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Jay Bushara

Jay Bushara

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13 Children's Books About Food (PHOTOS)

Posted: 03/10/11 10:11 AM ET

For parents and children, the subjects of what, when, and how much to eat are vexing, endlessly debatable, and, I think, a source of skepticism that can often stretch lifetimes. Remembering the hours we have probably logged projecting false confidence that our children will actually like what we are foisting, and overlook it's textural challenges, and olfactory red flags, the fact that it's not cake - really, they would be foolish to completely trust us about anything ever again.

How food arrives in our vicinity can seem so magnificently convenient sometimes, it's no wonder when we fail to acknowledge its improbable variations. Consider a pomegranate. Ostrich eggs. Squid! Look at an ear of corn for heaven's sake: imagine happening on that at the top of a seven foot stalk without knowing better.

Or imagine a carrot so massive it needs to be harvested in a wheelbarrow. Or a monster made entirely out of leftover lima beans buried in your backyard. Imagine donuts "laced with kiwi jam, and served inside an open clam!" Imagine gingerbread communities coming to life when you sleep, and fleeing sausages and flying pies, and hard bitten cookie-detectives in the bottom of that jar. Imagine red lemons. Now try imagining that the nutritional content of any food is hopefully the least interesting thing about it.

"Hubert the Pudge" by Henrik Drescher
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Isn't it funny how we use the same word to describe those funny big birds and a McNugget? Hard to know the right time to start talking to your kids about that pork chop, that hamburger, and maybe this isn't where you'd start. But the call to conscience is pretty clarion here, and also funny, and gracious: even the brutish Farmer Jake ends up falling in love and starting a Tofu company. Certainly there are cringes along the way, but Drescher, as usual, takes a little discomfort and makes it sound important enough to follow all the way to the end. If nothing else, this story offers the satisfaction of an artist with finally enough stature to defy his editors' better, safer judgment. One of a kind.
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