Punish The Stomach: The Eating-Nothing-But-Kiddie-Food Challenge

Originally published on Zug.com (now Media Shower) way back in the good ‘ol days. And by that, I mean January 8, 2013.

OK, I may never win Parent of the Year, but I care about my kid. I care so much in fact that I’ve listened to hours of his hideous music and watched a blinding amount of Air Buddies movies, all in the name of parental guidance.

But nothing is more important than watching what your child puts into his or her body. So to make sure my little guy is eating right, I’m dining like a five-year-old for a week. Three bland squares, a tiny snack every now and then, and an assload of regrets.

Normally, I’m a good cook. Not a restaurant pro mind you, because that requires patience and people skills. In my own kitchen though, I’m pretty damn handy. But for the next week, I have to forget about all that.

Can my adult brain, warped by years of awesome food, large portions, and the ability to find a recipe and just make the damn thing, handle having my appetite reduced to that of a kindergartner’s? No, probably not. I will likely be grumpy and ornery throughout. But that’s what you came for, right? Of course it was.

DAY 1

Naturally, we start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day, according to people who want to sell you breakfast products. And what does a picky toddler love for breakfast? Cereal, of course! And not some healthy-ass Honey Bunches Of Oats, either. No, I’m enduring the most painful, overly-sugary cereal imaginable:

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Yes, Smorz. The cereal that begs the question, “why make it a cereal? Just eat s’mores for breakfast, you cow. You know you want to.”

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I’d have been better off, because this sure as fuck doesn’t taste like s’mores. If you like Cocoa Puffs, but a tiny dusting of chocolate is all you can handle then, by all means, chow down. And if you like Lucky Charms marshmallows, but wish they were smaller, harder, and less colorful, then this is the cereal for you! With ravings endorsements like this, you have to wonder why I’m not CEO of an advertising agency right this minute.

Eating processed, bastardized s’mores was bad enough, but then I went to fix up my staple of the morning, coffee. At the last second, I remembered my duty:

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Little kids don’t drink coffee, unless Mommy and Daddy want a visit from DSS. So sadly, I went without. Luckily, I had these to get me by:

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Yes, tiny, shitty, inconvenient juice boxes that are about the size of my pinkie finger. But they do contain 66% juice! That’s 2/3rds juice and, as Meat Loaf philosophized, two out of three ain’t bad. If this juice box were a baseball player, it would immediately be tested for steroids! If it were a student, it would barely avoid flunking out of school! So clearly, my throat is in good hands.

And speaking of meatloaf:

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Oh, yum. I haven’t eaten one of these things in years. And for damn good reason. Just look at it! Look at that frozen glob of mashed potatoes, and those teensy-weensy miserable slabs of maybe-flesh that I’m contractually obligated to swallow. Lord knows what part of the cow was sacrificed for this meal; the heels of its hooves, perhaps.

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And I had tons of fun carving through the semi-frozen potatoes like an Eskimo making a fishing hole through the ice. It was better than when I had to eat the damn things. These are unquestionably the worst mashed potatoes I’ve ever had to choke down. No seasonings, no salt, probably no butter or milk, and they turned cold and frigid quicker than your girlfriend after you mistakenly call out her Mom’s name in bed.

Yet, I choked it all down, and waited for dinner. At that point, I went to make a deliciously juicy cheeseburger, with minced garlic, various seasonings, feta cheese, and Worcestershire sauce, all rolled into the ground beef prior to being cooked to utter perfection. NOT SO FAST, FOOD BOY. Again, my job gets in the way of pleasure, so what became dinner instead? Grilled fucking cheese.

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And not some gourmet grilled cheese, either. Just a straight-up, old-school, two-breads-with-butter-and-a-slice-of-cheese, grilled sandwich. Was it good? Technically, sure. It’s the most basic food on the planet, and borderline impossible to screw up. But after that damned meatloaf, I wanted more. Well fuck me, I wasn’t getting any more. Not until breakfast!

I did get to treat myself to another juice box later that night though. It was New Year’s Eve, after all. Time to cut loose and go crazy!

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I didn’t want no stinky stupid alcohol anyway

DAY 2

Getting out of bed was already difficult, because Smorz awaited. But I choked down another bowl, and then groaned until lunchtime. Today, it’s Easy Mac: water, microwave, eat, weep.

