Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Children and food

Today I spent a very active 90 minutes talking and cooking with 24 second grade children at Lafayette School in New Orleans. We talked about the importance of smell in the tasting process. We made root beer - learning a lot about measuring along the way. We made fruit salad with satsumas, oranges, bananas and strawberries. I was reminded that children are ready and happy to eat healthy foods. We teach them not to.

We say, "Children won't eat this or that. We have to make a special meal for them." But let us not forget that children in Japan eat nori and children in Spain and Italy eat squid.

Especially if we engage them in the cooking process, children eat with adventurousness. They eat a variety of things, which is healthy. And when we cook together, we have the added benefit of growing closer by doing something meaningful together. Children will often talk while they work, so we learn things about them that might otherwise not be shared. And we can share our own thoughts with them, without lecturing.

I remember cooking with my own children. Today I cooked with surrogates, but had a wonderful time.