Look! A Soap Box! And a Recipe! | Do Try This at Home: Look! A Soap Box! And a Recipe!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Look! A Soap Box! And a Recipe!

National TV Turnoff week falls in April, so I thought it would be fun to finally post the Passover recipe I've been promising from two years.

And I was going to celebrate TV Turnoff Week from up top a soap box:
Research now indicates that for every hour of television children watch each day, their risk of developing attention-related problems later increases by ten percent.

Children in households where the TV is on "always" or "most of the time" are less likely to read than are children in other homes.

In a study of preschoolers (ages 1-4), a child's risk of being overweight increased by six percent for every hour of television watched per day.

Number of 30-second commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5

Heavy TV viewers exhibit five dependency symptoms (two more than necessary) to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse.

TV has been linked to depression among teenagers. Alas and alack I lost or tossed the article from my local paper, but found one at World News Network
The moral of the story is: if you're interested in making your child's teacher's life easier (and doing your child a favor), turning off the TV is a great start.

Also, I promised a recipe for chocolate covered Matzoh.That's not actually my picture. It comes from here. But it's more or less the same stuff.

This treat uses all four ingredients allowed during Passover, and truth be told I'd eat it all year long if I didn't mind weighing 3,982 pounds:
3-4 boards of matzah (yes folks, Jews eat BOARDS during Passover. Because that's all the food allowed)

3/4 cups of butter (The older gal uses unsalted in all her recipes. I always thought one used salted butter unless a recipe specifically called for unsalted. But I don't know why I thought this. Anyone a butter expert?)

12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup brown sugar (I usually use light brown, but I accidentally used dark brown this year and it turned out just fine)

-Melt butter with sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly.
-Bring to a low boil and cook 3-4 minutes.
-Grease cookie sheet with butter.
-Lay matzah on pan and fill empty places with pieces of matzah (in other words the entire cookie sheet has one layer of matzah)
-Pour sugar mixture over the matzah
-Cover with chocolate chips
-Put into a 350 degree oven for a few minutes, just until the chocolate chips are soft and melty.
-Spread chocolate evenly over the matzah with a knife or spatula
-Gain 70 pounds just by looking at it

More info on the tube:
TV and young children
CA State University: TV & health
France bans TV for kids under 3


Unknown said...

3982 pounds = 1806.20482 kilograms

Does reading blogs take time away from books too? No of course not :)

Jill said...

Oh don't worry SJ - the hypocrisy isn't totally lost on me. But in my own defense, you have to be able to read to be able to read blogs. :-)

Lara Neves said...

Great info on the tv. I have really been slacking in that area this winter. I used to have a no TV on weekdays rule and boy have I ever gone astray!

You have inspired me to crack down again. The kids may hate me, but we'll just break out the books!

People in the Sun said...

I love chocolate matza more than I love life itself. Actually, if I could have both it's even better.

I'm so happy the Israelites were in a hurry because I love chocolate covered matza so much it hurts. I'm putting this recipe in my "One day" folder. It's like you take a matza, which is edible cardboard, and you add chocolate, and all of a sudden it becomes the forbidden fruit.

I'm hungry, is what I'm saying.

Jill said...

Good luck Lara! In my experience, if you can endure the hate for a day or two, things improve drastically. :-)

People - Isn't it amazing? You wouldn't think a food that you measure by board could taste so good. We already ate all ours, but I wonder if next year it would handle the mail to you.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi hon
That recipe looks scrumptious but only one problem here...I don't know where I can buy Matzoh boards. No really I don't :(
Oh and as for the TV related research stats on children, N3S reads a lot (for hours each day) and also watches quite a lot of TV on a daily basis (it shuts the school day off for him in the afternoon)...maybe it is different with children on the AS? I guess there are always exceptions to the rule.

Arizaphale said...

Interestingly for me, I am going to come down in favour of TV here to some degree. My daughter has been a TV addict from an early age. She was once spotted watching a video on 'How to Hang a Door' in B&Q (large hardware chain); she was 18 months old. Being a single mother I used TV as a wind down, a sanity saver and a diversion in order to let me cook dinner.BUT! I screened what she watched, I often used video or DVD rather than commercial TV and I often discussed what she watched with her. At an early age she had seen 'Treasure Island', "Sense and Sensibility' and 'Little Women'. Much history has been gleaned from the watching of movies like 'Ghandi' and 'Gone With The Wind'. Contrast if you will, my stepson, who has been brought up on a diet of PlayStation and X box where dialogue is limited and themes repetitive. Bless him but he has NO imagination to speak of, his general knowledge is poor and his vocabulary pedestrian.(OK, that could be just because he is a boy....)
Anyway, at the risk of being controversial I say, don't throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to TV, but do throw the XBox out with the hard rubbish as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Might post on this :-)

Kristine said...

