Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Nana’s Bringing to “The Kids’ Table”


Everybody knows about “the kids’ table” at family get-togethers and holiday dinners—if your family is anything like mine, you know the main menu planned that night isn’t necessarily something that Sally and Junior are going to like, let alone eat. In the past, you’ve cited your own history, reminding your grandkids and their parents that it’s just fundamentally wrong—even shameful—to turn your nose up at good food, and how will they know whether or not they’re going to like it, if they don’t even try it!?

Stop tearing your hair out, Nanas ; ) This is just an example….

But sometimes, when your chicken marsala is on the table and the adults are oohing and ahhing, your heart suddenly goes out to those toddler and kindergarten palettes waiting at the kids table. Of course, they can’t be expected to enjoy complex, layered flavors, paired with an excellent whine…whoops, excuse me, wine. Then you hear the buzzer go off. It’s time for the grandkids’ fish sticks to come out of the oven.

Your in-laws and immediate family are passing around savory side dishes you’ve worked on for hours and you can’t wait to get there yourself—but before you, as hostess, can sit down and preside over Nana’s big dinner feast, you have to finish helping your daughter complete the dishes heading out to the kids’ table. Event after event, the presentation looks about the same: it’s a pool of apple sauce, some nuggets and maybe a handful of carrot sticks that weren’t “match-sticked” into the salad you’re about to enjoy.

You feel vaguely guilty that the children aren’t exactly on the receiving end of a nutrient and vitamin packed overload—frozen and processed food doesn’t work that way. If you’ve ever seen the parents of your grandchild unseal a small tub of microwavable Easy Mac in preparation for Family Dinner Night, I’m sure you’ve cringed; but there’s another way to appeal to your grandkids—on these nights and any other—that can leave you feeling good about nutrition and flavor.

My Mac n’ Cheese n’ Peas is such a dinner. Occupying just one rack in your oven, it leaves open possibilities for other dishes to be served at suppertime—and better than that, you can prepare this dinner WAY in advance, and freeze it for up to two months—it thaws right back into creamy deliciousness when you’re ready to serve it.

The recipe advocates the use of whole-wheat pasta—so much better for you than refined white noodles—always, always opt for whole-wheat over bleached and processed pasta; the white stuff has more calories and less nutrition. Remember, too, that although the peas in this dish add a nice nutritive value and pretty color to the meal, uber picky eaters may revolt, so it’s nice to know they are optional.

Check back with me later for more easy recipes that prove excellent sustenance for picky eaters (I have breakfast and lunch ideas as well). Your grandkids really ought to take a break from fish sticks, nuggets and hotdogs. We’re not going to set Wolf Gang Puck’s world on fire here, but then again, for the Kids’ Table, that was never the point : )

TOP NANA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what do you do with a child that is so picky about food? He eats pasta, rice, top roman noodles and chicken nuggets. we cant even get him to try different foods and now he wont eat at the same table as us cause he says our food stinks this is a new thing.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails