As parents in the kitchen, much of our time is invested in quick weekday breakfasts and well-loved family favorite dinners that keep us gathered around the table. Our goals aren't often about learning from our children or even really intentionally teaching them, but life lessons are a joyful byproduct of dinner with kids.
Here are the best stories on life in the kitchen, around the table, and eating with kids from this past year.
How often are we told as new parents that we can kiss our old dining-out habits goodbye once we've got a little one in tow? Our Editor in Chief Faith Durand literally found the opposite to be true as she navigated fine dining with her young daughter.
Faith writes: "The viewpoint of that little face, sometimes practically eye level with the table, is one that adds a whole new dimension to my own experience of eating out and the social and edible pleasures of restaurants. To be frank, I feel so much more engaged and less likely to take either the opportunity or the food for granted."
Jess Thomson shared a poignant story about how clafoutis created an executive function practice for her son navigating elementary school and cerebral palsy. Like any good mother, she knew that a beloved dish could make a possibly tense task more pleasurable, the result of which was making a small mess, but memories on the floor of her Seattle kitchen alongside her son with delicious results.
If weekday breakfasts are a battleground in your house (as they once were in my own), consider the dinner-for-breakfast route. Not keen on serving sugary breakfast cereal again and having given eggs their all for my then 5-year-old, I turned to dinner favorites that were easy to prepare in advance to get every single diner in my house back on board with breakfast.
Before you get worked up about this title, consider this from writer Sarah Spigelman Richter: "The word 'hiding' has a negative connotation — and there should be nothing negative about feeding your kids foods they like and that you have loaded with healthy ingredients." Owning up to veggies in disguise might actually help your kids (and, let's be honest, you too) have a better relationship with the often villainized ingredients like kale and beets.
Snacks are the friend-enemy of parents everywhere. A snack can save the day when you're stuck in carpool and its hours until dinner, but they can rule your life if doled out too liberally. Ten real moms gave their best snacking advice, and surprisingly only one cookie made the list.
Do you guys let your kids push the pint-sized buggies at the grocery store? I only let my 6-year-old get one on low traffic days at Trader Joe's when we don't need a ton of groceries and I can keep an eye on her. This post has over 100 comments — where do you stand?
This is my personal favorite cooking-with-my-kids lesson from 2017: Making pasta from scratch with your children is way easier and more rewarding than making cookies or birthday cakes. It's something we will be doing again during the long school break for the holidays.