French Kids Don't Get Fat, But Do French Kids Cook?

Mar 17, 2009 by

Kid cooking Jeff, a reader from Portland, asks: “I wonder as I read your blog whether your family chips in on meals . . . or is this a solo activity.

I have found that my daughters, who are 8 and 12, really enjoy chipping in. But since your kids are older, has the novelty worn off for them, as to cooking . . . ?



Reading through my diary from seventh grade recently, I came across some bitter complaining about how my mom had made me do some cooking for dinner. But then I concluded my whining thus: “But I kinda liked it.”

Then once, and only once, in high school, for some reason, I selected my own recipe, Salisbury Steak—basically a hamburger patty in sauce—something I…

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Dinner Table Pharisees and Born-Again Vegetable Lovers

Mar 10, 2009 by


Keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.  — Proverbs 4:23

“In education, as in religion, it is the motive that counts,” writes educational reformer Charlotte Mason in A Philosophy of Education. Motive is equally important in eating.

As true faith and love that come as gifts of the Holy Spirit are the purest motivators for religious practice or living “by the rules,” curiosity is the most powerful reason for learning. Hunger is the best reason to eat. We might even say those are the only reasons we need.

Phariseeism is doing what we’re supposed to but for wrong or lesser reasons. It’s putting on a show, being a hypocrite. It’s being one thing on…

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How to plan menus for healthy, home-cooked meals, á la française

Mar 3, 2009 by


To cook healthy meals for a family the French way, the first step is knowing what to cook. Before you can make a shopping list, buy all your ingredients and start cooking, you have to figure out not only what to eat, but what to eat with it.

I go grocery shopping every Monday and Thursday morning. That’s the plan, anyway. Before I make my list or shop, I start with looking through my recipes.

I have several cookbooks, but the ones I use the most are my little Bon Appétit cookbooks (Tastes of the World, Fresh & Flavorful, Deliciously Light, and Fast and Easy). They are chock-full of simple, yet tasty recipes that work. I also have two little binders where I have glued in or copied down tried-and-true favorite recipes that I’ve gotten from friends, out…

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Romaine Salad with Apple, Pecan, Red Onions and Cider Vinaigrette

Mar 3, 2009 by

Romaine with apples, red onions I try out a lot of recipes. But I only give you my best ones, the real keepers. This salad is one I have made many times. It’s truly scrumptious and a hit with everyone who's tried it. It’s also a good Caveman Diet recipe: raw greens, onion, fruit and nuts.

This dressing is enough to dress many salads. Cut it in half if you don’t want a bunch of extra. It can be kept in the fridge and used for a couple of weeks on any green salad.

1 ¼ C vegetable oil

1/3 C cider vinegar

3 T frozen apple juice concentrate

2T minced red onion or shallots

1 ¾ t salt

½ t ground nutmeg

½ t ground ginger

¼ t ground black pepper

½ C very thinly sliced red onion.

2 Gala apples, peeled or not,…

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Steamed Tilapia with Crisp Vegetables

Mar 3, 2009 by


This is a super simple, quick and yummy early springtime recipe that I am sure would have intrigued me when I was a kid, with its foil "en papillote" (al Cartoccio in Italian) cooking technique. Heck, I’m impressed with myself now when I use it. It adds gourmet flair to a meal and it’s perfect for delicate fish fillets.

16 thin asparagus

¼ lb snow peas

1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick

1 small red, orange or yellow bell pepper

½ C chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, chives, parsley (optional, or do the best you can. It’s not worth spending $2 a piece on fresh herbs at the store)

Salt and pepper

Four 6-oz tilapia or cod fillets

4 T white wine (I buy the small bottles that come in a…

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