|Training Taste Buds||
My son, Ewan, attends a cooperative preschool in town. A cooperative preschool, for those who have never heard of such a thing, is a preschool where the activities are largely parent-run. At Ewan's school in particular, the parents are required to work once a week in rotating areas. One of the areas is the kitchen, where the parent in charge that day makes the snack. It was here where I learned that young children, generally speaking, prefer not to have their foods mixed. Before Ewan attended this school, I just thought it was one of his quirks. This is not to say he doesn't like any of his foods mixed, but I had noticed that he would eat better a lot of the time if all of his foods were left separate, e.g., do not mix rice and beans together.
Ewan is now three and a half and has only just gotten to the age where he is having fun "mixing together" his food, especially if he can help and we keep it simple. We had fun making these Cucumber Quinoa bites last week as part of our lunch and have actually made them several times since.
I try to always keep some kind of cooked grain, or in the case of quinoa, seed, in the fridge these days. Ewan really likes quinoa right now, and I love throwing it on a salad. It makes healthy lunches come together a bit quicker if I make a small batch of it every few days. I cook it in vegetable broth for a bit of added flavor.
My passion for cooking, especially baking, dates back as far as I can remember. I grew up in a house where nearly everything that came out of our kitchen was made from scratch. Both of my parents are great cooks and bakers. My mom stayed home with my brother, sister, and I and did most of the cooking, but my dad also knows his way around a kitchen. There was a period of time where I didn't realize how great my siblings and I had it. I remember thinking how much of a treat it was to get a cupcake from the Hostess shop in town or have a sandwich made on purchased sandwich bread. It didn't take me too long to realize that it was actually more special to have homemade bread, desserts, and main courses made from scratch. I am trying to repeat this experience for my own children.
I was a picky eater as a child but have grown to like most foods, although there are still a few things I haven't tried and others I am trying to like. I credit my husband, Jason, for convincing me to try many new foods years ago such as sushi and other seafood, some of my most favorite meals now. Reading cookbooks and cooking blogs has also contributed to the expanded list of foods I enjoy.
Jason and I are trying to keep our children from being picky eaters. With our first child, our son Ewan, we offered exclusively whole foods when he started eating solid foods at six months, but it was all puréed. He very rarely gets processed sugar, has never eaten fast food, and eats very few processed foods. With our second child, our daughter Isla, we plan to follow the baby led weaning type of feeding where babies feed themselves.
The kitchen is my place to be creative and use my science background simultaneously. I hope to provide both knowledge and entertainment to my readers.