Your matzah candy sounds kind of like a faux toffe I made once with saltines. But yours definitely looks better.

ALF said...

We didn't have cable growing up so we had 7 TV channels. I think it was good for us.

A Free Man said...

God I hate the television. Especially here in Oz it's all just crap all day long. I am constantly turning it off and never let the boy sit in front of it. Fortunately he doesn't show any interest - yet. I know he will though and my mission is to severely limit the amount of time he spends in front of the idiot box.

Jill said...

DJ Kirkby – “maybe it is different with children on the AS?” Aside from teaching one autistic little boy, I don’t know a great deal about autism besides the common conceptions (and, I imagine, misconceptions). But my gut instinct would to be more concerned with the hit that practicing social skills would take in the case of a child on the AS who had heavy TV viewing habits than the academic if his or her academic skills were obviously not suffering.

For instance, a 7 year old child needs an average of 10 ½ hours of sleep a night. The average child also watches four hours of TV a day. Let’s say this average child also reads as much as your son does. You say “hours” a day, so I’m going to say that means more than two hours a day. Let’s just call it three hours a day.

I am by no means suggesting reducing time spent reading, but if that child is awake for 13 and a half hours a day and reads and watches TV for seven of those hours, that means that fully half of his or her waking hours are spent totally devoid of any type of social interaction at all. And depending upon that child’s school environment, many more hours a day of potentially interacting are cut out of the child’s day. I realize it may be different in other areas of the country, but around here any real effort at increasing socialization (or even maintaining socialization they’ve already learned) seems more or less abandoned by first grade, at least in public school.

So in that sense it seems that it’s as much about what they’re NOT doing with their time (thinking for one thing – I once read that you have less brain activity while watching TV than you do while sitting and doing nothing) as it is what they are doing.

Arizaphale - At the risk of sounding like the fanatic that I am on this subject, one of the many problems is this: I'd be willing to bet money that more children are being raised like your stepson, at least here in the United States. TV aside (since I think that Xbox thing you mention is a video game!), violent video games were originally invented to desensitize soldiers to violence so they'd be more prepared for war (this from my history professor brother).

Is that what we really want for our children? I think there are good uses for TV (like when the kids are sick, or, say, if I ever get to be 97 years old and I don't have anything better to do), but for the most part in my opinion parents don't get their flaming swords out anywhere near often enough on this particular issue.

Kristine - I imagine saltines would be delicious too!

Alf - I'm pretty sure that's more channels than I have now, and a few of those are in Spanish! :-)

AFM - Sounds good! The "idiot box" - hadn't heard that one in awhile. I was about to call it "the boob tube" in this post, but I realized that I don't even know if TVs have tubes anymore!

Arizaphale said...

I am surprised at the statement that there is less brain activity whilst watching TV than when sitting doing nothing....I would be interested to read more on this. Certainly when we watch TV there is quite a bit of commentary, trying to make sense of things, comparing and contrasting and general processing. I am also usually doing something else like knitting, embroidery or ironing so my brain is multi-tasking (with limited success...I blame age). However, to put all this in context, we do not watch much (if any) commercial TV as we have rubbish reception and any TV series we watch is on DVD so....
Also, I am surprised when you say kids watch an average of four hours TV a day!!!!!! When do they fit it all in??????? We do not have TV on in the mornings, get home (after the gym) at 6.30pm so perhaps manage a max of 2 hours a night depending on homework. Perhaps the Sat morning slug of Video hits might help raise the average.....:-(
Mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm from the Houston area, too. I just found you, and while I'm not jewish the matzah recipe sounds good. I'm thinking I could probably do the same thing with graham crackers...(eyes glaze over)... mmmm yyuuummm, graham crackers.

Where was I? Oh, yeah! *friendly wave* I hope to read more of you.

DJ Kirkby said...

