Sunday, January 20, 2008

Of Cabbages and Kings or Of White Castle and Baroque

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

I'm not talking about cabbages or kings, but two things that are just as dissimilar as cabbages and kings are.

White Castle and Baroque.

Today was a first for our children. The first time they have ever eaten at a White Castle. They were a bit hesitant to go, being die-hard McDonalds' Happy Meal fans, but then they got excited about going somewhere new.

About 10 years ago I experienced my first White Castle meal. I was not impressed. It took me 10 years to risk it again.

The kids were excited because onion rings were on the menu. They generally don't like onions - but they love onion rings. "This hamburger is better than McDonalds!" the girl exclaimed. The boy thought it was great. They ate all their onion rings, their White Castle burgers and decided they needed another burger. "Two!" says the girl. I ordered one more for each of them. Hmmmm all of a sudden the burgers were not so great. "The bun is so soggy!" says the girl trying to scrape off the tiny onions and the mushy part of her burger. "I've had enough" says the boy after one bite. Dad ate the girl's burger as she was complaining too much. The boy decided to eat his.

I had to agree with the girl. My burgers were a bit on the mushy bun side too. I have NEVER been able to deal with mushy bread. Whether it was a sandwich or a hamburger or whatever - any mushy parts had to be torn off. If I make a picnic lunch - my sandwiches need to be made when I get to the location, for fear that a bit of dampness from the meat or mustard will cause some unbearable sight of mush.

As it is, I loathe store bought bread. Specifically store bought white sandwich bread. Take one bite, chew a few times and your mouth is full of glue.

So even though the overall burger at White Castle was tasty and cute - the mushy burger issue might prevent me from ever returning. I loved the fries!

Now how does Baroque fit in with White Castle? Well it doesn't really. Except for the fact that after White Castle we went to a family concert series at the symphony hall - and the music was from Handel and Vivaldi.

The program is a series geared towards children ages 3-12. Before we headed out, we listened to some Vivaldi and dad gave them a quick lesson on Baroque Music.

Seems like the kids enjoyed the event some...enjoyed seeing the beautiful symphony hall with all it's chandeliers... and listening for awhile to the concert, but later claimed they were "bored." They both agreed their favorite instrument there, was the harpsichord.

The children behaved well, so I was pleased with that. Not so pleased with the little kid behind me that kept kicking our seats!

So since the kids said they were "bored" and "it took so long" (1 hour!) - I guess we'll never do it again. Ha! They won't get off that easy. "Take your medicine kid - it's good for you!"

We're not taking them there because we think immediately they will love it. But rather, if they have no exposure to it - how will they know whether or not they like it. Just like food, music and other experiences, can be an "acquired taste." You need to experience it a number of times before you find out you really like it. And maybe if you don't like it at aged 8, you'll like it at aged 10 or maybe at aged 30. It's part of their "aural education." :)

Both children enjoy listening to all types of music, including Classical and Opera. I'm sure some purists would frown on it - but there is a great Opera CD for children
World's Very Best Opera for Kids... in English!

Another music series I like for children is Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies.

The kids have also listened to some Opera in "foreign tongue", and listened to "real" classical music before listening to Beethoven's Wig, so I'm not just trying to "dumb it down" by giving them music geared to children. My two cents, for what it's worth (and that is about the worth of it is) - is to have the kids listen to unadulterated versions of the music first and once they have had a taste, give it to them in a fun way too.


Lynda said...

Hmmm the only think I know about White Castle is something to do with a movie.. Susan Sarandon... older woman. younger guy... but love baroque for kids... very useful learning tool too.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I don't know if your family is into Disney, but if so, there are two CDs of Disney songs played in the classical style, Heigh-Ho Mozart and Bibbidi Bobbidi Bach. We loved these as kids. As a musician, I have to admit that even I found some concerts boring as a child. You might want to try a concert with a string quartet in a smaller setting, so the kids can see the individual instruments better?

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Have you heard the Classical Kids series? It is more about the composers life told in a story format, but the background music is from each composer and my children can often pick out the same pices when listening to the radio afterword.

I've often found that fast food, in general, is only really yummy for the first 7 minutes of eating. After 15 minutes it is down right awful tasting. I think it is because after awhile your body starts sending signals that there is some really bad stuff in what you are eating (that is why I try to eat my McD's cheeseburger as fast as I can). =)

Edi said...

My Ice Cream Diary - thanks for the heads up on the Classical Kids series...never heard them...found out our library has 4 - so I just put all on hold!

We have found other story type books about classical music/composers that come with a CD...can't think of the names - but we enjoyed them too.