THE FOOD CURRICULUM
Food plays a huge role in the learning and living at our home. Part of this is due to having a dad who is a pastry chef. His expansive knowledge about food and creative genius in the kitchen is a joy to behold. We are quite lucky that he enjoys sharing his passion with us. There have been countless times, from when the kids were toddlers even, that they have participated in preparing meals and desserts. Along the way, they have learned about different ingredients and how they react with each other, measuring, different cultural favorites, different preparation techniques, and soooo much more. I can't overemphasize the amount of creativity involved in many of these endeavors either.
I am also surprised by some of the foods that my children are willing to taste, things that I never would have at their age. They have eaten duck, lamb, sushi, pate, gizzards, asparagus, brussel sprouts, tofu, edamame, and much more. Some things are quickly dismissed, but others have become favorites. I love that my children can choose from such a wide variety of foods to find their favorites. I know of families who have a fairly set dinner menu, with the same items for certain days of the week, every week. How boring!!! I try to buy at least one totally new item each time I go food shopping. It is through our culinary adventures that we have discovered so many new things about the world and ourselves.
Another benefit of our food consumption, is the way in which we consume. We tend to have family dinners together. It is a bonding time for us, and a time for sharing tradition too. We do have some traditional meals, like almost always tomato sauce on Sundays (the pasta varies), turkey and fixings on Thanksgiving, roast beef and spaghetti alioli on Christmas eve. Birthday dinners are always the choice of the birthday person, and from a young age, our kids have had pretty expensive tastes! Our six year old has had crab legs for the last two years, but had lobster the year before that. (You can just imagine our food bill.)
Our latest food "lessons" have come from visiting the newest Whole Foods Market near us, making our own pizzas, and making and sharing Amish friendship bread. At the Whole Foods Market, we were fortunate to be there on a sample day, and we tried many delicious organic items, including frozen yogurt, chips, veggie chips, and an "energy" drink. We also got to make our own almond butter, peanut butter, and honey-roasted peanut butter-mmmmm! In making our own pizzas at home, Dad showed us the secrets of tossing the dough, and we got to top it exactly as we wanted (not too much sauce). The friendship bread we have been making came from someone at Dad's work. They gave us the "starter", which is basically sugar, milk, and flour. We have to "mush" it every day for a few days, then "freshen it" with more flour, milk, and sugar, and then in a few more days, we can divide it up into more starter and bake with it. It makes a delicious cinnamon bread, and we saw how fermentation works, and what can be used instead of yeast in bread! Cool, huh?
Most recently though, meaning last night, my daughter decided that she wants to try being vegetarian, like her one of her good friends. We told her that would be fine, as long as she makes sure to learn about it, and take good care of meeting her nutritional needs. A little while later she came running in to me saying she printed up several pages of info. all about being a vegetarian and what she has to eat. She had looked it up on the internet, and found information specifically for teens (my daughter is 9 years old). So I guess that's where the food curriculum is taking us next - nutrition and vegetarianism! I'm hungry for more!