So this book really did start a fantastic literary journey for me, but I didn’t anticipate the food journey too! I’ll do my best to actually start at the beginning. One of the many books mentioned in the Parenting Without Boarders by Christine Gross-Loh was French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon.
I’ve shared that some of the people in this house, mainly those under 5 foot tall, can lean towards the picky side. Actually, it’s been quite challenging. I’ve tried everything from bribing and whining to demanding. Sometimes I’ve even tried that sneaky chef stuff. Last year I threw my hands up and asked her to write a list of items that she actually likes and would eat regularly. It was a sad list. I think it included pizza, spaghetti, black olives, cheese, carrots, broccoli & something we call spicy beans that comes from a can. Ugh! We can’t live off of that!!!
I’ve seen the book in the past but have been resistant. My impressions of it were all wrong. I really enjoyed this contrasting of the North American & French food cultures. A few things really rang true to me. Le Billon reminds her children, and us, that it’s ok to be hungry when it’s time for your next meal. If nothing else, it gives me a quip for when my children are whining for a snack as I’m making dinner. I can easily say, “Good, I’m glad you are hungry. You are really going to enjoy this meal I’m putting out on the table in 10 minutes!”
Which brings me to another fantastic concept: eating in courses!!! We are completely sold. Admittedly, my courses are NOT as fancy-shmancy as many. Tonight we had a tray of raw cauliflower & ranch dip. Other nights we’ve had a green salad or other raw vegetables. And guess what? Since they are already hungry (see earlier tip) they are eating their veggies!!! The crowd goes wild…. But we don’t stop there! Heck no, we have dessert every night too! And can you believe it, a couple nights a week that dessert is…. FRUIT! Seriously, they actually believe me that fruit is a dessert. Now if I tried that every night there would probably by mutiny. But I am very proud of the progress we’ve made. And I love sitting down to a meal and have my kiddos ask, “How many courses tonight?”
Final self serving concept that we are completely rockin’ at my house? The late dinner. Public Library hours run late, at least my hours do. I don’t get home until well after our old dinner hour of 5:30. But the French, they are all about the late & leisurely meal. The courses really helps the logistics of this. I can typically have the salad pre-prepped. So when I come in the door either my dear hubby, Mr. Hero, already has dinner started or I get it cooking. Then we all sit down to the salad or what have you. After a brief chat about our day and a full serving of veggies, the kiddos clear the table and tend to that batch of dishes. This gives me an opportunity to dish up our meal. We repeat for dessert. Granted, it takes us more time now but it’s time well spent. I have my kids full attention and they have ours. Tonight we told really bad jokes. It was fantastic!
So what are we eating?
I made baguettes which started in my bread machine and turned out fantastic.
I also made roasted veggies to eat with some grilled chicken. I used a flavor blend that I really thought came recommended on The Splendid Table but I can’t find the reference now. I might have made it up. Just in case, I want to make sure they get credit! I mixed 1/2 T Sea Salt, 1 T Garlic, 1 T Rubbed Sage, 1 T Rosemary & 1 T Lavender. I found it fantastic and my family loved it! So I encourage you to shake it up with your taters & serve it in a course!
My original intent was to cover the whole literary journey thus far in this one blog post… what was I thinking!!! So you’ll just have to stay tuned.