When our daughters began asking to read cookbooks at bedtime, I knew we were on to something. When they started lining up to help in the kitchen, that something suddenly became something important.
Important because the kitchen is where we begin to teach our children about eating right, helping them to make informed decisions about their food. Trying, tasting, mixing, baking. With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions, it is critical to equip our kids with the skills they need to build meals around healthy, balanced options.
There isn’t anything off limits in our kitchen. We cook with sugar, butter and cheese. But we also seek out vegetarian dishes to complement a flexitarian lifestyle, balancing meats and sweets with vegetables and fruits and whole grains. When we can, we get out into the fields and farms, finding out a little more about the ingredients we cook with and where they come from. If we want our little Sprouts to grow, we need to feed their curiosities as well as their bodies!
We also explore other countries with the dishes we make, learning along the way. What better way to introduce a child to new cultures and tastes than from the relative safety of the kitchen table. One day we may make it to the countries from which our meals originate. And if we do, I have new confidence that our Stout Sprouts will try — and perhaps even enjoy — native dishes in native lands.
Along the way we take plenty of pictures and keep track of what makes it to the kid-approved list and what might need more tweaking before being reintroduced. And sometimes, despite rolled-eyes and pursed lips, things stay on the list simply because my husband and I like them. It’s up to our Stout Sprouts to keep trying and tasting. Someday, they may like those things too.
I hope you’ll come along with us on the journey we’re taking. Whether it’s to the farm down the road or preparing a dish from a country halfway around the world, I promise we’ll bring you our brand of kid-friendly humor and cooking — and lots of learning — in every post.