My girlfriend and I have been reading French parenting books lately. The first Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman is fabulous. It’s a look at how the French parent their children wildly different from North Americans. They are calmer, more confident and a bit more strict. Their children are consequently better behaved, more orderly and also calmer. There was a large part of the book that focused on how well French children eat and how their parents view it as their job to “educate” their children in food. What to eat, how to eat it, when to eat, with whom to eat it, etc. They eat everything! After finishing the book, I dove into Karen LeBillon’s new book French Kids Eat Everything. It is a more in-depth look at how exactly this is executed. What has inspired me is how the French and their children eat 4 courses at lunch and slowly savour each new taste and plate. I think slowly surprising the children with little plates seems like setting them up for success. So today at lunch I tried it with all 6 kids.
I set a menu of exactly 4 courses- appetizer, main course, cheese, dessert. And there was no grain or sugar added to any of it. The result? Success! The all LOVED it! I did, of course, involve them in preparing one course each. I talked about it for the hour before- how it would look, that there would be new tastes, and how fun (!!!) it was going to be. I think that helped. They were a little nervous about the cheese course, it was to be a French brie. But I let them cut it before hand and smell it. It was a bit stinky, but they each nibbled a little and the conclusion was they thought it was acceptable in very little bites. No one finished it, but they all TASTED it! My success has spurred me to want to offer this kind of French dining experience once a week for them. Let’s see if I can accomplish that!
Cutting up the broccoli
Waiting to be asked to sit down
Mmmm… carrot salad
Roast beef and broccoli