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Jun 26, 2008 09:14 AM

Feeding the Neighborhood Children

I'm just wondering what other people do when the kid's have friends over at meal times and for snacks. At my house, I usually offer to let the kids eat with us. My DH & MIL have no problem sending the kids home while we eat. As for snacks, our cupboards used to be open to anyone who came in, but with food prices rising, I can't afford to feed everyone all the time. Who sends the kids home for meals and limits snacks and who lets the kids eat meals with the family and has an open cupboard policy?

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  1. We always feed them, (as I type this my son's college roommate is sleeping on a air matteress in his room and we made a special run late last night to pick up his favorite soda). It can be hard on the wallet sometimes but I love the idea of having an open home and fridge for all of my son's friends....who knows maybe we will turn one of them into a Chow Hound!

    1. Not so much neighborhood kids, but lots of family that drop by on weekends. I always have snacks they like on hand, and have juice boxes in a special place for the little ones to help themselves. I try to bu y things on sale, and freeze for later. This weekend, for instance,I have 6 beautiful rib eye steaks. I bought them at a local supermarket a few weeks ago- they were 4 bucks a pound! We will eat well on Sunday!

      1. The neighbor kids go home during dinner. Of course, these are little kids (under 8 years old), and I'd be feeding six kids instead of my only one if I allowed them to stay. Also, I dont' want the other two families involved feeding my son their typical chicken nugget/french fry/hotdog meals, so I don't offer to feed theirs (plus, their kids always turn their noses up at the dishes like fresh sauteed vegetables, roast chicken, grilled fish, and couscous that my son typically eats). I know I sound snobbish here, and I don't mean to. My DH and I have enjoyed cooking for our son and exposing him to a lot of good food at a young age, but I understand that it isn't everyone's priority.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cachetes

          I just started to experience this recently. My son, who is only three, is the most generous little soul I’ve ever met. When the kids next store come over he is the first to say, would you like a snack? and the second thing is, Mom, would you make us a snack? (usually a veggie plate) The first few times I thought it was really cute. And the few times the kids have been over at dinner time, I politely ask them to leave and tell to come back later.

          I have also supplied juice boxes, freeze pops and fruit roll ups. There are only 2-3 other kids so it hasn’t amounted to much but I can see if I don’t keep an eye on this it can easily get carried away.

        2. I was raised with that "open cupboard policy" [I really like that term!] so extending it to my home wasn't difficult.

          When my older two were still in elementary school, our house was the watering hole -- usually starting right-after-school until dinner. Weekends, between traveling to soccer events, just meant the kids were there for longer periods.

          BTW, whoever led me to believe girls were "dainty" and couldn't pack away food better than boys lied!

          I'd boil up pounds of plain pastas, huge pots of rice, provide fruits and veggies, water or juices; things of that nature. It was great for pantry turnover. I also implemented the rule that if the girls were going to expect _me_ to be their personal chef, then they would also learn how to cook. Pretty soon, I was promoted to executive chef and kicked out of my kitchen. My youngest daughter is a traveling socialite, though, so is often off visiting others' homes; I don't have to train her as much. The gathering of teenangsters has not diminished, though. "Meet at Alpha's house" is still the rallying call.

          Main meals are also easy: If the parents agree, we have guests. Adding extras isn't hard and fillers just mean an extra side of pasta, vegetables, or perhaps bread. Mains are always prepared with leftovers in mind.

          My ONLY concern is allergies. As I get older, my body has decided to push hives on me more frequently (vine-based berries, crab, walnuts); it's made me a little more aware. Preparing foods is easy and fun as long as I'm not surprised.

          1. I don't have kids but remember that my mom always taught me to leave a person's house before dinnertime. She had no problem with feeding my friends snacks, but had issues with them hanging around during dinner time. When I had people over, my mom thought it was rude when my visitors stayed for dinner. She would feed them and never send them home or anything like that. But she would think that the kids were ill-mannered, and would blame the parents.