Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hail Cookie Mag: Great Article on Family Dinner

I read a fantastic article in Cookie Magazine touting family dinner this weekend. In 30 meals in 30 Days, Jenny Rosenstrach writes about realizing that her family's choice of dinner consists of exactly 4 items. She calls it "The Sad, Sorry Lot." I imagine that many parents out there can relate to this thin list.
The Sad Sorry Lot
Chicken fingers (or breaded chicken cutlets)
Hamburgers
Pizza
Sauteed Shrimp
This coming from a former foodie, she muses, who probably created 4,500 dishes in her life pre-kid. She decides to make a life change, or at least a 30-day experiment, to address the problem. She challenges herself to come up with new menus so that everyday can be a new dish, made in 30 minutes of less. Wisely, she planned to have at least one "edible," extractable item on each plate in order to reduce worry and argument at the table. There's a lovely two-page spread displaying an picture guide of the 30 dinners, annotated with symbols for "winners" and "minimal clean-up".

The end of the article, Rosenstrach proudly displays a new list:
Things My Kids Eat Now That They Didn't Eat 30 Days Ago
Soba Noodles
Fish Tacos
Lamb Burgers
Swedish Meatballs
Fish Soup
Biscuits
Trout
Sweet Potatoes
Lamb Burgers? Fish Soup? Even my foodie kids aren't into those! I'm going to have to try those recipes! (She used epicurious for research.)

The other small item I liked was the picture of the family at the table, and the parents have a glass of wine with dinner. It's not mentioned at all in the article, and it barely rates a mention, but I think it conveys that the family table can also have some adult enjoyment built in. Her whole article is structured not as, "I'm doing creative family dinners because it's good for my kids." The focus is, "I'm doing more creative dinners to reclaim something that was important to me before I had kids." That's terrific! Family dinner is meant to be enjoyable for the parents and the kids. All the benefits that stem from it are just the gravy.

More tips from Jenny Rosenstrach on Cookie Mag website.
Full article and pictures available in print, Cookie Magazine, April 2008

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