Thanks to the children's museum for inviting me to be a guest blogger on their site. My husband, who will join on some future blogs, and I are members of the Children's Museum in Oak Lawn. We love the chance to get over there & play with our kiddos at the different exhibits. My husband, Graham Elliot, and I own three restaurants in Chicago and he is a judge on Fox's show "MasterChef." Most importantly, we are proud parents of 5 1/2 year old Mylo, 2 year old Conrad & 6 week old Jedediah.
We thought it would be fun to share some thoughts we had about kids in the kitchen.
It was important to Graham & I that our kids were both adventurous and healthy eaters. In a world of readily available chicken nuggets & pizza, it's quite a challenge. And while we do occasionally indulge in some junk, it was a such a moment of happiness to hear Conrad say "more kale, please."
One of the things Graham & I started with the boys at a young age was getting them involved in the kitchen. We took the approach that food was like an art protect: plan on it being messy, make it fun, and there are no rights/wrongs! We purchased a "little helper fun pod" which gets a toddler safely up to the counter to be actively involved. We lay down towels on the floor and really let them go at it. Cracking eggs, measuring / pouring milk, oil, etc. - it's a huge mess that often times doesn't result in edible food but it makes them comfortable with ingredients, utensils and starts the creative process.
Another thing we started was taking them grocery shopping as a field trip instead of an errand. Graham will take Mylo or Conrad and have one on one time with them, exploring new produce or ethnic food ingredients & purchasing a few new "cool" items the boys discover to try out at home. Pete's Fresh Market can be a great day out here on the south side. Conrad picked out guava just this past week & really enjoyed it. There are things we pick out that they don't care for, but as long as they try it we feel it's a success. And when they pick it out themselves they are way more apt to give it a taste test.
These are just a few activities Graham & I try at home...share some tips you have!
~ Allie Bowles