Do you have a little foodie in your house? I’ve been trying to cultivate my four-year-old’s palate ever since he was born.
We’ve had a lot of problems with food early on. He had really bad eczema all over his face and arms ever since he was a few months old and finally we took him for allergy testing – first blood then when he was a bit older, skin. And discovered that he’s allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. And initially eggs and wheat too. You wouldn’t know he had eczema today though. A combination of bleach baths, steroids, lots of moisturizing and regular visits with allergists and dermatologists, at least for the first couple of years of his life.
His first skin test
The first time he broke out in hives. It still happens once in a while, due more to high temperatures than with food
So we spent the first couple of years of his life worrying about his diet. We managed to slowly introduce eggs and wheat into his diet and he’s no longer allergic to eggs and wheat. Nuts are of course a different matter. So for a kid with allergies, or really, for a four-year-old in general, he’s done exceptionally well for his age I reckon, as he is wiling to try new things, like smoked salmon. His favourite meals include avocado sushi, mac and cheese, He’s also the kid who says “yay! Roasted cauliflower!” when he hears what’s for dinner. Asked to name his favourite vegetables and he includes Brussels sprouts, corn and edamame. We generally eat together as a family and I don’t make separate meals for the kids but I do try to come up with a variety of different styles of foods, pasta one day, rice, meat, veg the next, noodles, that kind of thing.
He loves his carbs
I also have a two-year-old and he is in an absolute anti-vegetable stage at the moment. I have only recently managed to get him to like eating baby carrots again, after serving it with Japanese mayonnaise. He’s a funny one, he’s kind of like an old Asian man, telling me today that the leftover birthday cake was “too cold”. He has had a love for soups – clear, Asian-style soup – since he was 1.5. He prefers to eat rice instead of baked potatoes and loves noodles.
Anyway, about those books, I recently picked up Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Ho Baek Lee from the library book sale. It’s a fun little book about a girl and her family preparing beebimbop (bibimbap?) and then sitting down to eat it for dinner. There’s even a recipe for bibimbap at the back of the book. Of course after reading it, the kids asked for it for dinner. I’ve made it several times before but this time they really seemed to like it. I made it with beef, carrots, eggs, mushrooms and peas and corn.
Then I started thinking of all those foodie books for kids that we’ve borrowed in the past few years.
Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat, by Susanna Reich and Amy Bales
Told from the point of view of Julia Child’s cat! It has a rustic, handpainted, almost vintage look to its illustrations. And by that I mean, it seems more geared towards adults than younger children.
Dim Sum for Everyone – Grace Lin
The family goes out for dim sum and everyone gets to choose their favourite dish. Simple language, colourful drawings. A hit with my kids.
For babies, there are foodie board books like My First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger. Sanger isn’t just doing books about sushi, she’s also written books about dim sum, Italian food, Indian food, soul food and more. The rhymes are simple and the pictures colourful, just right for little ones.
LMNO Peas – Keith Baker
Peas are the stars of this alphabet book
Round is a mooncake and Green is a chile pepper– Roseanne Thong
We’ve not yet read Green is a chile pepper but Thong uses different cultures to demonstrate these concepts – shapes and colours.
In the Night kitchen – Maurice Sendak
A classic, and lots of fun
Max makes a cake – Michelle Edwards ; illustrated by Charles Santoso
And not just any cake, a surprise Passover birthday cake for his mummy! It involves a lot of frosting, so my older son was very pleased.
Frank Asch has also written a few food-related books, like
I loved this book as a kid and was delighted to find a copy at my library’s book sale
Monica Wellington is another children’s book author who has a few food-related ones:
There are plenty of other books that I’ve come across, but that we’ve not yet read, like
Julia, Child –
What are some foodie picture books that you’ve come across lately?
Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs