Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten Lunch

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:00 AM

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Before I began feeding toddlers, I would never have considered grapes a pernicious food. But as a parent, I would sooner pack cobras in my kids’ lunchboxes than send them off with unsliced grapes—which, I know from years of Reefer Madness-pitched propaganda, are the perfect size to plug up a small child's esophagus.

After many late evenings and early mornings of trying to bisect venal Concords and deadly red seedlesses into non-choking components of a school lunch, I finally renounced grapes in favor of less baneful foods. Goodbye, Perlettes and Niabells; hello Pepperidge Farm goldfish—which, any parent knows, are the central source of juvenile nutrition.

“Why can’t we have grapes for lunch, Mommy,” my brood often pleads.

“Because they can kill you,” I say, hearing my parental credibility wane with every syllable. It'll be hard to scare my children properly about cigarettes, drugs, or unprotected teenage sex if I'm already telling them the humble grape is really a bullet in Smuckers camouflage.

So picture my delight when I was dining with my kindergartner in the school cafeteria and looked over to see a child snacking on a bunch of purple grapes the size of Skittles. The next time I saw the child’s parent, I asked about the twee fruits. His response was helpful: He buys the so-called miniature currant grapes—a.k.a. champagne grapes, because they are used to garnish flutes of bubbly—at K&S World Market on Nolensville Road. You can also order them here.

That wasn't the only comforting thing about his response. When I asked, the forthright dad said he buys them because he is deathly afraid of standard trachea-sized grapes. Problem solved! When the time comes, I now know whom to call about the dangers of sex, drugs and Marlboros.

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