If it were up to my son, we would eat pasta most nights. I love pasta as much as he does -- probably as much as anyone-- but having it multiple times a week doesn't really fit into the way I want to eat anymore. Chefs who are parents have figured out a lot of ways to get the whole family onto the same food page: Serving the food they want to eat themselves, but making everything appealing to their children.
Iron Chef star Cat Cora is a mom of four young ones. She is a big fan of simply grilled meats, fish and vegetables and found that the act of presenting food on a stick got her kids' interest. "They love it," she told me. "We'll do a salmon skewer and romesco sauce, or lamb with mint-yogurt sauce and pita bread."
Who says kid food has to be bland? Romesco, a blend of nuts, garlic, olive oil and peppers, is an appealing shade of pink and delicious -- it need not be too spicy for young palates. Her family-friendly recipe for lettuce cup halibut gyros appears in Smart Chefs.
And as I encourage myself to eat more vegetables, I try to get my son to do the same. Another chef-mom Andrea Reusing, of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., tipped me off to this trick: Put the vegetables out first, when they (and you) are hungriest -- during the cooking if necessary. After that, she says, "they can go to town on whatever they want."
Tomorrow: An excerpt from Smart Chefs featuring a Top Chef judge's family Christmas dinner.
Until then, happy holidays to all!