a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Aug, 2010

Emma’s guest post: Pillsbury and Me Have a Disagreement

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Guest postings

When I met Emma Waverman at BlogHer I was immediately struck by what a friendly and passionate person  she is, and when I read her blog the connection immediately solidified. I found myself reading, nodding my head, and uttering many OH YEAHs and I’VE BEEN THERE TOOs. Read on! 

I am happy to dropping into the Fishbowl today to do a guest post as Andrea swims around in other waters. I am Emma Waverman and I blog daily at www.embracethechaos.ca on a myriad of topics that have to do with being a modern parent. I am also co-author of the cookbook Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them. (Ed: available at Indigo/Chapters and Amazon.]  Drop by www.embracethechaos.ca to check out what is creating chaos today!

I am standing in the BlogHer Expo Hall and the Pillsbury sales rep is telling me to come back later and sample their fabulous new lunch product: a frozen peanut butter and jam sandwich [Ed: GACK] that is individually wrapped and will thaw sitting in a lunch bag. That way, my perky presenter tells me, lunch is pre-made and you can spend 10 extra minutes with your kids in the morning.

I stood frozen in shock, just like the PB&J that she was trying to sell me. But PB&J is so easy to make! My kids could do it, but they aren’t allowed because most schools are nut-free, I told her. Not only that but there is no such thing as quality time in the morning; it’s mostly aggravation panic time.

She gave me a glassy smile and suggested that the convenience of such a product was actually going to make me a better parent.

At this point we parted company. As I walked around, I grew more and more frustrated with this idea that convenience is somehow a worthy trade-off for health, the environment or just plain good taste. By the time I sat down for lunch with my fellow attendees I was bursting to tell the story. “I don’t get it! It’s just like Bagelfuls!” I exclaimed noting the similarity to the pre-frozen bagel and cream cheese product which I refer to as a bagel Twinkie.

“We eat Bagelfuls every morning for breakfast,” said a fellow attendee. They are delicious.” At this point I decided to not discuss the topic anymore until I reached the quiet of my keyboard.

Here’s the thing. By taking the few extra minutes to spread cream cheese on a bagel, nut butter on bread or even to make your own cookies or dinner from scratch, you are sending a message to your kids that good food is important. Taking the time to prepare good food is an important part of the day because healthy bodies (and a healthy planet) are worth it.

I want my kids to be able to open the fridge and prepare a snack so that they know that food does not come pre-packaged and pretty from the freezer. I want them to develop the ability to know what tastes good, which peanut butter they like better; how much to put on and to experiment. Maybe someday they will discover that they like cucumber and tomato on their bagel and that peanut butter and leftover spicy chicken is a pretty good sandwich. Who knows? But they won’t figure anything out if I pop a frozen sandwich in their backpack so I can spend more quality time with them. Hey Pillsbury lady, cooking is quality time.

14 Responses to "Emma’s guest post: Pillsbury and Me Have a Disagreement"

1 | julie

August 18th, 2010 at 8:38 am


Can’t help but agree. Cooking is family time. My kids fight to be the one to sit on the counter, or the high stool. Stirring, measuring, dumping-that’s quality.
My Gr 1 boy asked me all last year for lunchables, ’cause the other kids had them. I finally got around to looking at the nutritional information (what nutrition?)and showed him that if he were daddy’s size, it would still have too much of some stuff and not enough other stuff to be a meal. We didn’t buy them.
If we can spell all the ingredients, then we can eat it.

2 | Stefania (Ingredients for Life)

August 18th, 2010 at 8:47 am


If parents are buying this garbage then they need to re-evaluate where they are spending their time and how come they don’t have time to make their little one a sandwich. Parents need to take control of what they feed their children. This product is nuts on many levels. I tried to find more info on this product, including a list of ingredients (which you can be sure is garbage) and I wasn’t able to.

3 | Emma @ embracethechaos.ca

August 18th, 2010 at 8:53 am


I tried to find the product online too but I couldn’t. Perhaps it is too new?

