Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On Kids and Cooking

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Doesn't this cake look amazing! And it's super simple and a no-bake to boot. It's from Cafe Chocolada and you can read the entire recipe here. I think this cake would be especially good made with a little espresso powder, but then again, what isn't better with coffee?! {in my opinion} I would probably bastardize the recipe even further and make it with cool whip because that's how we roll here. Sad! Where have all my gourmet days gone?!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I worked for a brief time as a personal chef. I started making desserts and a whole lot of tirimisu for an Italian restaurant, and before I knew it I was teaching cooking classes, catering, and working as a personal chef. It was my way of carving out an income I loved in a failing Michigan economy right after 9/11. Now that we have two kiddos and a business, I just don't cook like I used to. For a long time I thought it was because the business was keeping me too busy. However, a week or so ago I made shrimp risotto and I realized it wasn't that at all. My kids are picky eaters--especially Aidan. I was preparing the shrimp and the kids were crying {Aidan literally had tears in his eyes} about not wanting to eat "those pink things." It steals all the fun away... Why make, say, shrimp risotto with spring peas and fresh herbs, when the smell will be tainted with ode of hot dog wafting from the microwave because the kids hate fish? I wish I could tell you I was really good about forcing our kids to try new foods, but I'm just not. By dinner time, Robert and I are both tired and wanting to connect with each other, so we just give in so we can enjoy our own meal and a little conversation. Oh, and we eat out--a lot.

So, I am curious, how is it at your house? Do you love to cook/bake and has that changed at all now that you have children? Any advice for those of us with picky eaters?

I have to add, my kids do love anything from the chocolate food group, and this cake would be a big winner at our house.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't force them to eat, but I put on their plate whatever I made, they can eat as much of it or none at all. In your case I'd have one child eat up all the shrimp and the other eat all the rice. I do say that whomever eats either all or mostly all of their food will get desert, if not no desert. I don't have time to make special meals for each kid (I have three and an infant). I do try to make it easier for them to eat the food they don't like. I will cut it up in small pieces and serve it with sour cream, they'll eat almost anything they can dip in sour cream or ketchup. :)

Stephanie said...

looks absolutely fantastic! will definitely give this a try!! stephanie @ bellini portraits http://www.bellinipics.com/blog

Anonymous said...

I am constantly having to fix separate meals for the adults and the kids. But in our house there are 5 adults (we live with my parents and brother) and 3 kids (10,7 and 1) If the older two just hate what I am fixing they have to fix their own meals. Usually a sandwich, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, or spagetti o's. The little one will try what we are having then go get her a jar of baby food and a spoon if she is still hungry. But I make them try it and I try to keep a few sides I know they will eat with every meal. Mine are very picky eaters too.

Jessica Haley said...

I think it's very easy to be judgmental on this topic.. many people think all kids will eat most things is the parent is firm enough. I have to say, it's just not like that... not with our son. If we did that, dinner after dinner would be a battle. We try to choose things that the kids like and we do also, but it makes cooking one meal a lot more limiting. Or, if I want to make a really nice gourmet meal, I need to plan on making 2 dinners or deal with the fact the kids will look at it and not eat it.

Alexis C. Trammell said...

I don't consider myself a great cook, and tend to lean towards easy, southern recipes, but I just spent over an hour and a half trying to get my 13 month old to eat her lunch, so I'm feeling rather discouraged in this area myself! I really don't know how she got this way, since we haven't catered too much to her preferences, though we did wait till she was 10 months old to transition from exclusively nursing to starting solid foods. I blame her Daddy completely! lol. His mother said that he was always a picky eater, even as a baby, so she must have just been born with his genes. :) I've been searching for advice on how to avoid having a picky eater in the future, and how to get through each meal with my sanity intact! Thanks for sharing your experience. And yes, I totally plan to use the cool whip too! :)

Karen said...

I have two kids, one is picky and the other is not. I love to cook but have a hard time finding time to do it. I've been trying to cook new(yet easy & quick) meals to get my picky child to try different things. They say it takes up to 8 times for a food to be introduced til a child might like it. I would encourage you not to give up, to keep introducing new foods (though you may not always get a positive response). Getting the kids to help you in the kitchen or pick out ingredients at the grocery store helps too. It does take more planning and work but the reward is so worth it.

Jessica Haley said...

I am glad you acknowledge the gene factor because I used to think {in the days before I had kids} "picky eaters are the result of lazy parents." I mean, Robert is in wine industry, I loved to cook--we would have foodie children, right? Wrong! When he was little (18mo) Aidan loved calamari and his favorite food was spicy pad tai noddles! As he got older, I think he used food to develop his sense of autonomy. Anyway, that's my two cents.

Alexis, this was something I posted on FB that I though was a good idea: One thing I heard at a MOPS seminar was {for little toddlers} to have them touch the food they don't want to eat, scoop it up, and kiss it good bye before throwing it away. It exposes them to new food in a non-threatening way. My kids are much too old for that, though...

Jessica Haley said...

