I have been a fan of Mollie Katzen since high school. She is the author of the acclaimed Moosewood cookbooks, and her original Moosewood cookbook was the first cookbook I used in my early days of cooking. A year or two ago, I heard a radio interview with Mollie Katzen, during all the 'sneaky food' hype, when everyone was sneaking cauliflower and spinach in their chicken nuggets. Although I definitely understand why parents do this, I guess my philosophy is a little different. I never really liked vegetables growing up, mostly because they weren't prepared in the most pallatable way (sorry mom!). Once I tasted fresh vegetables in season that were cooked well, I gladly loaded my plate with veggies. I guess I feel like if I'm sneaking food in, and wow, I can't even taste it, well, it's kind of a diss to all the poor veggies and their spectacular flavors, colors, and textures. In the interview, Mollie Katzen suggested incorperating veggies in all of the main dishes that we make for our kids. Instead of having a portion of the plate dedicated to canned corn and hovering over our children to eat it, maybe we could chop up some fresh peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes and cook them up into an omelet or soup or pasta sauce. Not only do our children learn about a variety of beautiful veggies, but they get used to a variety of flavors, tending to be less picky about the good stuff. As I've tried to incorporate this philosophy in my own cooking for Pete, I've been amazed at our little gourmand! He doesn't eat everything (asparagus: no, broccoli: no, mushrooms: no), but he will try most things and really loves many of my favorite veggies--red peppers, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes...and as time passes, and he has more encounters with different dishes, he likes those veggies formerly on the hate list more and more.
Anyway, how'd I get on this food diatribe again? Ah, yes, Mollie Katzen. Well, at the end of her interview, she talked about the importance of including kids in the cooking process and she mentioned that she had written a few cookbooks just for young kids. I was ecstatic! At the time, Pete was too young for these books, but he is now the perfect age for her first cookbook, Pretend Soup. We got it from the library, and Pete loves this book so much, that he reads it every day while eating his breakfast. Pretty cute. Anyway, we tried out the bagel faces and they were a sensation:
Pete's impersonation of the bagel faces.
In the future, I might try flavored cream cheese, as Pete wasn't too crazy about the plain stuff. One exciting thing about this book is it has great lunch ideas--finally! Something beyond the current three lunches that I have been making for so long! We're excited to try them all!