“Pretty in Pink” for Picky Eaters

It was 1986, when John Hugh’s script, turned movie- juggernaut, “Pretty in Pink”, captivated the hearts of a generation, becoming one of today’s most adored cult classics. I may not have been a teenager when it hit the big screen just yet, but I do remember catching up on the Molly Ringwald madness. I too fell in love with Andie’s nerdy-cool, pretty girl next door persona. Duckie, even though he tried too hard, won my heart.

“No offense, Andrew McCarthy. You were hot, but I run with nerds.”

And then there was Iona, her punked out, zany spiked hair, matching personality and music store, TRAX. It’s the epicenter for what I love most about this film—the music.

The soundtrack, a mix of post-punk, new wave and synthpop, plays perfectly with a decade’s love for neon, lace, the emergence of goth, and ill-fitted fashion. Lady Gaga still can’t seem to get over shoulder pads and neither can I—but that was Halloween.

Speaking of frightful, let’s talk 80’s hair—THE hair, the kind that I recall withstanding the howling winds of Hurricane Gloria in 1985. The kind of hair only lead singer, Mike Scores of Flocks of Seagulls could get away with. Did you know he was a hairstylist before forming his internationally recognized band? (Mind blown)

His hair…this iconic film and its amazing soundtrack, speak of change. And just like its teen cast of characters, trying to break free from societal differences, high school cliques, and inner strife, the music turns its back on the norm. Gone went the sounds of rock and roll and in came the funk, dub and electronic.

Rich or poor, 80’s or 2000’s– teen turmoil, whether hidden under feathered bangs or a baseball cap, is relatable, whatever the social status or decade.

It’s also inevitable. Growing pains are a good thing— a sign of development, maturity at work and autonomy. Even rebellion, up to a certain point, is healthy.

But there comes a time when rebellion, the two-legged kind, sleeping ever so peacefully in the crib next door, becomes the one thing that parents dread.

You’ve seen it before—the so-called “threenager”. They’re not teens by a long shot, but they sure do have a lot in common with the older bunch. Half the time they don’t know what they want. They’re complaining one moment, then smiling the next. And as ridiculous as it may seem to the old folks, they sweat the small stuff—big time.

For wee tots, ages two to four, it can be just as interesting to say the very least. Who hasn’t seen that one child shrieking with disapproval over their clean shirt and spiffy new shoes, demanding a topless-look—with sneakers? Totally appropriate for daycare right?  Some appear as angry little nymphs, sitting at the kitchen table, wearing their bib as a headdress, throwing napkins and utensils on the floor in protest over the sight of anything “green” within 15 feet of their high chairs. Then we have the “creatives”, those who will gladly eat pitted olives, so long as they are worn on their fingers like football helmets.

If anyone ought to rebel here, it should be the parents. And if there is one battle I would love for parents to win, it’s the battle against the picky eater. Two or more (hello multiples) can play at this game.  Straying from the traditional children’s menu doesn’t mean sacrificing vegetables. There are plenty of ways to get children to eat right, without them even knowing it.

The secret is in the sauce! And in the recipe I’m about to share—don’t expect to find any tomatoes.

Since becoming a mother and talking with fellow parents about their food issues, I find the only way to survive is by outsmarting these guys. And you can bet your bagels I’m going to have a sense of humor about it!

But before you click on the recipe link below, join me as I turn up this featured song, “If You Leave”, by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.  For sanity’s sake, I like to change up the lyrics, especially during the occasional “food war” (see below for just a taste of that hit).  

So if there’s a picky eater in your life, don’t sweat it. Just sing along and smile! Try this simple dish I call, “Pretty in Pink”: Cavatappi with Creamy Beet and Goat Cheese Sauce. It’s practically neon pink, yet totally organic, loaded with vitamins and a real kick in the pants for the “princess” in your life.

No princess? No worries! Simply tell your little one, “It’s Macaroni from Mars! Grab your fork and attaaaaack!” 😀

IF YOU LEAVE  lyrics by “Weirdo Jo”

If you don’t eat, please don’t pout
Please don’t make me want to scream
Promise me just one more bite
Then we’ll sing, dance, run and plaaay!…

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