Those are all good points that you have made for neurotypical children. The lack of brain activity is exactly why N3S watches TV, to help him 'take the day off'. School is sensory overload for him and so he uses his TV time to shut down for a while. He has never really slept (much to my disgust, even as an infant he woke millions of times a night) so the reading isn't taking away from his sleep time but it does give him a focus and allow him to feed his desire for knowledge. It also forces him to have 'quiet' time where his physical activity is reduced to the bare minumum (he still fidgets and twitches about but he isn't moving at top speed which he does even while watching TV, when he hops, spins, runs round the coffee table, climbs the book shelves etc *sigh*) The TV he watches is about half 'junk food for the brain/downtime TV' like Playhouse Disney and half 'teaching TV', such as the 'Transporter videos for children on the autistic spectrum and the like. He also rides his horse very well, so the hyperactivity can be 'focussed' into useful activity for periods of time each day. He is execptionally bright though, the school EP says he is a genius, I don't know if that makes a difference? I mean, maybe TV helps him because it calms him and allows him to desensitize or maybe it does less harm because he is so clever or maybe a bit of both? We meet with his teacher once a month to discuss things like this and he has doen so much to try and make school a less soul destroying experience for N3S but I am not convinced it was a good idea to move children on the autistic spectrum into mainstream schools. I think his teacher should be paid double, all teachers should in fact, they make less over here than they do back home, a fact which I am sure will shock you!

Jill said...

Arizaphale - Unfortunately I threw away the materials I had on the brain activity on one of my recent moves. I tend to purge sort of indiscriminately, or at least it seems that way in hind sight.

As for when the kids fit in those four hours, plenty of kids go home to an empty house after school after school, and other situations that either don't include lots of supervision or whose supervision includes TV as babysitter or partial babysitter. Plenty of kids spend their summer vacations in an otherwise empty house while mom and/or dad are at work and have access to TV all day with no adult to help them monitor themselves. I imagine that bumps the average up to make up for those of us that ferry our kids around from activity to activity until practically bedtime. But, you know, that's only a guess as to how that could be. To me four hours seems like a LOT, but it doesn't seem far fetched, because kids stay home by themselves, or with a grandma who is doing well to serve them a snack or meet the bus or whatever.

As for comparing and contrasting, and again I can only venture a guess, I would say that the majority of children (and adults) aren't watching 'Treasure Island', "Sense and Sensibility' and 'Little Women'. They're watching crap. I mean, most of what's on all day long is crap and if it's on, somebody must be watching it. Otherwise the advertisers wouldn't pay for it. I think, you know, that it seems inconceivable to you and me, but that's only because most people don't watch TV as purposefully as you do.

I saw one of those Hanibal movies, you know the one where the psycho eats the brain right out of the guy's head while the guy is still alive and talking? That was the most disgusting movie I've ever seen. Two rows in front of me was a six or seven year old kid. I try and think about what those people could be thinking and the best I can come up with is, "I want to see movie." And then the thought process must stop, because who thinks it's a great idea to take a six or seven year old to see a serial killer movie?

SL - With graham crackers sounds delish!!! I'll be over to eat some soon! And nice to sort of like meet you!

DJ Kirkby - I can only say that since I have very little experience with autism, I think that we're getting into specifics that I can't really speak to. But in general I maintain that parents should monitor and/or limit TV more than they do.

As for mainstreaming, I wonder that myself sometimes on occasion. It's like we're trying out the other end of the pendulum and yet there has to be a balance somewhere.

Double pay sounds good though, sure! Why not?!? Also I forgot to mention on buying matzah - Jews are everywhere! So to buy matzah, you just have to find out where exactly the Jews in your area live and go grocery shopping there. Look for the kosher section! Passover ended last night or tonight (depending on who's counting) so they might be fresh out.

Kerry McKibbins said...

Holy crap, TODAY I decided I'm fat and I had to come here and read this??@!!! Thanks a lot. (By the way, I AM fat, I just have reverse anorexia, I think I'm a lot smaller than I really am.)
AND I have a matzoh question for you: we have a box at home and it says U Pareve, but it also says, Not for Passover. What gives??

Jill said...

Kerry - I think I have that reverse anorexia thing going on too.

On the matzah, the short answer is, "Jews are crazy." The more descriptive answer (but no more accurate I'm afraid) is that certain things are kosher the rest of the year, but Passover has it's own specific rules.

So matzah made for Passover is made within a certain amount of time (I think maybe 10 minutes between the time the water gets poured into the flour and the time the cooked matzah comes out of the oven).

Since your matzah didn't have those types of restrictions, it's not kosher for Passover. At least that's my understanding. Then again, I think tortillas that are made very quickly should be kosher for Passover, especially if you leave out the baking powder.

It's all a moot point though, because Passover's over anyway. So I say spread some chocolate and butter on that baby!

Kerry McKibbins said...

Thanks Jill. Now I understand.....I think. You are so funny.


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