Develop curiosity and confidence in cooking this summer!
A curiosity for cooking and eating good food – as well as learning where food comes from – should be considered an essential part of growing up. The summer holidays are a great time to take a next step in getting your children involved in recipe planning, shopping and cooking. You’re probably still working, but they have a little more time on their hands. What better opportunity to take those next steps towards food independence! We can all hope that by the time the next academic year starts, the younger ones will be able to help out and the older ones might even be cooking a dish or two. So use these summer holidays to build your list of go-to recipes and get your kids familiar with them. After a hard day at work, cooking dinner is not everyone’s favourite activity. But resist the temptation to rely on pre-prepared meals. With a little bit of planning, there are plenty of fresh and nutritious dishes that take very little time at all, especially with a few helping hands. And on a deeper level, this curiosity and appreciation of food will be nurturing an open-mindedness, and sense of human interconnectedness that I’m sure will bring many beautiful experiences to your child in the future.
A simplified Okonomiyaki Recipe
When I’m short of time in the evenings, my go-to dish is “Okonomiyaki”. I have my Japanese room-mate from university to thank for what is now a family favourite. Okonomiyaki’s basic ingredients are eggs, flour, water and cabbage. But it’s a very versatile dish since “okonomi” means “what you like” and “yaki” meaning grilled. You can add meat or seafood or other vegetables. Perhaps you top it with bonito flakes or bacon, spring onion or seaweed. You can find Okonomiyaki sauce in most Japanese/Asian stores but if not, topping with a little mayonnaise still does the trick on its own. Buy a couple of big cabbages, and they’ll stay fresh for weeks in the fridge so you can always have the ingredients on hand ready for a lazy evening or when you get home late.
Ingredients for one person:
~50g plain flour
a handful of shredded cabbage
a dash of soy sauce (to replace salt and the special Japanese stock)
chopped spring onions