I get really annoyed when I hear people talk about “kid food.” Typically this refers to some lower quality version of food that’s morphed into playful shapes or dyed some ridiculous bright color. “Food” that’s somehow okay for little growing bodies to eat, but not grown adults. That’s nonsense. If it’s junk, it’s junk. If you won’t eat it, or “shouldn’t” eat it, neither should your kids. Give up the lie that fun food has to be unhealthy, it’s not true. And please, for the love of Pete, feed your kids food, real food.
I was pleased as punch to flip through the pages of a new cookbook called, “The Piccolo Chef. Healthy cooking with your kids.” Mothers, Tina Fanelli Moraccini and Lillian Palmieri share the vision that healthy cooking should be easy and appealing to children and adults alike. They started the Piccolo Chef cooking school in Los Angeles to encourage children and teenagers to appreciate real food and quality ingredients. This new cookbook is birthed out of their cooking philosophy and belief that the kitchen is a great place for families to bond, even today’s busy families.
I was in love with the book by the first few pages. The photography is exceptional and the recipes are far from boring. Most are Italian-inspired and chalk full of fresh vegetables and flavors. In addition to recipes, the book includes a glossary of words to easily answer mom or dad’s questions about ingredients. One of my favorite aspects is the easy-to-use diagram of how to set and use a formal or informal table setting. That is a lost art for most people. I loved teaching it to my son.
The book is divided into categories ranging from breakfast to snacks. We flipped through and struggled to decide, only because all the options were so mature, yet so appealing to us all. Did we want “Very Berry Buckwheat Pancakes,” “Crostini A Go-Go,” Turkey Scaloppine with Quinoa and Dried Cranberries,” or “Caprese Kabobs with a Summer Twist?” These were just a few of the wonderful choices. My son wanted to make the kabobs, so off to the fresh mozzarella section of the store we went.
Through the whole process, I got to shop for fresh basil with my son, skewer fresh mozzarella, and even teach him how to use a melon baller. He ate a very sophisticated meal on a stick that night. It was fun, but in no way kid food. That’s music to my ears. He was happy, I was happy and we all had a good time. Oh, and we ate like kings.
Redefine what people call kid food. Your kids should eat wonderful, real food. So should you. Bringing your kids into the kitchen takes some patience, but the time is not ever regrettable. You get to create a legacy of health for the heart and soul.