Recently I watched my oldest son at a Chinese buffet, happily sucking the eyeballs out of a crayfish (I KNOW. *gag*), and reflected on something: my kids may have flaws aplenty, but they aren't picky eaters. Sure, there are a few things they don't like, but considering that one of them eats paper products (he's ... special, that one), I'd say their tastes are pretty varied.
I think this is mostly because I've always tried to expose them to lots of different flavors, textures, and ethnicities where food is concerned. From the time they were babies, I've given them everything from sushi and spaghetti to Russian syrniki, Thai yum woon sen, and Carolina shrimp and grits. I guess you could say it's for kind of a selfish reason: I love chicken nuggets and fries and other beige foods as much as the next girl, but I don't want to live on those things. And I'm not cooking separate meals just because one of my kids doesn't like the dinner option - ain't nobody got time for that. So they had no choice but to learn to like lots of stuff. Eat it or starve, basically.
The bottom line is, you save yourself a lot of mealtime headaches when your kids aren't picky. When it comes to helping your child develop a diverse palate, there's no better time than when they're little. And there's no better resource than an arsenal of healthy, wholesome, kid-friendly - and most importantly, freaking delicious - recipes. And there's no better arsenal of such recipes than this book right here: What a Good Eater!
This cookbook is co-authored by two real, down-to-earth moms, one of whom - Alessandra (Ali) Macaluso - happens to be a friend of mine. She was kind enough to send me a copy of the book to review (as well as a sweet Vidalia Chop Wizard and an Infinity Jar to help with food prep and storage). I told her I'd gladly do it as a favor - but then when I looked it over, I realized that she was actually doing me a favor. Because y'all? These are some seriously kick-ass recipes.
The book is geared predominantly toward families who want to introduce their babies and toddlers to herbs and spices and flavors. (There are sections conveniently broken up into recipes appropriate for 6 months+, 8 months+, 10 months+, 12 months+, and 15 months+ ... plus helpful tips and healthy snacks, too!) But honestly, my kids range from 4-11 and they all raved about what I made: mini basil meatloaves. See my beautiful, artfully arranged ingredients? I mean I'm practically a food blogger now. You can't even tell that my basil was kind of old. Yeah, I feed my family old basil.
The recipe called for red bell pepper but I only had green. DON'T JUDGE ME.
The meatloaves were cute, for one thing: individual-sized servings baked in muffin tins, just perfect for eating with your hands or tucking into a roll and eating as a slider. Kids like eating cute things. But even better, they tasted phenomenal. And they were easy to put together, which is a huuuuge bonus.
I took photos of them in the muffin tins, but reconsidered when I realized just how gross and old my muffin tin actually is. It might be older than at least two of my kids. And that would be like posing for a lingerie shoot in my stretched-out, used-to-be-white-but-currently-gray Target bra. So this photo is from the book, but let's pretend I took it myself, mmkay?
Nom nom nom! Here's how to make them ...
MINI BASIL MEAT LOAVES - What a Good Eater!
If you'd like to see a few more of Ali and Amy's wonderful recipes from What a Good Eater!, click on over to their website here. And/or, just do yourself - and your fam - a favor by clicking the link below to buy the cookbook from Amazon (it's an affiliate link, just so's ya know). It's a beautiful book, seriously. Visually appealing and full of good stuff that everybody will love. (Pssst ... it also makes a fabulous gift for holidays, baby showers, or for that friend who's constantly struggling with dinner.)