Corks and Crayons
Sunday, August 25
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
2545 W. Diversey, 203
For more information:
Summer Fruit Panzanella Salad
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 peach, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup loosely packed basil
Whisk the oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Toss in the bread, cucumber, tomato and peach cubes. Tear the basil into small pieces and add to the bowl. Stir to coat. Serve immediately.
Make It Fun
Although teaching kids about healthy choices is a priority for Purple Asparagus, we’re sneaky about that message. Everything about our classes (even our name) is fun. Kids are more willing to try “healthy” foods when they’re not presented as such.
A first-grade boy will surely turn up his nose at a chickpea when told that it’s high in fiber and protein. Explain instead that its Italian name comes from its resemblance to a wart on a famous Roman’s face, and he’ll climb all over his classmates to try those chickpeas. Describe mint as a gum plant and your child’s resistance to the green leaves will melt. Explore food in a way that’s interesting and fun, and you’ll find that your kids are eager to try new foods.
Celebrate Fruits and Vegetables
Don’t hide fruits and vegetables in recipes as if you were ashamed to serve them. Celebrate them! Introduce new varieties or old favorites in different shapes and colors.
Get your kids involved in selecting new fruits and vegetables, whether at the grocery store or the farmers’ market. Learn about what you’re eating, how the varieties are grown and how different fruits and vegetables are related. This takes them out of the realm of “healthy eating,” a chore if ever there were one, and instead makes it fun.
Trust Kids to Develop Their Own Tastes
Give your kids the latitude to not like something. In our classes, we ask every child to take a single “no thank you” bite of everything we try. If they like it, that’s great. If not, we give them language to explain why they don’t. Is it too tart? Is it too sour? This process not only empowers them to try new things without fear of reprisal, but also develops trust, so kids are more likely to try the next food presented.
Don’t Underestimate Kids
We’ve all been guilty of this. A child pushes away an ingredient so often that you, the parent, are programmed to expect they won’t like it. It can take up to 10 tries before a kid will accept a new ingredient. How many kids love tomato sauce but won’t let a raw tomato pass their lips? It’s important for parents to keep trying without expectations.
I once ran a veggie tasting for a group of second graders. Celery was one of the tasting items, so I brought celery root to show them how the plant grew. I offered the class extra credit if they would try the raw root. Fully expecting them to recoil from it, I cut up the root and, to my surprise, almost every child loved it.
Use Cool Tools
Admit it, it’s so much more fun to cook with cool tools, whether old favorites or new gadgets. Kids can’t be expected to be immune to their charms. In our classes, we bring in supplies of kid-sized equipment like tiny whisks, rubber spatulas and bowls. Our measuring cups and spoons are colorful and kid-friendly. Imagine their delight as they whisk up a batch of cumin-scented dressing for black bean salad or cut up tomatoes for a salad with their own hand chopper. Give them the right-sized tools and you’ll have to shoo them out of the kitchen instead of cajoling them in.