Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four Piece With Fruit (my lecture on fast food)

I have never purchased fast food for my children. Ever. While this is something that I am particularly proud of, I do understand that this makes me look about as normal as, well, just not normal. While sometimes this is praised, more often than makes sense, I have other mother's look at me quizzically and suspiciously, as if I have somehow broken some unwritten code that all children should be socialized over Happy Meals. Do they know the ingredients in McDonald's Chicken McNuggets are made from steriod and antibiotic fed chickens with unusually large breasts which are stripped down to the bone, ground up into a chicken mash combined with a variety of stabilizers, preservatives, and chemicals such as tertiary butylhydroquinone (a phenolic antioxidant), polydimethylsiloxane (an anti-foaming agent), deep fried and freeze dried, and shipped to your local McDonald's playdate? Would you like fries with that, or perhaps a burger? For an incredibly fascinating (and frightening) exposé on these Mc Donald's menu items, check out this YouTube video www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IGtDPG4UfI. Unfortunately, other, perhaps more well thought of, fast food outlets aren't much better- even Chick Fil A's chicken contains MSG and the afore mentioned chemical anti-foaming agent. This is lunch (or dinner) for many children... and we wonder why kids have so many health problems these days. When my girls ask "Mommy, why can't we eat at (as they call it) Old McDonald's?", I explain to them that we want to eat food from happy animals, who, if possible, came from somewhere nearby, that we want to put good, nourishing food in our bodies, and that, unfortunately, even though it is made to look fun, the "food" from such drive-thru eateries is fortified nastiness. This may seem like seriously heady stuff for a 5 and 2 year old, but ideals (whether social, moral, or religious) are taught every day, with every action you take. Our kids are learning what to value from us.

This, of course, is not to say that I never serve up some simple, much loved, children's fare. I must admit that even I am a lover of the all-american chicken nugget. Luckily, they could not be easier to prepare at home, and they are unquestionably healthier than anything you could find driving down the highway!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

1 lb ground chicken breast (ground thighs are also acceptable and very inexpensive, ground turkey works nicely too)
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs*
1/3 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika

vegetable oil for frying

heat a large skillet over medium to medhigh with about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
combine bread crumbs, salt, and paprika in a bowl and set aside
divide ground chicken into little disk shapes and coat them in the bread crumbs
fry in the pan for about 4 minutes per side, until golden

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