoes. PB and J became my new stand-by although my discrimination of bread crusts continued.  Yet through all my pickiness and food-stage-weirdness, my mom kept cooking the healthy stuff and I got pretty used to seeing it there on the table.  Now I understand this was Brain Washing.

So what's the point of all this?  I just want to encourage you to keep cooking healthy meals despite your kids' grumbling.  They'll survive and may end up coming around eventually and be Schmuckinuck lovers just like me!  But if you NEVER introduce them to healthy food, then they don't stand a chance as adults.  I'd say that like 90% of my clients never ate veggies, not as kids and not as adults.  And now they're sick and overweight with 40 years of food habits to change.  Think of yourself as Jaimie Oliver and step forth boldly and with humor, involving the kids in your healthy kitchen experiments.  Tell them your afraid of Brussels Sprouts too but you'll try them if they will and then make edible green sprout snowmen and bite their heads off.

At the same time, keep up a steady stream of grilled cheese, PB and J, and tuna fish sandwiches with the crusts cut off.  You have to make some concessions to prevent all out rebellion.  Case in point:  Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I made him a Flan.  Eggs, butter, milk, sugar.  I am not veganizing it because I don't want to be divorced.  Or murdered.

Vegans, avert your eyes!
Birthday Flan (NOT Vegan)

But I'm also made this:
Egg-less Egg Salad (with the crusts cut off for old times sake)
THIS is Vegan!

Egg-less Egg Salad
1 container firm tofu, drained and crumbled with your hands
2-3 T vegan mayonnaise
1 T mustard
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all up.  Easier than egg salad and just as tasty!


  1. Oh Em! This post had me crackin' up. Too funny from start to finish. I'm thinking you really should consider writing a book. You are as talented at writing as you are at cooking.

    I am SO relieved to hear that your family grumbles from time to time too. And boy did I find hope in hearing that even you took some time to develop a love for veggies.

    Love the word schmukinuck. From now on,when hubby and the boys ask what's for dinner, I'll tell them, "Dude food along with a side of schmukinuk."

    How did I manage to miss out on Space Sticks? I don't remember ever seeing those as a kid. Good thing. One less sugary product to be addicted to. Oh my goodness, you're poor mom! The lengths she went to to break that addiction. LOL.

    So heartwarming that you cut the crusts off the sammies for old times sake. I just love your posts and look forward to them everyday.

  2. ROTFL, Em!

    I'm sure it didn't help when you went to visit your big sister at college, and she and her pals served you the legendary "White Mush!"

  3. Christy - it is a comfort for me to know that if I ever do write a book, at least you will buy it! Thank you!!!

    Carolyn - I was wondering how to work White Mush into the story but decided that would need a post of it's own.