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The cartoon lion likes it, so it must be good

Now we all get lazy and eat mac and cheese now and again. But could this thing even feed a chickadee? Obviously kids have smaller stomachs than adults, but this small? You’re telling me a kid shouldn’t eat more than a handful of macaroni at a time? Not literally, by the way. That would be hot, skin would get burnt, and then that pesky DSS would come knocking AGAIN.

Dinnertime brought lasagna for everyone else. But I can’t cheat; cheaters go to Hell when they die. I had to feast on something else:

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Kids Cuisine Pizza, ugh. If you can even call it “pizza;” I’ve seen crust bigger than this thing. It tastes like nothing but dough. It supposedly contains “real mozzarella cheese,” with stuffed crust to boot, and I still only tasted dough. The corn was beyond bad, and turned frigid within seconds. The applesauce was not made by Kids Cuisine, so it was OK. It would have been better if I made it, though.

I miss my oven.

But honestly, the meal wasn’t the worst part of the night. No, that honor went to my brother, as he chowed down on delicious lasagna. Meanwhile, I nibbled on something that, if pizza could make babies, would easily be considered an undeveloped pizza fetus.

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He doesn’t love lasagna so much as he loves me contemplating suicide

DAY 3

More Smorz. My heart’s beginning to have palpations.

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Why can’t kids like chest-friendly food instead?

For today’s lunch, I made a plain cheese sandwich, the way Satan intended. But I learned something from the grilled cheese experience. Kids don’t just eat sandwiches; they eat them without crust! How could I have been so careless?!

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Sorry boss, it’ll never happen again boss, I promise boss

I don’t know why crust makes kids’ skin crawl, but it needed to be disposed of regardless. As for the sandwich itself…it’s not a sandwich. Swallowing sand from the Sahara would make my mouth wetter than this dry concoction. You could feed this crap to a horse and pretend he’s talking.

Do toddlers have special powers that allow them to choke down edible sandpaper with a smile on their face? I could have used that power when I was too broke to cook, and could only do ramen noodles doused in ketchup. As always, youth is wasted on the young.

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Dinnertime brought yet more Kids Cuisine, because God decreed my suffering never end. This time, I sucked down three measly stinking fish sticks, five tiny potato puffs, and a thimbleful of macaroni and cheese. And corn. Cold, disgusting corn. Why does Kids Cuisine insist that we eat their shitty corn with each meal? You can’t even digest the stuff; it’s not so much food as it is a practical joke on your stomach.

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“Caution: content will be hot.” No, content will be soggier than a St. Bernard in the rain. I’m not kidding when I say that these were the tiniest, soggiest, limpest fish sticks I have ever seen. Even as a wee one, I would look at these things like my parents were punishing me for something.

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“Since when do fish sticks come straight out of the ocean?”

DAY 4

After another hearty bowl of Smorz, I proceeded to get sick as a dog and hurl gnarly chunks all over the place. I had a 100-degree fever, and was coughing and hacking all over the place. I’d heard about a bug going around, but I knew better. I blame the food. It would explain why kids get sick all the time.

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Maybe if I ate the thermometer my stomach would start to feel better

Nevertheless, I trudged on, as I had a job to do. My latest duty: a bologna sandwich! I have not eaten bologna since I was ten and realized it was the most God-awful meat imaginable. But kids love it, probably due to the funny name.

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I can’t remember; do kids like their bologna with paper edges, or without?

Time has not improved bologna any. This might be the worst excuse for food ever, like eating a raw hot dog. Naturally, it’s the cheapest as well, because poor people deserve the worst. I bought a pound of this crap for 98 cents. I feel bad for the delicious candy bar I could’ve bought with that money. I hope it found a good home.

Was dinner better? Yes, because it wasn’t bologna, but my personal childhood staple, Chef Boyardee!

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Honey, I shrunk the childhood

This is apparently the perfect size for kids. When I was young and actually ate this stuff, I would eat an entire full-size can. What child, pray tell, is supposed to be filled up with one of these things? But hey, maybe it’s bigger on the inside, like a tiny red Tardis filled with fake pasta, instead of aliens in bowties.

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WRONG. This is what you feed a starving person you hate; a miniscule portion that will only whet his appetite for more. When they beg you for more, you slap them in the face and remind them that this is technically a whole serving size, with vegetables to boot, so stop being such a whiner.

