The other day, J and I took his kiddo to the library for a little while to enjoy some books. When we walked in, I glanced over the rows of children’s books, nostalgia taking hold. I remember wandering through aisles like those when I was shorter than the shelves, and picking out hardback-covered books full of my favorite characters like Clifford and Amelia Bedelia.
In total, Lil Guy picked out about 5-6 books to read. We carried them to the comfy chairs set up at the south end of the library to have some adventures in our imaginations. Among the books chosen, there was one that involved a Prince and his eating habits. I will not name the book or the author here, but I’m sure you can google it and figure out what it is.
This book begins with our main characters, the Prince (who is around five or six years old) and his mother and father. It tells of how the Prince will only eat dry toast and nothing else, because he is such a picky eater. Throughout the pages, the King and Queen take their son to various lands so that he may try all the fare of the entire world, from the western hemisphere to the eastern!
At this point, I’m thinking “Wow! What a nice way to introduce different food cultures to young children!”
But, at every part of the world, the Prince refuses to eat a thing. Absolutely nothing. As much as his mother and father rave about the tastes and the wonders, he remains stubborn, with his mouth shut tight.
Here is where I begin to think, “How the fuck is this kid still alive?? It takes several, several days to travel the world, especially since they aren’t flying!! He couldn’t possibly be alive if he didn’t eat SOMEthing!! Is there a part of the book where the parents are making him eat?? Is he sneaking food and just messing with his parents so he can travel the world??? This kid must be malnourished as fuck!”
Towards the end of the book, the last place the family visits is Africa. The boy has yet to give in and try anything whatsoever. His parents keep trying and trying, showing them their faces of pleasure and how much they are enjoying the wonderful cuisine. They urge and urge the young Prince, but to no avail.
At this part in the book, I’m thinking, “This must have a Dr. Seuss sort of twist and any moment, the boy will finally give in, try something, and then be so delighted that they would travel back to all the places and he would happily eat everything presented to him. A sort of “Sam I Am” affect! Where else could the story possibly go??”
Then, I turned the page.
What happened next was a native of the country, someone who appeared to be an old, wise man, came strolling by. He asked what was wrong, and the parents explained their plight.
“Here is the moment.” I thought. “The moment where the wise old man convinces the young boy to merely taste ONE morsel…and it will all be over from there. You shall have your day, Sam I Am!!!”
But continued to read, I saw the picture of the old man pull a bottle from his bag. A red bottle. (I looked at J, and he was making the same face as me. A face that said “Wait a second…is that…?? NO! No Fucking way!….”
It was a damn bottle of Ketchup!!! The “wise” man explained to the kid that he could just PUT KETCHUP ON EVERYTHING, AND IT WOULD TASTE GOOD!! The Prince totally fell for it!! He tried the ketchup, and loved it, and proceeded to put KETCHUP on ALL OF THE WORLDLY FOODS!!
At the end of the book, J and I were both flabbergasted!!!! Of course, J’s Lil Guy didn’t see an issue and was ready for the next book. (Thank GOODNESS, I don’t THINK it put any subconscious thoughts in his mind.)
I couldn’t help but continue to wonder, though… WHAT was the point of that?? Were they TRYING to teach kids that it’s okay to not eat what’s put in front of you, unless there is ketchup on it?? Was the author saying that KETCHUP is the God of all foods!! That it is some magic liquid that makes all the vile tastes of the world magnificent??
I’m sure the author has a child who only eats ketchup on everything, and decided to write about it. But for the LOVE OF MAN, why would you want to spread that as a message to young minds!!???
It should have been cheese. ;)