Jan 14 2014
You’ll never hear me tell my kids to join the “clean plate club.” My father used to always push back when my grandparents told me to clean my plate. Somewhere in between their depression-mentality and his realization that giving your kid a stomachache and making them overeat really didn’t accomplish anything lies that reasonable parental desire to help curb our kids’ seemingly innate tendency to waste food.
Whether you’re that parent that really won’t let your kid eat anything else except what is served for dinner, or you’re that parent who gives in and let’s them have a bowl of cereal, or, heaven forbid, the one who becomes a short-order cook, most of us cringe when our kids waste the food they’re served or serve themselves.
How convenient then that we can use Tu Bishvat, the Jewish “Birthday of the Trees,” as an opportunity to reduce their wastefulness (Tu Bishvat is from sundown on Wednesday to sundown on Thursday). Kids really get a kick out of this birthday concept and want to learn more. If the trees are so special that they deserve their own holiday, we should have respect for the food that comes off of them and be sure to use it respectfully.
Have you ever become frustrated at how much your kids waste or wondered if it really is as much as you think it is? Here’s what you can do at home: Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2014
The other day, my husband came home to find me standing in the closet with a blanket over my head, swaying from side to side. I hadn’t gone crazy, despite appearances to the contrary. I was rocking our 4-month-old son to sleep for his mid-day nap in the darkest environment I could create on a sunny day. I love that he’s a curious little boy, eager to explore the world with his eyes (and hands and mouth) but getting him to sleep for a day time nap when the sun brightens every room isn’t the easiest endeavor.
When he’s finally asleep, the last thing we want to do is risk waking him, especially at night, so a few weeks ago my husband and I decided to start brushing our teeth in the kitchen. Our bathroom is just too close to our bedroom, where he sleeps in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. We’ve also relocated half our wardrobe and pajamas to the guest room so that we can get dressed there and not in our bedroom.
As any new parent can probably appreciate, sleep has become the most precious commodity in our household and I’m pretty willing to make some wacky adjustments for the sake of everyone’s sleep. Friends had warned me that sleep was hard to come by after the arrival of kids, and while I believed them, I couldn’t really relate to it until I experienced it myself. Now I love to hear about the wacky adjustments that other parents make for their kids, both for tips and so I know I’m not the only one walking around with a blanket over my head. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 17 2013
Attention balabustas and other savers of food: There’s a good chance you’ve been making the whole “pulling out a sheet of aluminum foil from the box” way more difficult than need be. Thanks to this how-to video made by a fake scientist-looking guy who goes by “CrazyRussianHacker” on YouTube, our minds have been blown, our worlds changed.
Please watch the video and see for yourself. You’ll never wrap up those leftovers the same again.
Happy wrapping, mamas.
H/t to Jews News for posting this helpful tip!
Oct 8 2013
When my daughter started eating solid foods, we did exactly as the pediatrician said. Start with rice cereal, then move to fruits and vegetables that are yellow & orange, then to fruits and vegetables that are green, purple, and red. My daughter liked to eat and I never really thought more about it. As she grew older, she grew pickier. She moved from eating most things to only eating some things to only eating a few things: macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, bagels (with butter, no cream cheese), grilled cheese, and a pretty good variety of fruit. But NO VEGETABLES.
No vegetables. Not one, not ever. When she was 2 1/2, we went to a friend’s house, who just happens to be a professional chef, and she served purple and orange carrots, roasted vegetables, and meatloaf with veggies hidden inside. My daughter picked at the meatloaf, but that was it. At 3 years old, I hosted a dinner play date for a bunch of friends. We made ravioli, edamame, and steamed carrots. My daughter refused the carrots, only tried the edamame because we called them magic beans while singing a song from Yo Gabba Gabba about trying new foods, and she even hated the ravioli, which is cheese and pasta–the same as macaroni and cheese–but I guess it’s not, to her. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 25 2013
I’ve written here before about the carefree approach I had to food in my 20s: I ate and drank with abandon, just shy of gluttony, with a penchant for trying new cuisine in new places (thus, I went on a month-long, semi-solo sojourn to India to try the food). I come from expert meat-grillers, and the art of the old-school, dairy brunch that could render a person immobile for two days was not lost on me. Didn’t everyone’s grandparents put sour cream in cottage cheese with dill and radishes?
