Even though we love to cook here at ChopChop Family, we all have been a part of a morning panic that includes staring into the fridge hoping something will appear to grab for lunch. We also know that caregivers have to find creative ways to make and pack lunch for kids every day. Our editor, Catherine Newman, once said something that made us laugh: she couldn’t believe her kids wanted dinner again after she had just made them dinner the night before! Sometimes, packing lunch feels like that—didn’t I just do this yesterday?
We know school-day mornings can be chaotic. Yes, we’re also still pining for those lazy summer days when multiple backpacks and lunches didn’t have to be packed at the same time as everyone needing to be fed. But the school year is upon us and morning madness will commence, if it hasn’t already.
As a rule, I make everything from scratch. For me it’s easier, quicker, cheaper, more interesting, and infinitely more flexible (If a recipe has something I don’t like, I can omit it. Or if it has too much of something I do like, I can reduce it.). I make an exception for Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce: “a very spicy green herbal sauce with Yemeni roots,” which I liken to a spicy cilantro pesto (though it contains no cheese or nuts).
The Kids Cook Monday (KCM) loves that as ChopChop Family aims to inspire families to cook and real food together, families also learn about their culinary roots in the process. Introducing children to foods from their parents’ culture leads to an appreciation of their culinary heritage. Below KCM shares the story about how two American-born, pizza-loving brothers with Indian parents are beginning to embrace their culinary heritage by cooking as a family. Despite their hectic schedules, Anita Raja, a professor, and Cephas Swamidoss, an anesthesiologist, make sure they set aside time to cook with their sons: Luke, who is eight years old and Andrew, who is five. Over weekends and holidays, you can often find the family shopping for ingredients to cook Southern Indian dishes, many of which are inspired by foods Anita and Cephas ate while growing up.
We love learning more about like-minded individuals and organizations whose missions are similar to ours. So we were excited to interview Molly McKendry, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications for New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC). Read on to learn fun facts about Molly, what the NEDFC is, and how ChopChop Family and the NEDFC share a similar vision.
Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I find side dishes generally more interesting and exciting than the main dish, especially in the summer when fruits and vegetables are so abundant. My ideal meal for a dinner party is grilled salmon or chicken, accompanied by a bunch of great salads.
When I was growing up, my parents took me to the New York World’s Fair almost every weekend. And, almost every weekend, fireworks were displayed. The fireworks, etched into my memory, seemed as if they were breaking up the sky: massive, deafeningly-loud, and seemingly forever-lasting. I found them ominous and overwhelming and, as a result, have never been a fan of July Fourth. That is until I spent July Fourth in Nahant, a small Massachusetts town on a peninsula in Essex County, where the fireworks are of the old-fashioned sort: beautiful, short and sweet, and not scary at all.
This has been a very difficult year—in terms of the weather—in Massachusetts. There were warm days in the winter and very cold days in the spring. It felt risky to put away down coats and quilts and bring out the flip-flops. And even as late as May, it looked like the cold air would never come to an end, which made the thought of cold soups, salads, and tropical fruits uninviting, if not positively unappetizing. But now, not only have we survived and progressed past an erratic winter, but even the spring has come and gone, without the threat of a snowstorm. I’m guessing that we’re heading for a very hot summer—in which case, there will be days you won’t want to turn your oven on.
When I make vinaigrette to pour over my vegetables I usually include Grey Poupon mustard. I’m not the sort who often boycotts companies but since Grey Poupon is owned by Kraft, I just couldn’t swirl it in. Their #LieLikeAParent campaign is disgusting, disheartening, and, even in a society where deception has come to “trump” honesty, shocking.
These days, with the prevalence and popularity of cooking shows on TV, you’d think we’d all be experts on cooking and preparing meals. This is far from true, and while it’s not necessary for kids and parents to be expert chefs, basic culinary literacy can be extremely beneficial to families. If you follow ChopChop Family, as we at Kids Cook Monday do, you know the positive impact cooking can have on children and families.