Chef Christine

First of all, a great big thankyouverymuch to Jennifer for letting me fill in a bit while she takes a little va-cay before school gets started. So woo hoo to that!

One of the great pleasures in my life is teaching teens and tweens their way around the kitchen. After a summer full of kids, kids, kids, I can still say that it is still a total charge for me. The best part (aside from the fact these kids constantly crack me up)? I loooooove when they try something new. Something cool. Something funky. Something they can’t get at McDonalds. And I’m not necessarily talkin’ sushi for 8 year-olds here. This summer, I had kids eating roasted veggie lasagna with homemade noodles (and liking it), Greek pasta with loads of zucchini & tomatoes, and even Caesar salad with…ANCHOVIES! And really? It was no problem.

Every so often, I get one. A picky eater. And sometimes, just sometimes, they are really proud of the fact that they are indeed, picky eaters.

I don’t get it.

I didn’t always like what my mom served for dinner. Ham & green beans. No thanks. Broccoli in any form? Double no thanks. Some of it was gross. But I didn’t really have a choice. It was what it was and that was my only option. We ate leathery pork chops and cauliflower with some regularity, but it was what we had.

Nowadays, folks tend to eat out – a lot. Have you noticed that children’s menus include basically chicken fingers (bonus points if it’s real chicken and not pressed and extruded), hamburgers, cheeseburgers, noodles, and lots and lots of fries?

Hmmmm….

How can we expect our kids to make wise decisions as they grow, if the only options we give them are chicken tenders and noodles? All. The. Time. At home or out to dinner.

What happened to eating the dinner that was made for you?

Most of the kids I know aren’t going to starve anytime soon. A meal that’s not a fave won’t kill them. Skipping one won’t either.

When I personal cheffed for a living, I often cooked for parents only. The kids would eat macaroni et al every night while mom & dad dined on whatever I had prepared, and I wasn’t always making food that was out there.

When did things change, and why did we let them?

If I remember correctly, it takes seven times to know whether or not you really like something. I don’t know if I believe this, simply because I have never, not once, liked beets and I knew that one right off the bat.

But hey – I didn’t like sushi the first time I had it. Or liver/pate. Or asparagus. Or even Caesar Salad. But I like them now. Woo boy, do I like them now.

So do this:

Make dinner. And have your family eat it. Without options. Just dinner. And if you go out, don’t let the kids order from the kid’s menu. An appetizer usually costs about the same as a meal off the kid’s menu, and the options are usually cooler and more interesting. Double points if the dish never sees the inside of a deep fryer. Heck, triple points! We’re not shooting for the kid who eats liver and brains and sorrel and all of those foodie-esque types of foods, but more so kids who aren’t slaves to the nugget.

It’s time to take a stand and take responsibility for your children’s taste buds. Even if it’s hard for a little while. Just try it, ‘k?

Just my opinion.

ABOUT CHEF CHRISTINE: Christine is a wife and mom who owns and operates The Kitchen Studio Cooking School, teaching recreational cooking classes to kids, teens, and adults. Christine is all about the food AND the people and love, love, loves her job, even though it makes her feet hurt and she smells like food all the time.

You can read her blog at www.FrederickFoodie.com or check out her cooking classes at www.KitchenStudioFrederick.com.