Cooking School: Know Your Knives

Now that we’ve covered safety in the kitchen, let’s get straight to the next important topic in our cooking school series: Tools, and more specifically, knives.

Simple Bites reader Alissa writes:

One question I have is about choosing the right tools during prep work.  I know my default is to select the smallest item (knife, bowl, etc) that will do the job, but it seems the chefs on television are always using huge bowls for tiny tasks, and 8-inch chef knives when I’m pulling out the paring knife.
I’d love to know what they teach about that in cooking school.

Great question, Alissa! Most people don’t realize is that using the correct knife can actually improve your cooking by:

• giving your food the appropriate texture
• accomplishing tasks more efficiently
• respectfully treating the food product
• helping you work in a safer manner

Without question, the knife is the most important tool in the kitchen and choosing the right knife for the job is an important step toward simplifying your cooking. [Read more…]

New on Simple Kids: Irish Flag Stew & Whole Wheat Soda Bread

Everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s and Simple Kids contributor Christen Babb gives us two classic Irish recipes to help celebrate the holiday. Keeping true to her passion for children and nutrition, she also shares how cooking can be an exciting and powerful tool for teaching your child.

From her post:

Every parent intuitively knows that the more your child is personally invested in a project, the more likely he is to learn and apply the knowledge gained. One of our many jobs as parents is to foster fun learning experiences that will encourage critical thinking and creative expression. [Read more…]

How To Help Your Child Embrace Food

As my kids get older I am starting to believe that fussy eaters are partially made, not born. There is an element of kid personality in there – stubborn, adventurous, fearful, curious – but there is also what we, as parents do that contribute to picky eating.

This isn’t about blame or any kind of accusation. But so many of us resort to negotiation, substitutions, and even resignation all in the name of ensuring our kids eat a meal. What’s important is that we care that our kids are eating and we care what they eat.

I believe that if we make an issue out of things, it becomes an issue. So if your kid won’t eat vegetables and you are constantly haranguing them to eat their peas, then they will grow up fighting you on them. But if you encourage them to try new things and trust that they won’t starve themselves, everyone will be happier.

[Read more…]

Three Easy Recipes for a Snow Day

What is the best way to spend a snow day? Around here we head straight to the kitchen, P.J.’s and all.

A snow day calls for comfort food, with recipes simple enough that the children can get involved. It is an ideal opportunity to teach your little ones that cooking can be more than a chore, it can be fun. There is no rush, no place to go, and anyway–the car is snowed in!

Here are three simple recipes that are favorites in our household. They are undoubtedly comfort foods, already with plenty of good memories attached to them, and popular with young and old alike. [Read more…]

Weekend Links