Thursday, February 9, 2012

Orange Raisin Muffins with Cashews

I feel kind of sad for the besieged American parent. I can call myself an American parent because I do have a paper which says I am an American citizen but my parenting style would be what I learned from the country I was born in no? There is no bunching American parenting style into one bucket is there? This is a melting pot with parenting styles from all over the planet is it not?

First it was Amy Chua, telling us that Chinese Mothers Are Superior now it is Pamela Druckerman telling us that French Parents Are Superior. I feel obligated to jump to the defense of American parents at least where matters of food is concerned.

The one thing that really interested me in the 'French Parents are superior' article is the attitude of French parents to food. To tell you the truth when I first came here I was pretty impressed at the American child's ability to eat by himself/herself. In comparison to an Indian child that was a remarkable feat in itself. What you see as better behavior/attitude is all relative isn't?

No other parent in the world feeds their children like an Indian parent does. I am in no way suggesting this is a good thing but quite the contrary. It is a lesson in patience and perseverance. The more patient the parent the more difficult it for the parent to get the child to eat.

If you are at any Indian party one sight you would not miss is mothers running behind their kids trying to feed them. I have been there done that overriding DH's advice to let DD be. I am not really sure what is it in our DNAs that makes us want to feed our children by coercion. The child has to eat no matter what. There is no incentive for the child whose mother is begging him to eat and would do anything to get him to eat to actually do it by himself is there? That just get proven over and over again. There are some sage like parents with older kids who tell you to do otherwise but no one listens.

I ran behind DD getting her to eat and doing anything to make her eat whereas with DD2 with some experience behind my belt I let her eat by herself and did not get myself worked up if she did not eat. I started enjoying going to parties rather than being anxious. DD2 managed to eat just fine without my help. Ate what she wanted and did not bother to touch stuff she did not like. I on the other hand actually had time to have conversations with adults.

With that background an American child sitting in a high chair eating what is put on his plate seemed like amazing parenting skills to me. I might be stupefied just looking at the French parent I bet.

Everything is relative my friends. If you want to have sane meal times, don't feed an young child like an Indian parent does. You are in for meal time anxiety and frustration.

Remember our schedule, DD2 is a very good enforcer. Sunday morning breakfast had DH's name against it and DD2 wanted muffins and the daddy obliged her. They set about to make Orange Craisin muffins but with no craisins on hand it became raisin muffin. DH is good at following recipes to the the T so where baking is concerned that is a very good thing. The muffins came out beautiful. The recipe for this was from

Orange Raisin Muffins with Cashews
1. 2 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
2. 2 tbsp baking powder
3. 1/2 cup sugar
4. 3 juice oranges
5. 1 stick unsalted butter
6. 1 egg
7. 1/4 cup golden raisins
8. 1/4 cup of roasted unsalted cashews

1. Melt the butter in a pan and let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Juice 2 of the oranges and section the 3rd orange and blend it in a food processor till smooth.
3. Beat the egg and combine with the blended oranges along with the melted butter.
4. Add in the liquid to the flour, baking powder and sugar and mix till it comes together.
5. Pulse the cashews so that it is coarsely ground
6. Slightly saute the raisins in a few drops of melted butter
7. Mix in the raisins and cashews into the flour mixture.
8. Spoon the mixture into muffin cups till 2/3 full.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes till tops are golden.

Let cool and enjoy a happy Sunday breakfast.


  1. Enjoyed reading the post and I share the same thoughts too. "The sage like parents with elderly kids" - LoL..Remembering someone I know :)

  2. How funny and timely that you should bring this up! I was telling my husband and parents the same thing, that there is NO way I will run after Lila and coax her to eat. We'll use regular mealtimes, a high chair and she can eat as much or little as she likes. When she gets hungry, she'll ask for more. The way it is typically done in India drives me crazy.

  3. Well you know what I wouldn't really give these studies and news much attention. A lot of this is just media hype. Honestly each child is different and what works for one will not work for the other at all. That I can see from my own two kids.

    Parenting also depends on the person, the environment, the upbringing etc. and you never know what the receiver might be thinking. If you ask a American or Parisian child they might have totally different opinion on the parenting that was meted out to them.
    As long as a child is happy, his basic requirements are being met I think the parent is doing a good job. How they do it is up to them because honestly there is no one formula to raise children.

    Now tell us what you are doing with your scheduled time off days :)

  4. I have to agree with most part of what you say but at the same time cannot say who the superior parents are. Everyone parents their kids to the best possible knowledge they have so nothing is wrong unless and until the kid is well behaved.
    One thing that I have noticed is that at any restaurant if there is any kid making a fuss it is either an Indian kid or other Asian kid. It is to do with patience and perseverance as you have said. Kids know very well on how to get over us. Saying so I too was behind my daughter to feed her.
    Congrats to your DH & DD2 on making such wonderful and delicious looking Muffins.
    How are you doing now. Hope your cold is all gone.

  5. My SIL who is in US does the same thing too. Lets her daughter Little S eat as much as want without forcing her to gulp all. I am in favor of not-coaxing-the-child as well but my in laws feel this concept is still so weird. Guess, times have changed. :-)


  6. Ha! A fifth grader was fed by his mother at my dinner table, at the behest of his visiting grandmother. The child was recovering from a cold and the grandmother insisted that that was the best way for him to recover. I asked him how he felt and he said he didn't care because his hands didn't get dirty, he was done quickly with his meal and he could go back to playing the Wii as soon as possible. His mother said that she wanted him to recover quickly and would do anything for his health. Um, he was at my house, he was playing the Wii, he was bringing down the house. That child was not sick!

    That said, I had the hardest time with my daughter. She lived on air. I watched her at day-care - she would sit swinging her feet, looking at the other kids while they begged for more food and her plate was untouched. Her doctor told me to look at what she ate on a weekly basis rather than daily basis. That helped some. Since she liked to feed herself - except when it came to certain things - we often had hour long meal times. When it came to dinner parties where kids were also invited, I would give her a meal at home before we left. Once there, she was so wired up, she would not eat so I figured I wouldn't even try. People would think I was a bad mother for not feeding my child :-D Fast forward to today and I have to ask her if she's still eating because she's not full or she's just eating for the sake of it. It's almost always the latter. I am therefore still a bad mother because which Indian mother asks their child to please stop eating?!


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