Getting Kids to the Dinner Table: What is the parent's job?

Nov 13, 2009 by

The proper attitude for parents at the dinner table (and a lot of other places) is “engrasa y aprieta,” a Spanish expression meaning literally to grease and to tighten.

A balance of both greasing and tightening is generally needed to successfully bring order out of chaos in your family meals.

If you are joyless and grim about what, where, when and how much your kids eat, you need to lighten up.  Make it fun, make it delicious. If on the other hand, you are haphazard and careless about how, when and what they eat, you need to tighten up.

Bringing in some structure requires discipline on the part of parents and children, but maybe not in the ways you might think.

Knowing when to grease and when to tighten is easier if you know what your job is a parent and what is the children’s, with the labor clearly divided.

The parent’s job description:

DO:

  1. Be in…
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Grease and tighten: How to Get Kids to the Dinner Table

Nov 2, 2009 by

It’s one thing to cook dinner regularly and sit down to it together at the table daily from the start of your life as a family. It’s another to come under the conviction that it’s something you should have been doing all along, when the children are five, ten or 15 years old.

How can we get kids used to sitting down and eating regular meals at the table when they’ve become accustomed to doing things altogether otherwise? Where do we begin?

There’s a Spanish expression, “engrasa y aprieta,” meaning “to grease and tighten,” that describes the proper attitude for the parent undertaking such a major family overhaul. While you restrict and require, you also make it enjoyable. Both parts are needed.

It’s similar to the way logic and emotion work…

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Top 8 things to cut expenses on so you can spend more on quality groceries

Oct 23, 2009 by

  1. Restaurant meals
  2. Soda
  3. Junky snacks
  4. Cable TV
  5. Movies in the theater
  6. Electronic gadgets and video games
  7. New cars
  8. New clothes

Related post: “Reaching the Promised Land: Home Style or Restaurant” Style? http://www.sacredappetite.com/2009/09/28/reaching-the-promised-land-home-style-or-restaurant-style/

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Radicchio Salad with Beets, Pear, Walnuts and Blue Cheese: “serious autumn salad” that sticks to your ribs

Oct 20, 2009 by

CMreceiptsaladscanThe benchmark for an “affordable” dinner for four at home is $10, according to Campbell Soup. I think it’s pretty hard to make a high quality meal for that little. But I take it as a challenge to find meals that really feed you—unprocessed, natural, fresh, packed with nutrients and satisfying—for that price.  I also insist that it be delicious (by my standards). If it’s easy and quick, which this one is, all the better.

The original recipe I adapted this salad from is in a Food & Wine cookbook, which called it “a serious autumn salad.”  It was indeed so serious that none of us even felt like eating the grilled salmon or carrot, potato and leek soup I’d made to follow it that evening.  Full of contrasting and complementary flavors and textures, it was all we needed.

I spent $9.74…

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Shrimp Remoulade with Hearts of Palm and Avocado

Aug 8, 2009 by

Stock palm treeHearts of palm, an ingredient more common in France than in the U.S., are the soft inner core of the young shoots of various kinds of palm tree, including the coconut palm.  They are interesting little nibbles. It’s something to talk about at the table with kids and a great way to introduce an intriguing and unusual new veggie.  I made this salad with twice the amount of hearts of palm the original recipe called for, and my daughter, who wasn’t familiar with them before, asked if there were any more of them after we finished the last of the leftovers. This fresh little salad was a big hit with us.

Another great thing about it is that kids can build their own salads,  choosing…

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