Every month on our Web site’s “CityThinkers” page, we take a story from the magazine and extend the conversation online. We’ve invited security experts to give advice on how to make our ports safer, say, or asked nonprofit business experts for ways to entice more people to give to social services. In the May 2010 issue currently on newsstands, Hilary MacGregor writes about her children’s charter school being the latest testing ground for Alice Waters’s Edible Schoolyard program, which encourages kids to eat healthful lunches at a communal table. Called “Just One Bite!,” Hilary’s delightful piece chronicles the program’s first year—and the unexpected reaction the program has received (put it this way: It was the parents who freaked out). Inspired by her story, the latest “CityThinkers” poses the question: How do we encourage our kids to eat more healthfully?
It’s obviously a hot topic. Weighing in, so to speak, with great advice on the matter are Wolfgang Puck; Karen and Quinn Hatfield, chef-owners of Hatfield’s; chef-restaurateur Suzanne Goin, of A.O.C., Lucques, Tavern, and the Hungry Cat; and Los Angeles magazine’s own restaurant columnist Patric Kuh. Each of them is a parent, and each of them stresses that good eating habits begin at home. Take them to the farmer’s market, cook with them, and don’t use food as reward or punishment. I recently asked my nephew, who is away at college in Northern California, what he missed most about living in L.A. “The food,” he responded. “You can get anything here, and it’s really cheap.” I felt satisfied. Since his childhood my husband and I have exposed him to as much diverse cuisine as possible. When he was five he said his favorite meal was a Chinese chicken salad. Into his teens he began leaning toward fresh over deep-fried. He’s living in a dorm—I can only imagine how many Fritos constitute a meal. But good, cheap food is something he not only cares about but misses, and that’s a healthy start.