Have you ever looked at the arrangement of a meal on a plate through the lens of the classical model? Strangely enough, I have!
The Grammar Stage: Culinary Compartments
When toddlers are sampling different foods and learning how to feed themselves, parents often notice their children have two priorities: identify and compartmentalize. We call them picky eaters, (and they are!), but as you will see, they are in the grammar stage of food!
First, most young children request, and perhaps even require, food that is clearly identifiable. Chicken must look like chicken, a potato must look like a potato, and a green bean must look like a green bean. Concrete identifiability is all-important to the young consumer’s mental palette. If they cannot identify it, they often will not eat it!
The second priority is compartmentalization, which often dictates receptivity of the offered meal. Each food (and its associated liquids) must be kept separate one from another, compartmentalized—no touching! Remember those rectangular melamine food trays in elementary school? Each food item had its assigned space—entrée, two veggies, bread, a drink, and utensils.