”I want to make something with you Mummy!”, my daughter has been asking me this every day this week.
I knew that Lucia would naturally be interested in food and cooking as that is a big focus in the environment she is growing up in. She enjoys visiting the Farmers markets with me each weekend, the local butchers know her by name and she knows her fresh herbs in the garden. It delights me that I am creating this positive food culture at home where I hope that by the time she is a teenager and grows in to a young woman I would have helped impart a natural knowledge of what to eat and how to cook it. It is empowering to have the knowledge on one of the most fundamental basics which is to be able to look after your health and fuel your body for living. Knowing what is good to eat; preferably local seasonal produce; organically grown fruit and vegetables if possible. Free range eggs and meats, sustainable fresh fish, whole foods, or more simply foods that are in their natural state – certainly not in cleverly marketed boxes and packages with lists of numbers to explain what is really inside them. It depresses me to see queues of cars lined up outside the McDonald’s drive thru when I drive past, laziness and ignorance. By ensuring we eat home-made food, having control about what ingredients we use means Lucia is involved from very young, eating good food starting at home is my small way to counter the culture.
I grew up with a Mother who is a very good cook and baker, through Mums cooking I learnt to LOVE eating food. However she was very tidy and I do not have any memories of being involved with her cooking. Kids cooking is sometimes very messy I am the first to admit, I remember my Mum not being always keen on me cooking when I was younger for this very reason. I am overlooking the spilt flour over the floor and little dirty finger-marked cupboards and embracing a fun and positive cooking culture.
Some favourite foodies things Lucia and I have been doing together
- Cupcakes or muffins then ice and decorate them. Lucia had a ball making these chocolate and almond nut butter cupcakes yesterday. I think she was so busy decorating one marshmallow for the cupcake and one for her mouth that she hardly had room to eat an actual cupcake once baked.
2. Dumplings or pot stickers. I have been gritting my teeth and letting Lucia use a fairly blunt knife to chop herbs and vegetable. She has been doing very well. I was watching a documentary set in a remote South american village and I was cringing watching this toddler with a big knife chopping away. surprisingly he looked perfectly capable. Using small wonton pastry rounds I got Lucia to fill and squeeze the pastry over in half and then brush water with the pastry brush to seal the wontons. Filling, Squeezing and painting – a 3 year olds dream activity.
3. Farmers Market pretend play. Lucia has a new game, she sets up her market stall with the fruit bowl and we come to her market stall and pretend to buy fruit from her – She loves it. Lucia the market gardener.