4 | Stefania (Ingredients for Life)

August 18th, 2010 at 9:03 am


No doubt it’s a back-to-school product. I’m assuming something will be available online soon.

5 | coffee with julie

August 18th, 2010 at 11:30 am


A pre-made, frozen PB&J? Ridiculous.

6 | Kaitlin

August 18th, 2010 at 2:17 pm


*Applause* Um, this might be the first parenting post that has made me well up. Possibly, because I’m not a parent.

But, I could not agree more with Emma. There are so many skills to be taught in the kitchen and so many things that can be shared by sharing food.

7 | Erica at KitchissippiKids

August 18th, 2010 at 6:40 pm


I love the title of your book – it really made my chuckle – and I will definately check it out. We are constantly encouraging our picky eaters to branch out without turning mealtime into a battleground. My kids (8,7 and 1) are definately unadventurous – even with ice-cream they’re vanilla al the way! We still have high hopes for the 1 year old. I was a similar picky eater and have some sympathy for them though, luckily, as a teenager I learned to expand my food repertoire.

8 | karengreeners

August 18th, 2010 at 10:01 pm


AMEN! And I work full-time, so I don’t want to hear that as an excuse. There are convenient ways to cook from scratch too (slow to the cooker, yo) and it’s about balance. It’s ok to order a pizza when you’re feeling harried. But frozen PB&J – not necessary. Just, so not necessary.

9 | Joanne

August 19th, 2010 at 8:02 am


Emma – I LOVE your cookbook. I have been using it weekly since I bought it a few years ago. Packaged and frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – yuck! We could not bring it to school with the nut free policy either.

My kids are picky kids but we cook together and they help with the grocery shopping. They know that eggs come from chickens and bacon from pigs not from the store! Food preparation is important to me – I enjoy taking the time to prepare something yummy and healthy. There are plenty of things you can prepare quickly with a little planning…. buying frozen PB&J will never be on my list!

10 | Debbie

August 19th, 2010 at 11:12 am


Wow, Frozen PB&J is amazing to me. But then I thought frozen pancakes and pre-washed salads in a bag were pretty silly……..and they are still around. Time will tell if others will actually buy this product……..who am I to judge:)

11 | Hilary

August 19th, 2010 at 12:24 pm


A frozen sandwich? Well, now I’ve heard everything.

12 | Lee

August 21st, 2010 at 7:50 am


I was stunned when I saw pre-hardboiled eggs (Omega-3!) for sale at the grocery store. But frozen PB&J? I’m gobsmacked!

13 | Camping 2010 >> a peek inside the fishbowl

August 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 am


[…] they do a great job? In case you missed them, here’s Kaitlin’s, Dave’s, Emma’s, and Rebecca’s posts. Thanks again. You guys […]

14 | Misty Pratt

July 24th, 2012 at 12:29 pm


Anything that’s packaged and processed is sketchy in my eyes (even if it’s labelled “organic”). I’ll admit, I do buy frozen stuff on occasion (I can’t get enough of Amy’s organic burritos while I’m pregnant), but I totally agree – spread some yummy cream cheese on a bagel at home and be done with it!! Looking forward to checking out your blog

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Ang Antos: I would respectfully disagree that the parks should open up individual reviews for each site, part of camping is the adventure, the not knowing and di
  • Maureen Kilpatrick: I love reading books and last year I read the most I’ve ever read since I started tracking on Goodreads. It was mostly due to the pandemic and the l
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive weathering - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] am happy to say that I am still making my bed every day and reading lots of books. I don’t want to oversell it, but the making the bed
  • jdope: It is ridiculously addictive, if you can get your hands on some it won't last long. FYI The ingredients on the Ikea Mustard Dill Jar: Canola Oil, M
  • Lisa from Iroquois: Totally get why you saved that calendar. You know, the way it is designed, you could easily create an slip of paper with 2021 calendar and glue it i
  • Stephanie Henderson: Thank you very much, you're an outstanding author! Maintain providing us with excellent stuff later on.
  • valiasi: So hard to say. Yet, knowing your tendency for either opening or finishing can help you understand what habits you need to work against and what parts

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter