When kids ask 'Can I help?', let them
Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | 12:31 PM ET
by Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca
"What's for dinner?" asked my seven-year-old daughter.
Curried eggs were for dinner, a dish she had tried before and, as we try to get her to say, "she had not cared for it." A straight answer was not in order.
"Eggs," I said.
"Yuck," she said, perhaps sensing my equivocation. She does not have a problem with eggs for breakfast, but eggs for dinner make her suspicious.
I sighed and carried on peeling potatoes. A few minutes later she was at my side.
"How can I help?"
I was about to chop the potatoes, and putting a chef's knife in her hand didn't seem like a good idea. It seemed most of what I was going to do before serving supper involved sharp implements or flesh-burning heat. But earlier in the week I had read that having fussy eaters help cook tended to make them less fussy.
"You could peel the carrots."
I directed her to where they were stored in the fridge, and she began to scrape laboriously at them. As she did that I made quick work of an onion and dropped it the skillet. I explained how I was boiling the eggs, and would chop them up when they were done.
Let me tell you what my daughter thinks of rice. At the beginning of the school year she did a getting-to-know-you poster as a project. It included information about her family, what she likes, what she doesn't like. Of all the horrible things in the world she might have chosen for the dislike box, she put in rice.
Yet when I got out the rice and measuring cup to dump it into the pot, she jumped in.
"I can do that."
And she measured it out, and then the water, and I turned on the heat. Soon, under my close supervision, she was stirring things around in the skillet.
A few minutes later she sat down to a dinner of curried eggs and rice and ate the whole thing.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food?
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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