Friday, June 18, 2010

italian food : tortilla pizza

tortilla pizza
Italian cuisine is so much more than the act of consuming food, and in an Italian kitchen the preparation of each dish is considered an act of love rather than a chore. Dining "Italian style" is all about sitting down together around the table and is as much about enjoying the companionship of family and friends as it is about enjoying a delicious meal.

The kitchen has always been a place of importance for any Italian family and in the hustle and bustle of the typical busy family today, it is even more important to find ways to bring the family together for meals. One easy way to encourage the family to do this is to get the children involved in helping out in the kitchen. Children take great satisfaction in helping out, and as well as installing a healthy dose of good self esteem, in a round about way it encourages kids to try new foods that they normally may turn down.

When they are involved in preparing specific dishes, kids are much more motivated to try them out themselves. Although there are always some chores you can find for even the youngest children to help with in the kitchen such as setting the table, or stirring something together, I find that by 4 or 5 years of age children are able to actually prepare some basic dishes themselves with just a little help from Mom or Dad. There are so many Italian dishes that are quick and easy that are perfect for little hands to help with, and most children love a good plate of pasta or a slice of delicious pizza.

Our family has always been very food centric, and by sharing our love of food with our children they both learned the love of cooking as well as eating at an early age, and are now sharing that love with their children. Our two oldest grandchildren at ages 6 and 8 love to help out in the kitchen, and the younger one in particular has become quite adventurous in trying new foods. I constantly hear about young children who will only eat such foods as mac and cheese, hot dogs or frozen pizza. What a shame that these kids are not encouraged to reach out and try new flavors! We were amazed on a recent trip to Italy when Sarah wanted to try anything we were served. How many kids at 5 years of age would slurp up fresh sea urchins or oysters and actually enjoy them?

Preparing Italian food with your children is a wonderful, healthy way to encourage good eating habits as so many Italian dishes are full of goodness and fresh ingredients. Start by having your children choose the recipe with you, make out a shopping list, and then let your child become involved in the actual choosing and buying of the ingredients. When children feel they are equally involved in the planning and preparation of a dish, they will be even more excited to share the experience with you. What better way to spend quality time with your children then by preparing a delicious meal for your family to sit down and share together?

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