Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Little Chefs

My husband wrote this for Natural Parents Network last fall. It pretty much says so much about what makes him an amazing dad, that I thought I would share it here. Happy Father's Day!

Growing up, being asked what we wanted for dinner meant picking a restaurant. My first word was "Fry!" as we passed a McD's. When I moved out and had to cook I burnt minute rice, ruined ramen, and would set fire to microwave dinners. But, I loved food. My girlfriend (and now wife) kept us from going hungry (more than that really, she's pretty dang good. Especially with creating something nothing, which was not unusual for a couple just starting out) but I really wanted to know how to cook and create the foods we loved for myself. So, I went to culinary school. It took two and a half years, during which we also got married and had our first son. L1 was 3 months old when I graduated.

Graduation December 2007
Since then I have wanted my boys to know how to cook. I would wear them in a carrier while I cooked. We encouraged them to help with the grocery shopping, exploring new foods. And now that they are getting big enough, I try to welcome them to help me cook whenever possible. Even if it is just scrubbing potatoes, I want them to be a part of feeding themselves and our family.

There is always SOME job they can help with.
I never expected kids to like foods like salad, brussell sprouts, salmon, or anything with flavor. I though all kids ate plain tasting foods: chicken nuggets, mac n' cheese, french fries. But, the more my kids are involved in the process, the more things they are willing to try. I want to encourage that to continue. For them to know there are no bad foods, just bad ways of making them. So, the trick is to find the good way to make them. We might try three or four different recipes before working out how some ingredients are best served.

Never give up, never surrender. Even the brussel sprout was defeated and devoured!

I love my boys (and the new baby on the way) and like any parent, I want for them everything I didn't have. There isn't much, but a good knowledge of food and cooking is near the top of the list, and I am so happy I have some skills I can pass on to them in that area. We are learning together, and not just about food. It takes a good amount of patience and trust to work with kids in the kitchen. Sometimes it does get to be too much and I have to find something else to occupy them so I can just get dinner served. But, every little bit matters, and there is always another chance to invite them to help later. It is a lesson I have been able to take to other parts of our lives to work at being a better dad for them. See, we all win.

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