In COOKING TIME IS FAMILY TIME, Lynn Fredericks
shows people how they can improve the time they spend with kids
by inviting them into the kitchen to help prepare meals.
Included are 125 recipes emphasizing
a variety of fresh, healthful ingredients and strategies to
get kids to gobble them down. Each recipe offers directions
that specify which steps are right for younger kids and which
are more challenging for their older siblings.
My Thoughts on Cooking for and
Feeding my Two Sons, Alex (14 years) and Stephan (7 years)
from Lynn Fredericks.
Seven years ago, when my marriage exploded and I found myself
a single mom with an infant and a seven-year-old, I was challenged
to get a decent meal on the table let alone a meal that I
really put heart, soul and creativity into. Over time, the
dinnertime became the time of day I dreaded most because my
sons wanted my attention and I was 'busy cooking' -- no one
I grew up having family meals, yet there I was feeding the
boys and leaving them in the kitchen to eat alone so I could
have '5 minutes peace.' This was not my idea of a family but
I was too tired to consider anything else. Then one day my
then-toddler, Stephan, was so restless I let him tear up basil
and he was so quiet and helpful, I began to see a new approach.
I was so tired of preparing the same meals, week in and
week out -- now with the boys at my side, shopping with me
and cooking together, we were branching out! Risotto with
Seafood became an instant favorite, as did Tuscan Bean Soup,
all manner of raviolis (using wonton skins), homemade Tortillas
with Black Beans and Salsa Fresca another favorite and they
adore my Mediterranean Salad for a summer lunch/snack/travel
food. We like foods that mix up many ingredients with a favorite
starch -- e.g. pasta, rice, etc. If anyone is in a fussy stage,
they pick out what they don't like but I know through the
broth and/or juices, they are getting ALL the nutrients.
Today, I can still be dead tired some evenings with the
mere thought of cooking making me want to run in the other
direction. But, I call in the boys, tell them I'm extra tired.
Get a consensus on a meal plan, and then we discuss how they
will help me. The minute they participate, my batteries seem
instantly recharged and their company transforms my whole
attitude, as now I'm doing something with them as well as
for them, sharing the mealtime responsibility rather than
shouldering the entire burden -- alone. We eat very healthfully
and I don't have to push it -- wholesome food has become a
shared value by all of us, based on how good the food tastes
and how great it makes us feel.
Some Tips from COOKING TIME
IS FAMILY TIME:
are never too young to brought into the kitchen. Even babies
are happiest being where the action is. They will be thrilled
just to watch you and listen to your voice as you keep them
entranced with a running dialogue about the meal. By the time
they are in a walker or just about to walk, you can give them
bits of food while you cook, so they can begin tasting ingredients
in their raw stage.
2 ) By toddlerhood,
you can begin to have a little helper. For children under
three years, the goal should not be what they can accomplish;
rather the focus should be on developing their sense of pride
3) By eight
or so, children are reading and writing in school and have
developed motor skills so that they can be instructed how
to use kitchen tools too sophisticated for younger children
and can be given independent recipe steps or simple recipes
children more control over what they eat empowers them in
a profound way. Send your children the message that you have
confidence in their ideas and judgement and that you trust
them to arrive at suitable decisions.
5) You will
have more success with family cooking if you ease into it
on a daily basis rather than designating a special night,
which implies that it requires too much effort for every day.
And don't lilmit family cooking to dinner. I have used breakfast
preparation as a time together to create a collaborative spirit
each morning and send the children off to school feeling good