And after thinking that horrible thought, I went to sleep, nice and hungry. Zug better buy me a goddamn steak after all this.

DAY 5

I want to stop eating Smorz, truly I do. Each bowl’s probably taking years off my life. But kids eat the same crap every day for breakfast, so I must as well.

Lunch was chicken nuggets. But, being Kid’s Week, I chose ones shaped like dinosaurs.

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Being shaped like monstrous beasts did not enhance the flavor. These are still bland wads of processed hen that will likely end up in the toilet by the time I finish this…

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…ahhhh, much better…sentence.

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If you can look at this, and still say I’m eating real food, then you have an iron stomach, no eyeballs, no tastebuds, and are a complete liar. That’s right; you need to meet all four of these qualifications before you can claim this is anything but a good weight for a brand new garbage bag.

I was finally feeling better so, for dinner, I treated myself to some home cooking, picky toddler-style. One plain, boiled hot dog, and half a dozen potato puffs! Real ones this time.

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Potato puffs: even hardcore bikers sound like giant babies when saying the name.

I’ve been grilling my hot dogs for years now and, after re-entering the Boiler Room, I plan to keep grilling for years to come. This was very not good, and not just because I had to eat it plain. It tasted like slightly cooked bologna. And bologna is raw hot dog, as my scientific studies concluded several paragraphs ago. In conclusion, the whole turkey/pork/beef/chicken mashup only works if it’s flame-broiled, grilled, nuked, or literally set on fire beforehand.

DAY 6

Why am I not out of Smorz yet? It’s not THAT big a box. Besides, I need an excuse so I can just off and eat some damn toast for once.

Lunch and dinner both consisted of Lunchables. If kids are going to be abused with these things all the time, so must I. Ham came first.

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Oh wow, something new to drink! Problem is, I can’t stand cherry. Oh well, I’m eating like a kid, which involves eating things I hate and LIKING IT, YOUNG MAN. There are starving in kids in China, dammit! Though even they may turn up their noses at these things.

I did not actually taste ham, just salt. Cold, cold, salt. And I have never had no much difficulty chewing cheese in my entire life, as I did with this thing. I actually stopped to make sure there wasn’t still paper on the outside, but no. It’s just cheese or, more likely, out-of-code Cheezy Squeeze that has been frozen into tiny squares since the mid-80’s.

Even the crackers were tasteless! In fact, I’m not convinced these are even crackers, despite the box’s convincing argument to the contrary:

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“Hey, you cracked your tooth in half while chewing, right? Basically the same thing”

But hey, maybe it was a fluke, and the turkey package would be more than salty meat, frozen Cheez, and glorified drink coasters.

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Nope. In fact, if not for the big TURKEY plastered on the box, I would’ve thought I was eating the same meal twice. Everything looked and tasted the exact same, including the meats. This is because excess processing, endless coloring, a whole can of Morton’s Salt, and probably a disease or two have come together to create a brand-new almost meat called Lunchableat. The only meat recommended for stale crackers that you doesn’t even deserve the flimsiest of peanut butter spreads.

DAY 7

Home stretch time. One more bowl of Smorz, and the rest was immediately sent to the one place where it could do the most good:

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It was more charitable to NOT donate the rest

After properly disgusting myself yesterday, I decided to simply starve myself today, with a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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I typically eat double-decker PBJ’s, so this tiny little kid’s version is nothing more than a tease. But decent enough, and it got my stomach growling for my final kiddie meal of the experiment. And I chose a doozy to end on. Based on the picture alone, it had potential to be the most disgusting thing on my entire menu:

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Kid Cuisine, my mortal enemy! Of course you would be the final boss. And what a finale it was. Rubbery meatballs the size of dimes, undercooked spaghetti, watery tomato sauce and, of course, CORN. Fuck corn, and fuck Kids Cuisine corn especially. It’s like they collect all the expired corn from grocery stores around the world, freeze it up, and then resell it as part of their Blue Containers of Doom campaign.

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And with that miserable meal choked down, and with one final massive trip to the bathroom, I am done with this diet. I can’t believe some parents feed this crap to their kids on a regular basis. No wonder they always want to skip ahead to dessert.

And speaking of:

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Snacky cakes galore. Now THIS is an eating experiment. Suck it, childhood obesity!

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One thought on “Punish The Stomach: The Eating-Nothing-But-Kiddie-Food Challenge

  1. That last photo of you is hot shit.

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