Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Italian babies consume meals and other thoughts on food

Hello everyone! What was the first question you were asked when your kids were babies?

The first question I have been asked since I arrived in Italy is how many meals does my baby consume. When I answer that I am still breastfeeding him, the question morphs into how many meals of milk does he consume, not how many times he nurses. I am not sure how do Italian moms do it, but it seems that babies around here begin consuming meals since they are born.

Flashback to last week. During our stay at the countryside, we invited for dinner one of my son's friends. She is a bit older than him (she is 8, he is 6), and we have known her for a long time, since she is the daughter of the owner of one of our favorite local restaurants. My mom took our her nice dinnerware, and got small pastries for dessert. I was thinking it was an overkill until I saw our guest eating. When I invite kids over for dinner in Canada, I make one main dish. Here kids expect two courses, and the first course cannot be a soup or salad. Fruit and a proper dessert (sorry, no cookies) need also to be offered. Finishing her pasta, our little guest did indeed ask what we were having as second course.

Memories of our stay in Italy last year resurfaced. I realized that in Canada you invite kids over for a play date, here for a merenda -- which it would be inappropriate to translate with "afternoon snack" because it is a meal of its own, held at the same level as breakfast. Wouldn't you know, merenda is one of the five meals even babies consume.

Photo: Kidspot.

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