Matthew: I like food because it tastes good. Christopher: I like helping Dad cook because we can make something yummy. Dad taught me how to make green eggs and ham; you put green salt on the eggs. (John notes it was actually sprinkles.) I learned how to cook eggs. I like to eat eggs, tomatoes, and carrots. Matthew: We make pizza with our dad. I like cheese pizza and chicken nugget pizza and M&M pizza. Christopher: We make good stuff, like we made cheesecake muffins. We got all the stuff and we stirred it—cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and flour. Matthew: We made breakfast for Momma—eggs, bacon, and cereal. We cracked eggs and stirred it.
John: My kids taught me about making baby food instead of buying it; that was the start of it. I work with a bunch of foster parents, and they want to make sure that the kids eat, so they want to feed them food they like, whereas I want my kids to like what I want them to like. That was an interesting paradigm I hadn’t experienced before. A lot of what we do at Gap Ministries is to create meals following government guidelines for nutrition for the ages that we serve. I make sure that my kids get those food groups and quantities. The fruit, vegetable, and milk at every meal with protein and a grain is very important.
Abigail: I learned how to make eggs, help Dad cook on the grill … I’ve learned to try to new stuff—I liked mussels, and the taste of menudo. I didn’t like the texture of the cow stomach. I like going on adventures with him so we can try new foods. We went to Maine. I tried the lobster, clams, and shrimp. I kinda liked the fried shrimp. I liked the chile crickets—they tasted like the seasoning and were really crunchy. When I saw my dad on TV for Iron Chef Tucson, I was really proud of him. When I grow up I want to work at my dad’s restaurant and cook awesome stuff at home. My favorite food is my dad’s bacon popcorn. It’s kinda just popcorn, seasoning, and bacon.
Travis: I’ve always eaten adult food with Abby, since she was able to eat food, without thinking about it. We just ate food how we ate food. I’ve learned that just because they’re kids, you don’t have to treat them like they’re little kids. I don’t really “kid it up” for her; Abby has taught me to rethink how I approach kids. She liked spicy food, and then one day it seemed that someone had warned her that spicy food could harm her, and it took years for her to start eating spicy food again. That made me realize, for better or worse, how kids can be easily influenced. She’s taught me to be adventurous and have fun with it, and to be creative to get her to like things that she might not like.
Carolien: They taught us how to cook. Maddie: And bake. Cupcakes—banana cupcakes. Carolien: You have to put butter in the pan to make pancakes. Maddie: When you make muffins you have to put milk in it. Carolien: Papa cooks in the restaurant and Mama cooks at home. We want to learn how to bake. Maddie: And cook! We can do both things. Carolien: We peel Brussels sprouts, and in the Brussels sprouts we found worms. Maddie: To crack an egg, you do it on a glass bowl and you can open it. Papa cooks spinach here, but I haven’t, because I’m not a big girl.
Marcus: They’re very specific. We’ve learned how important food is, but for a much shorter timeline. I’m used to a formal dining experience; with kids, you get brought back to more normal stuff. You pick where you go out to dinner based more on kids than anything else.
Addison: You have to try it once. Mommy cooks eggs with me. You crack them and they go in a bowl. Then you mix them, then you put them in a pan, then you eat them. We cook pasta at home. I like cooking pasta with Daddy.
Michael: I’ve learned how picky they can be. They can like one thing one day, and the next week they can hate it. Also, about making sure that you give them enough nutrition instead of just food.
Crystal: Consistency is key; if you make it with a slight deviation from the last time, then they probably won’t eat it. It’s a lot different when you have to think about nourishing someone else than when you’re just nourishing yourself. When you’re feeding a tiny person, you have to make sure they’re growing well.
Ariane: My parents teach me how to cook. Mama and Papa cook, and I cook sometimes with my mama and papa, I do that. I like to cook spicy ma po tofu and broccoli and French fries. I had broccoli when I was little, and I keep eating broccoli.
Devon: She’s taught me that her palate is such even that if I don’t think she’s ready for something, she’s pretty adventurous and will try it—that there are people out there who are ready to experiment. I’ve learned to not be fearful of what people’s reactions will be, and to have a little faith in what people will be willing to try. ✜