I should clarify, what I meant by gene factor is that I think some kids are wired to be more... authoritative, shall we say, when it comes to food. I actually don't picky eating has to do with the food itself, as much as personality and whether a child is strong-willed or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm OLD,69, and I know what you are talking about. My first two ate or tried anything (we were in the military and I wanted/encouraged them to try food of all cultures....they never had to eat it all...just take a bite) They tried ANYTHING...and well I bragged....which meant my "whoops" (child born 10 years later) wouldn't eat ANYTHING . And of course with two working parents food got kinda plain...out of can...etc. To give you hope....I am now retired ....have my herb garden....and LOVE being inspired and creative with recipes I search for on the internet. And Whoops is great cook...he tries anything...and cooks for his family most of the time. Enjoy EACH day...you can do anything...and everything...not just all at the same time.

Chantal Bergeron said...

I'm happy if I can get my scrawny little 14 month Lyla to eat anything at all...I suspect she takes after me and is frequently far too busy with other things to take the time to eat (I'm a bad role model :( )

I do try to make/give her new foods whenever possible but I certainly don't push them on her. I've gone down the path of battling with children over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it's not a happy road (I suspect the attention from the battle reinforces the picky eating--that's the psychologist in me coming through) Thankfully Lyla loves fruit...and cheese. She has very european taste in food, lol!

As for cooking, not much of that occurs(at least by me!) lately--if my husband didn't put food in front of me and remind me to eat, I'd probably starve.

I do have a special place in my heart for pastries (I grew up in a european scratch bakery) so I'll occasionally whip up some cream puffs or something of that sort...I do wish I had more time for such things...

Karen said...

Jessica, I thought of you tonight when my daughter fought eating dinner. We had chicken enchiladas and we served her less than half of one. So after tears and making her finish it (5 bites), she told me after dinner that she actually liked it and it was good. It seems like we've had a struggle over mealtime almost every meal. She's 5.5 yrs old now and very strong-willed. I admit I was a picky eater when I was younger but glad my parents made me at least try new things. I also wanted to add that you have to have fun with cooking and preparing your family meals too. I love being creative with my kids' lunches, the possibilities are endless! Good luck!

MamaMimi said...

We were definitely cooking two meals for a while, but we decided...hey, our kid is only 2! Let's kick this in the butt now! So we have started (for the last several weeks) been enforcing that he needs to try a bite of dinner before we will give him anything else to eat. If he eats his dinner well, he gets dessert. If he doesn't eat his bite, he gets nothing else and goes to bed hungry. He's old enough to make the conscious decision and often chooses to go to bed hungry. But when he DOES eat, we make a HUGE deal out of it and call all the grandparents and praise his decision. Time will tell if it works or not...he has been eating more regularly the last couple weeks than the last year...so we'll see! =)

Anonymous said...

Most of what I do has already been shared in previous comments... So I'll just add two things. First, I try to never ever show interest when my 2.5 year old is not eating. After meals, we have fruit for dessert, and she gets vitamins which she LOVES. If she hasn't eaten and asks for vitamins, I say, "Sure. You can have vitamins. After you eat 5 (or 10) bites of X on your plate." Except for a few times, she always eats enough to get her vitamins. So we are lucky. Second, since I do love creating and cooking for myself as much as for others, if I'm making something complicated or intricate (with many flavors, ingredients), I break out a few of the simple ingredients as I cook so that her version is more simple. Then she can try both. Sometimes she surprises me, but usually she prefers the simple version. FOr example, with shrimp risotto, I might separate some of the rice before adding the shrimp and herbs. That way, we're all eating the "Same" thing. Time will tell; I have a ways to go since she is still so young! Best of luck to you!!

adee said...

I would love to view the recipe, but the link to the blog says that you need an invitation to view it. Do you know if it is possible to request an invitation?

Danielle said...

I was just going to say what adee (above) wrote. You have to be invited to read this blog where this recipe is. Can we request an invitation? :)

chrissy_b_reese said...

Did anyone find out how to access? or get an invite? i so want to make this! thanks so much!

Kara Elliott said...

I have always put the food on their plates and went with the idea that if they are hungry enough, they'll at least try it. We don't often get too many tears. My husband and I just enjoy our food and let the kids watch. More often than not they will eventually try out the food. There are a few times when they really don't seem to like something my husband and I enjoy so, I try to some complimenting dishes that they might like more. That way it still looks like a meal, and maybe they'll decide to try the other stuff one day too. Luckily my kids are still fairly young (1 and 2 1/2) But we haven't had too many tears yet. I am hoping they will at least continue to give things a try. Both kids are so different though. One of our favorite easy dishes has rice, chicken, black beans and salsa in it. My son only eats the rice, my daughter only eats the black beans. My bottom line - They both eat!

kpriss said...

Is there something in the air? We're kinda having a food - crisis here too... So we have four kids. The youngest is under 12mnths, so it's not a relevant subject for the food picky label although he's the most difficult at trying out new food.

I have to say that my "chef" days have started with the kids (and marriage). Although we eat out sometimes, we're definitely a cooking / baking at home family, 80% of our meals consist of cooked meals and sweets. As we speak, I'm planning a lil' party with home cooked buffet and sweets.

SeeJaneBlog said...

I would dearly love the recipe for pictures no-bake dessert, however link won't allow me to enter chocolada's blog. The error message states viewing is by invitation only. Would you kindly post recipe here? THANK YOU!

penny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
penny said...

It won't let me read the blog :(

kristincita said...

As others have stated above, the recipe cannot be viewed without an "invitation". Care to post the recipe here for us Jessica?

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