Monday, March 7, 2016

“Can We Go to McDonald’s”: A Healthy Dilemma

My son and I were driving home, and we passed the local McDonald’s.

“Can we go to McDonald’s?”, came the 7-year old voice from the backseat.

I wasn’t sure what to say. We had never stopped in there, and I didn’t know why he wanted to now. Then I noticed the indoor play structure, and I guessed that this was the reason he wanted to stop.

To check, I asked.

Sure enough, that was it.

I apologized to the little guy, explaining that we couldn’t actually stop right then, for we had to get home that evening. I promised, though, that we would go the next day. That’s one of the important reasons to always keep your promises to your children. He knew that when I said we would do it, we actually would. And while he would have preferred to go right then, he was satisfied.

At that moment, I also let him know that we had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things. On the way there, we talked about the play structure and how much fun it would be to run around and jump and swing and play all over it. But I also mentioned that in order to play on it, we had to buy something from them, that it was only for their customers. He understood that. No problem.

At the store, we went to the meat counter, which we rarely, if ever, do. I bought a pound of the finest, leanest, organic ground beef they had. I picked up some fresh vegetables, including lettuce, onions, beets and carrots. We got some really nice cheese, the kind that melts all over the place when heated up. We got some eggs, and some hamburger buns, the good kind, not that fluffy tasteless white stuff.

For dinner that evening, he helped me make a beautiful fresh vegetable juice, cutting up the beets and carrots so that they fit nicely in the juicer. Then we took the pulp and blended it in with the ground beef. Well, we didn’t so much blend it as squish it, squeezing them together, making an awful mess with our hands, especially when we added in a couple of eggs. It was gross, and so much fun.

We made our patties, carefully wrapping them around a nice thick slab of the cheese we had bought. Then we got the barbecue going. Now, we don’t have one of those fancy dancy mutli-thousand dollar propane barbecues that make everything taste of gas. We have an old-fashioned charcoal barbecue that takes a lot of effort to light up.
And with his help, we lit it up.

In short, we made the most amazing hamburgers we had ever had, rich with many layers of flavour, cheese oozing out the middle, topped with ketchup and mustard and lettuce and all sorts of yummy goodness of things, on those wonderful whole wheat buns that were just chock full of flavour.

We were both so content, oohing and aahing over this culinary masterpiece we had created together, both of us feeling sorry that my vegetarian wife wasn’t able to enjoy it with us. We both went to sleep quite satisfied.

The next day, on our way home from his school, true to my word, we stopped at McDonald’s. And he got a burger, while I satisfied myself with an order of fries.

One bite.

That was all it took.

His expression said it all.

We played on the play structure, but we haven’t been back since.

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Oh, what does this have to do with the Faith? A few things, really. First, the importance of trust. My son trusts that when I say I will do something, I will do it. Second, I'm teaching him about healthy living, especially in terms of diet. I'm sure there's more it teaches him, but that's enough for now.