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Green Swamp Soup

Yellow eye of a big fat troll.
Gnarled nail of monster toe.

One large bunch of green bog logs.
Add a pinch of scale of frogs.

Stir in a lump of troll’s earwax.
Blend it with milk of a one-eyed cat.

Throw four cups of snake spit in.
Boil it up, the fun begins.

Sprinkle dirt and dried mold flakes.
Mix again and have a taste.

*Serve with a gnarled-tail-of-monster-toe boat.

Green swamp soup is my kids’ favorite food. A.K.A. asparagus soup, this is not your average kid fare, and that, my friends, is the point of this blog. There really isn’t any such thing as “kid-friendly” food. In fact, most of the food that’s considered “kid-friendly” in terms of taste is about as unfriendly to the nutritional needs of a child as you can get. (If you’re a parent, you already know I’m talking about chicken nuggets, hot dogs, french fries, tater tots, grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese and pizza, just to name a few).

Where did this idea of kid-friendly food come from? Unfortunately, it came from restaurant chains and food marketers. It’s no coincidence that the foods these companies market to our kids are also some of the cheapest to produce — and hence the most profitable to sell. And we buy it. And feed it to our kids in huge quantities.

Nearly 25% of children aged four to eight consume some type of fast food daily, according to a recent study on kids and fast food by Michigan State University and Baylor College of Medicine. The study also found that only three percent of kids’ meals offered at fast food restaurants meet federal dietary guidelines for nutrient quality. THREE PERCENT. Combine this info with the rising numbers of childhood obesity and you realize that there is actually something very wrong with “kid-friendly” food.

Green Swamp Soup, then, is a mom’s blog about truly kid-friendly food and the trials and triumphs of making and eating it! This is by no means an all-or-nothing proposition. (My kids have eaten at McDonald’s more times than I’d like to admit, and Sonic is one of their favorite restaurants.) Rather, it is an attempt to find a balance in making food with local, organic and fresh ingredients when possible. About teaching my kids about where their food really comes from. And about learning to recognize and enjoy the precious gift of eating food that is grown in our own neighborhoods, cooked in our own kitchens and shared at our own kitchen tables.