Saturday, August 16, 2008

For the Love of Food

Alexander's Third Birthday is coming up in three short weeks. Like his siblings, Alexander loves to cook. We don't take cooking lightly around here. Sure they start off learning the easy things, making chocolate chip cookies and brownies. They learn to follow direction and read and measure. Cooking is so beneficial on so many fronts. The older two even help their father with his paella. At 9 years of age my daughter is learning how to use a sharp knife. She is even learning how to use the stove. (We have electric -- much to my chagrin, but I worry less than I did with my gas range.) At 7 years my son is not quite ready to tackle those yet. So when he made the meatballs the other night, he did everything except cook them. In essence he did the hardest work.

So it seems only fitting that Alexander get some cooking gifts for his Birthday. I fell in love with the little red apron I saw in the Williams-Sonoma catalog. Naturally he would need a little red spatula to go with it! I also decided we needed a new child friendly cookbook. But not a children's cook book. I was looking for something that would grow with them over the years. Easy and enticing sounding recipes that a child could follow with supervision. I purposefully did not get a cookie, cake or cupcake cookbook. My kids do not need any help learning to like sugar. I see cooking as a means of living, learning and experimenting. I will not have my children eating mac and cheese from a box when they can make it from scratch. I want them to learn about and love all sorts of wonderful aromas and flavors. I don't serve bland food and I want my children to appreciate all the different palates out there. I think the best way to achieve this is to have them cook all sorts of different cuisines. Cooking is not only a wonderful art, but it is a skill, that like all others needs to be fine tuned. Cooking instills confidence and pride and both are crucial in helping their little personalities form and mature.

So the cook book I chose was this one,

It seemed perfect!

Parent-tested and kid-approved, a comprehensive, practical resource for wholesome, healthful meals children of all ages will eat—and love
In an era of McDiets, packed schedules, and stressful jobs, it's harder than ever to incorporate nutritious food into our children's daily lives. But you no longer have to rely on microwaved hot dogs and frozen pizza. In this essential cookbook, food—and parenting—experts Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel offer help and hope, whether you're experienced in the kitchen or more inclined to head to the drive-through.
Real Food for Healthy Kids features more than 200 easy-to-make recipes for school days and weekends, including breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and even parties. Each recipe has been taste-tested by children and analyzed by a nutritionist.
A power breakfast might feature Carrot Cake Oatmeal, Green Eggs-in-Ham Quiche Cups, or Hole-y Eggs!
Keep kids energized with a Real Food lunch, such as Hail Caesar, Jr. Salad, Turkey Pinwheels, or Egg Salad Double-Decker Sandwiches.
Seaman and Steel's snacks include Zucchini Tempura with Horseradish Dunk, Chewy Granola Bars, Happy Apple Toddies, and much more.
Serve a mouthwatering family dinner: Peachy Keen Chicken, Super Steak Fajitas, or Princess and the Pea Risotto.
Enjoy a scrumptious dessert: Cheery Cherry Plank, Brown Mouse, or Chocolate-Covered Strawberries.
Seaman and Steel have spent the last four years developing and testing recipes to create nourishing dishes that kids of all ages, from babies to grad students, and even finicky eaters, vegetarians, and kids with food sensitivities will enjoy. Whatever recipes you choose, this indispensable cookbook is sure to become the resource you turn to every day for years to come. Equal parts cookbook, nutrition guide, daily menus, party planner, and parenting guide, Real Food for Healthy Kids will get your kids engaged in eating, happily and healthfully for a lifetime.


Jean said...

Neat idea. I just may steal it for James' birthday. He has recently gotten very interested in helping with food prep. He even peeled his own hard boiled egg at my parents and actually ate it!

Jessica Ryan said...

They really will be much more adventurous when they are able to help out!

Unknown said...

That is great that your kids love to cook so much! My son is only 19 months and he loves to "help" wash dishes and mix things up. I look forward to a day that he would enjoy cooking as much as I do!

Here is another site that I work on called that has tons of healthy kids' recipes, and also a section on cooking with kids that may be of interest to you!

Nice blog and very inspirational for another love-to-cook mama!