By Pamela Moeng
My pounding-at-the-door-of-puberty son's favourite DSTV channel is not Disney or Discovery but The Food Channel. He loves watching The Barefoot Contessa and knows many of the celebrity chefs by name. Maybe it was all that Food Channel watching he did at the breast. I didn't have time or energy to actually prepare gourmet meals as a new working mom, so I lived - or ate - vicariously while breast feeding my baby.
Nigella was my favourite - I envied her ability to indulge herself completely, with no thought of a-moment-on-the-lips-a-lifetime-on-the-hips Western obsession with looking like a malnourished child. She seemed to make love to her ingredients, taking a sensual delight in caressing and stroking them together into dishes that even through a TV screen oozed orgasmic delectableness.
Clearly the soon-to-be-teenager was storing all that decadent food-focused TV in his developing psyche. Is he a Jamie Oliver in the making? Who knows, but it would be great if he could pander to my multi-cultural desires for African traditional, Greek, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, Mexican, Indian and old-fashioned American food.
All his Food Channel watching makes me wonder if babies aren't taking in and storing a lot more than we think they are. Are all those nonsense songs, stories and rhymes I made up even while he used my womb as his personal Virgin Active why he loves to read and why he is a secret hip-hop lyricist? Or is it merely in the genes as the offspring of a painter father and writer mother?
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the nurture-nature debate.