Friday, August 6, 2010

Involving Kids in Their Food

Something I think has helped our kids to be willing to try vegetables as well as other new foods has been involving them in the process of producing, acquiring, and making food. Today was a good example of involving them. Aaron and I cut a deal that he would buy the fish for tonight's dinner (saving me a trip to the grocery with 2 kids who don't really want to shop) and I would pick green beans from our garden, as well as anything else in need of harvesting. I was certain there would not be enough green beans to share with our friends who would be joining us for dinner, but I agreed to the deal.

Look what we found!

3 cukes, a tomato, and a little less than a pound of beans. The kids were really excited to show off the produce. I told Caleb about how much he helped by planting, watering, and picking dead leaves from the plants. Ellie enjoyed smelling the tomato (which she does not like eating yet) as well as trying to snag a green bean (they were washed before dinner!).

After harvesting the vegetables, the kids had lunch. I included a peeled and "sticked" cucumber, and they both ate it happily. Caleb also ate some tomato. Ellie has yet to develop a real taste for tomatoes, but I don't like them uncooked either, so I'm not too worried. After the so-called naptime, Caleb and I made squash kugel, which did not involve our harvested produce, but he still saw what went into making one of his favorite dishes. He enjoyed using my immersion blender, and he was surprised (annoyed?) that the mixture didn't look like "squash cake" when he was done mixing.

Involving him in the magic of cooking seems to help him try new things and enjoy the dishes we create together. At dinner, he tried the cucumber tomato salad even though I know he isn't fond of vegetables that have been "dressed up." He told me he liked the cucumber but not the other parts. I'm guessing he didn't like the onions. Anyway, he knew the salad came from our garden, and he was willing to try it because he was curious about what came out of our backyard. I think I even caught Ellie munching on a piece of cucumber or tomato.

Maybe this post isn't surprising, but I wanted to share that involving kids in the process of food does seem to have an effect, at least in our house.

Recipes for salad and kugel forthcoming!

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