And then, in my 30s, I married an awesome guy who happens to have always kept kosher. That we would keep kosher wasn’t necessarily written into the ketubah (marriage contract), but an agreement we made that I was, and am, just fine with honoring. I missed cheeseburgers, and now don’t really even give them a thought, like an old boyfriend I know in hindsight was a lot of fun, but bad for me. Read the rest of this entry →
May 13 2013
Last Monday morning, my family gathered for the bris of my new nephew. He’s the first in his generation, and after several rough years with many funerals, my family was really ready to celebrate. I had offered to bake for the bris, and my sister (the proud mama) accepted, so I spent Saturday night baking up a storm, making some classic family recipes that are delicious, and that would bring the memory of my mother and aunt into the celebration.
Standing around before we got started, the women of the family looked at the trays of goodies that I had baked, and immediately began the traditional recitation of guilt. “Uch, this is SO BAD. I should NOT eat any of this.” “Don’t let me have ANY of this.” “This isn’t going to help me stay good.” And on and on. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 13 2013
I understood Joey Tribbiani. When I was single, I wouldn’t have liked a date who took my french fries either.
I’ve always been particular about my food. But my understanding of food–its meaning and purpose–has also evolved somewhat over time.
At every stage in my life, there’s been a loved one who loved my food and wanted to share. In my earlier years, it was little sister, Nina. Regardless of what we were eating–say, homemade vegetarian pasta–Nina always thought it looked tastier on my plate. So, she’d ask for some. If I said no, she’d gaze hungrily at my food, while I noted that we were eating the same meal. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 31 2013
As my children trickle home from school and their tummies begin to rumble, I can hear the question before it even begins to leave their mouths. With authority that they think is their birthright, they ask me, “What are we having for dinner?”
Oh, how I have grown to strongly dislike this inquiry. When the question begins to form, it is not just on the lips of one child but the lips of four little mouths whining in unison. It’s a rhetorical question for sure and experience has taught me that there is no correct answer that will satisfy all eight ears. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 21 2013
Back when my bigger boys were small, it seemed we had plenty of time at home to hang around. What we needed was stuff to do.
So, along with reading and doing puzzles and playing with trains, I took my cue from cookbooks like Molly Katzen’s Pretend Soup, a bright cornucopia of recipes explained with words and pictures like those simple picture books that preview reading with images in the place of certain words. Together, we made bagel faces and carrot pennies. We baked. We sampled the batter. As the boys got bigger, things got busier; school schedules and activities filled up that unstructured time–and another baby arrived. Our together-in-the-kitchen projects evaporated like so much steam. And then, another baby–years later–joined our family. She is 4, and this time I’m heading back to the kitchen more conscientiously. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 15 2013
We all have plans for how our children will eat. The other parents will drool with jealousy over the varied and sophisticated palate of our little ones. They’ll run around the playground clutching carrot and celery sticks and turn their nose up at white bread. This works for a while, until your child leaves the house. Then it’s all over.
For the first time since I had my son, in January of 2012, I braved going to a Friday night Shabbaton dinner at my shul. With Shabbat starting early in the winter, it was pre-meltdown time for him and my 4-year old-daughter. Of course I forgot our little booster seat, so my eating-dinner-like-a-mentschette plan was in major jeopardy. When a family friend (aka the “baby whisperer”) told me it would be his pleasure to hold little “Dimples” on his lap during the fish course, I threw him the baby and ran to my seat to stuff my face while I had two hands and a lap free. Read the rest of this entry →