As the father of [soon to be] 5 children I have spent years making many different meals for my brood. I have to admit, I was one of those parents who cooked different meals for my different children. I made chicken nuggets for one, made butter noodles for the other, made grilled cheese for the other and so on.
After years of being a short-order cook for my kids I have come to the conclusion that kids are given too many choices. When I was a kid there was one dinner and one dinner only. If you didn’t like what was on the menu, you went to bed hungry. I’m not saying that sending your child to bed with an empty stomach, but the pendulum has completely swung the other way.
We’re giving our children a choice of 4 different breakfast foods, 3 different lunch options, and 4 or 5 dinner options. If you give a child many options, they’re going to take the path of least resistance. It’s human nature. So, if you are going to introduce a new food to your child, you guessed it. They’re not going to like it, or even try it. They’re going to want the easy path. Butter noodles win out over salmon every time.
Well, there’s help. You’ve got me.
Dean McDermott – The Gourmet Dad. I am going to show you how to make a grown up gourmet meal for the adults, and with a few tips and tricks and omissions, make a Gourmet Dad approved kids meal. I’m going to show you how to work with the same ingredients to make a grown up meal, and a kid’s meal. One product, two different outcomes.
I am all about encouraging Dads to get in the kitchen and cook. Whether you have experience in the kitchen, or if you’re a frightened first-timer, I want you to get in the kitchen and experiment, try new things, and most of all make mistakes. They are the best learning tool in the world. If you burn something, over salt something or both. You’ll learn from your mistakes, and the next time you attempt that dish, you’ll nail it. Besides what’s the worst that can happen? Your arm’s not going to fall off, you won’t break out in a nasty rash… you’re going to survive to cook another day! I promise!!
Making a child feel a part of the preparation and creation of a meal gives them a sense of accomplishment and a vested interest in trying what they have made. I got my little one’s Liam and Stella hooked on curry chicken because I had them in the kitchen making it with me. Curry Chicken!!! I never thought in a million years I would be saying my children love curry chicken. I wept for joy. Just kidding . . . not really.
Now keep in mind, this is not going to happen overnight. It will take some time, but be patient. You will have sushi, steak, vegetables, chicken-eating, little foodie monsters in no time. Just start by eliminating one option a week, and introduce one of my Gourmet Dad Approved meals in its place. And remember to have a good time doing it.
Life is all about. . . FOOD FAMILY AND FUN
The Gourmet Dad Veggiehummuspitamus
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 cups chick peas drained (Save the liquid)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbs Tahini (sesame paste)
- 3 Tbs lemon
- 2 Tbs chick pea liquid
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 10 pitas Carrot and celery sticks
- Split your ten pitas into two piles of five and wrap them in tin foil, and place in a 250F oven to warm them up. Turn your food processor on, and throw in your garlic first to make sure it is nice and finely chopped. You don’t want the little ones biting into a chunk of garlic. They’ll never trust you again.
- Once garlic is blitzed, add all of your other ingredients and blend until smooth, not liquidy, you want the hummus to stick to whatever you put it on. Give it a taste, and adjust flavor as you see fit. Maybe a little extra salt or lemon juice.
- Slice your carrots and celery into 1⁄4 inch sticks Put your hummus in a bowl and place it in the middle of a large serving platter.
- Put the carrot sticks on one end, and the celery sticks on the other.
- Remove one batch of pitas from the oven, and quickly cut the pita into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Place shapes along the side of the platters, and you’re done.
Kids love dips. Since you can basically puree anything, try roasting some cauliflower in the oven and blitz it in a food processor with some butter, milk, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.
You can use butternut squash or even broccoli. The boys especially love the broccoli dip; follow the same process as the cauliflower. Because the broccoli comes out green, name it monster brain dip, or booger dip. The grosser, the better. Boys will be Boys.
The Gourmet Dad’s Strawberry Cream Water Towers
- 1 seedless watermelon
- 1 quart basket of strawberries
- 1 small container cream cheese pinch of salt wooden or plastic skewers. I like to use the ones that Starbucks “gives” me.
- 1 small bag of shredded coconut (optional) green food coloring (optional)
- Use the coconut and food coloring to put on your service platter to look like grass, spread your coconut on a cookie sheet to dry it out a bit. It tends to be quite moist in the bag.
- When it’s dry toss it in a bowl, and add the green food coloring a little bit at a time until you get the grass color you’re after.
- Spread out on your serving platter, and allow it to dry even further. It looks great, and the kids love eating it.
- Quarter your watermelon and cut into 2 inch by 2 inch cubes Sprinkle cubes with a touch of salt. Don’t worry- salts will bring out the flavor of the watermelon.
- Wash your strawberries well and de-stem them
- Place your watermelon cubes on your serving platter
- Get your strawberries and with your pinky finger, stick it in the berry where the stem used to be. What you want to do here is create a little space in the berry, we’re going to fill the space with cream cheese
- Once the berries have their cream cheese, lay them on their sides on top of the watermelon cube and skewer. Your done, and the kids will feel like grown ups having a starter of their own that matches Mom and Dad’s.