An Ethical Dilemma Involving Seafood Masquerading as Poultry

October 26th, 2010

And now, an ethical dilemma which presented itself at dinner tonight. When your picky two-year-old daughter takes one look at the bowl of fried clams being presented for dinner and chirps happily — “chicken nuggets!”* before digging in with enthusiasm, are you morally obligated, as a parent, to inform her of their true identity?

My short answer? Heck no.

I know there are parents out there who are squeamish about “lying” to their children when it comes to food. These are the folks who feel great guilt about hiding vegetables in pasta sauce or substituting wheat flour for white without full disclosure.

My general belief, on the other hand, is that what they don’t know won’t hurt them (and, in fact, will probably help them) and you should do what it takes to get healthy foods into the stomachs of your children (and/or husbands…). I’m a huge fan of Missy Lapine’s Sneaky Chef cookbooks — her recipe for French toast that has sweet potato puree in the dip and a breading of wheat germ is to die for — and have absolutely no qualms about adding white beans to cookies or zucchini to brownies.

And so, this evening, I smiled wide and gushed — “yes, honey! Chicken nuggets are soooo yummy! Do you want some more?”

* I was a bit startled to hear her say the words “chicken nuggets,” though considering the child has never in her life set foot in a McDonalds, nor have I ever served anything referred to as a “nugget” in my home. I think they must eat them at school.

3 responses to “An Ethical Dilemma Involving Seafood Masquerading as Poultry”

  1. Isa says:

    I say whatever gets her fed is good! It is funny, though, that you are classifying fried clams as healthy–I'd put them on par with, well, chicken nuggets. But then again, I'm not a seafood fan, so I'd probably need to be lied to, too.

  2. G'Mom says:

    And? Did she eat them? If not, I bet she'd like tartar sauce.

  3. Kate says:

    Fair enough, Isa! Mostly I'm still thrilled when she eats anything new — especially if that something is a protein source. And yes, she devoured a decent-sized plate of them!

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