It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mini-Chefs

Everyone knows that a good way to get children to try new food is to involve them in its preparation. We know that. We don’t necessarily do that.

But you know? It’s winter. If the temperatures are at least -15C (without a wind), we go outside. But as you can imagine, at -15, the tots don’t last neeeearly as long as they do at +15C. And in January and February in Ottawa, we get more than a few days a whole lot colder than -15. So. A lot more indoor hours to fill, and, I know you may find this hard to believe, but even crafty Mary gets tired of crafts!!!

Why not, I thought, fill some of those hours with food preparation? I have a weekly menu. I know what’s on the list for that day and the next. This could be fun!

Very often, even when we do involve kids, they’re baking, not cooking. They’re making cookies and muffins and cakes. All fine for teaching a certain set of kitchen skills, but nothing to do with familiarizing them with foods they might not otherwise choose to eat. What kid needs to be coaxed to eat cookies? (And if they do, why on earth would you?? If you’re coaxing your child to eat cookies, stoppit right now!)

Now, I’ve done real cooking with the children before, but sporadically and infrequently. It’s time, I decided, to get systematic about this!

So as of this week, in the hour between arrival and our outing, I thought we’d hit the kitchen. On Monday, we made muffins, of course. Yes, I know it’s baking, not cooking, but Muffin Monday is a tradition, thanks to Hannah! No messing with tradition!

Tuesday: They helped make the green bean dish, because apart from chopping the onions, it’s simple, simple, simple.
Wednesday: Baked apples! They can drop the goodies down the core of the apple. Also, because Thursday’s tofu needs to marinate, they’ll help me mix the marinade and put the slices of tofu in the pan.
Thursday: They can help make the cheese sauce for the cauliflower. (Shall I send them home knowing the word ‘roux‘, just to show off??)
Friday: Veggie frittata cups. They can choose one veggie each, I’ll chop them all up, they’ll spoon the veggies into the muffin cups and pour the egg mix over top, I’ll put it in the oven. Teamwork!

I like it. What are the advantages? It…
– keeps us busy
– fills in time we can’t be outside
– it’s companionable
– familiarizes the tots with their food
– making it more likely that they’ll eat their food
– gives them kitchen competence
– and builds a sense of teamwork…

all in a happy atmosphere of relaxed camaraderie.

And if they’re really, really good? I’ll let them do the dishes, too.

😀

February 20, 2013 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , , , | 6 Comments

Unclear on the concept

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork! What’s going to work? Teeeeemwork!”

A phrase from a happy-shmappy kiddie recording, no doubt.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork!”

It started with Timmy, but it’s a catchy little lyric, particularly when you’ve heard it 428 times in three hours, and soon they’re all droning singing it.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeemwork!” It bounces back at me from every corner. From Timmy sitting on the couch with a book. From Emily, sitting in front of the fan, face lifted beatifically to the breeze. From Malli, putting dollies to bed. From Nigel, trotting across the room with one of the bear bags.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!” Lots of enthusiasm, lots of repetition. And of course, it’s a good concept. We hear it echo down through the morning, as we go about our usual round of activity and play.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“That’s MINE! MY train!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Timmy pushed me, Mary.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork!”

“You can’t have one of those because they’re only for big kids.” This from a two-year-old to a three.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Me, too! It’s me turn! Me, too!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“I don’t like that. Don’t hit my bucket with that train.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“You can’t pull the train there!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Is you going-a give me a turn yet?”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“My daddy is taller than your daddy.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“My mommy is taller than your daddy.” (It’s true.)

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Stop it! You’re squishing me!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“He ated my plum!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Don’t stand there. You’re in my way.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

Of course, just because you know the word, doesn’t mean you have a FLIPPING CLUE what it means. Obviously. I think we’ll be working on this one for a while. But hey, at least we know the solution:

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

June 10, 2008 Posted by | aggression, daycare, manners, the things they say! | , , | 13 Comments