Lenny Russo Chef of Heartland in St Paul has an interesting post up today in the Star Tribune’s Taste section about getting kids to eat healthy but feeding them what they like–sort of:
Together we decided upon a first course of summer fruit salad accompanied by a house made watermelon soda. The second course would be a hamburger. In the almost seven years that Heartland has been open, we have never served a hamburger. This one would be a grass-fed beef burger with artisan cheese on a flax seed bun accompanied by plum catsup, roasted fingerling potatoes and a glass of Cedar Summit Farm organic chocolate milk. It’s a fancy and nutritious hamburger, yes; but a hamburger nonetheless. As for dessert, what do kids love more than ice cream? Stephanie suggested a float. This being local strawberry season, we decided to go with a fresh strawberry ice cream float with Michigan cherry syrup. Stephanie squirreled away in our freezer a few pints of local strawberries before we took our annual two week staff holiday over the first part of July while I placed a call to preorder a sufficient quantity of Balaton cherries from our Michigan supplier. The rest will be up to our Pastry Chef Jack Fulton.
Being that I don’t have children, I really don’t know much about getting kids to eat healthy things while fooling them into believing that they’re eating their traditional favorites. While I don’t have firsthand experience, I have talked to many different parents, one of whom recently told me that it’s quite a challenge and one that involves throwing food, ignoring food, etc. Now with that in mind, the menu above seems like a great idea at first glance but as you look closer and take it apart I have to wonder if it would really work in the real world with your average, every day, kid.
So I ask you, especially those of you with children, do you believe that burgers with plum ketchup and artisan cheese would be able to go toe-to-toe with McDonald’s processed goodness in your child’s mind? Of what is listed above, what do you think will work best and what do you think will be left in the garbage at the end of the night? What food ideas would you suggest to these chefs based on your own knowledge of the culinary preferences of children?