This Page

has been moved to new address

Growing Up Gourmet

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Growing Up Gourmet: February 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Super Supper Tonight

Silly me. I was under the hopeful impression Americans were pining away for Norman Rockwell-style family dinners, when the whole family enjoyed mom's homemade roast chicken, and kids actually responded with engaging answers to the time-worn question, "so what'dya learn at school today." Studies even purport that family meals dramatically improve academic performance and reduce drug-use and other at-risk behavior amongst teens.

But Wednesday's story in the New York Times tells us that even when moms are given every opportunity to put a home-cooked dinner on the table with ease and convenience, they'd just... well, rather not. The Times reports that meal assembly stores, the fastest growing trend in small businesses and franchising during the last three years, is on an unexpected steady decline. Companies such as Dream Dinners, My Girlfriends' Kitchen, Super Suppers, and Dinner by Design seemingly provide the busy mom's perfect answer that harkens back to more family-oriented times. In under 2 hours and with little cash, even a self-proclaimed 'bad cook' can pull up to a mini-mall storefront, prepare 24 meals with her closest friends and a glass of merlot, bring them home in freezer-ready packages, and sleep happily knowing her family of five will be eating healthy, delicious dinners for the next 3 weeks. But as the industry experiences a sharp decline in revenue and charts store closings across the country, it seems mom just isn't motivated enough. As the Times explains, last-minute convenience (think Wendy's on the way home from soccer practice and those ready-in-2-minutes dino nuggets) is about all busy families have time for.

As obesity rates in children continue to rise, and edible food-like substances overwhelm our grocery store shelves, it's unfortunate that more Americans aren't taking advantage of the easiest and quickest way to get home-cooked meals on the dinner table.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Veggies: How Many are Too Many?

I can't tell you how disappointed I was to still see Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, on the bestseller rack in Barnes and Noble this week. I've long maintained that sneaking food is merely a recipe for distrust -- one that will yield even more picky eaters who harbor an illusory relationship with healthy foods.

Thankfully, two outstanding food writers continue to remind us that the anti-sneak dialogue is resounding loudly. In this month's Bon Appetit column, "Health Wise", author Mark Kurlansky compares the veggie-laden diet of China's youngsters to the "eat your spinach... or else" rhetoric echoed by desperate moms in many American homes. He considers Missy Chase Lapine's (The Sneaky Chef) and Seinfeld's cookbooks to be "the worst possible response" to the problem of kids refusing to eat their vegetables. Kurlansky poses worthwhile solutions which "foster an appreciation for vegetables," such as growing a vegetable garden. (Think Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard on a household scale.)

And yesterday Mark Bittman wrote on his new blog Bitten, that "the funniest thing about these two books is that the public uproar wasn’t over their approach to cooking but over which author had the idea first."

With the Bon Appetit article titled, "Eat Your Broccoli", and Bittman begging "Eat you veggies", I can't help but be optimistic that the next food-fad in kids' health will be "Veggies: How Many are Too Many?"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Food For Thought

I think I am addicted to rice. Not jasmine. Not basmati. Not even brown. Free Rice. As in, The vocabulary building game has two simple goals noted on the website: 1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free. 2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free. And the game is pretty simple too. Simply choose the correct definition of an English vocabulary word (there are increasing levels of difficulty -- the website remembers which one you're on each time you play), and 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to help end world hunger.

You get smarter. Hungry get fed.

But watch out. The game's addictive. You might find yourself obdurately playing Free Rice while you somnambulate.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

To Sneak or Not to Sneak?

Is that really still the question?!

With the controversy surrounding Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, tricking kids into eating spinach and sweet potatoes sure piqued the media's attention recently! As you might guess, I am a firm member of the "DON'T SNEAK" camp! Why hide foods that are already delicious? You'll find my argument furthered in last month's 805 Living Magazine, where I up against Missy Chase Lapine, author of the popular cookbook, The Sneaky Chef.

If you still need a reason to roast broccoli with parmesan instead of blending it up for pasta sauce, tune in to Bon Appetit's pod-cast with editor and founder Hugh Garvey, and family cookbook author Lauren Bank Deen. Listen online, or read more about an "honest kitchen" in this Boston Globe article.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's All About the Color!

We all know green is good. And it seems like everything is 'green' these days. Lunch boxes, toilet paper, cars, lightbulbs, even fully furnished homes. Green foods are good too: spinach, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, lettuce, and peas are all rich in antioxidant vitamins, follate, and iron.

Being eco-friendly is great. But green isn't the only color your kids should be learning about. Red and pink foods (peppers, grapefruit, watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries) are filled with nutrients such as beta carotene, lycopene, and powerful cancer-fighting carotenoids. Orange and yellow foods (carrots, squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, melons) are high in beta-carotene, and citrus fruits are full of vitamin c. And dark blue and purple foods (blueberries, grapes, blackberries, figs, plums) are also packed with cancer and disease fighting antioxidants.

Snack time is a great time to make sure your kids are eating through the rainbow. Keep baggies -- or in the spirit of being green -- small containers in your fridge stocked with fruits and veggies of different colors. Throw a "green snack" and a "red snack" into your daughter's backpack for a pre-soccer pick-me-up, and grab a "blue snack" and an "orange snack" for nibbles in the car. At the grocery store, choose by color: assign each child a color and see what nutritious fruits and veggies they bring back to the cart!

Labels: , ,