Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family Manifesto - In Progress: If you eat, you should cook.

(c) 2014 Ms. Huis Herself at

Quite a while back, on some parenting website or another, I saw a post about a family manifesto.  They had a (pretty, various fonts, color-coordinated) poster of their family rules/important saying/way of living.  I thought it was kinda cool, but way too much work!  

But as time went on, I realized there were a few things that could certainly go on a manifesto for our family, were I to want to create one.  Sayings that have evolved over time, ways we have of living, things that are important to all of us, priorities in our lives. There are only three so far, but seeing as how organically these have manifested, I could definitely see more evolving over time.  

So far, if I were to put together a family manifesto, it would contain the following:

  • You can always snitch vegetables. 
  • There always should be books in your room and usually on your nightstand.
  • If you eat, you need to know how to cook.

I've had the veggie rule for a long time, in part reinforced by Mary P.'s sensible food/eating strategies.  Want to snitch your veggies before the meal? Ok!  Eat 'em all before we sit down?  Well that's just fine! If you're not hungry enough to eat the vegetables offered (upon request) as a between-meal, or even as a pre-meal snack?  Well, then, you're not really hungry & you can wait until the actual meal!

Our family as a whole loves to read.  We need more bookshelves.  In fact, I anticipate that even with Mr. Kluges's plan to build some (gorgeous) bookshelves, we'll never have too many.  Easy access to books is important to us! I rarely end the day without reading at least a few pages.

My kids enjoy cooking, especially when it's baking, particularly when it's cookies!  But hey, once you get out in the real world, on your own, cookies alone aren't gonna cut it.  Penguin in particular has shown a strong interest in cooking, but I figure, hey, if you eat, you need to know how to cook, at least some basics and how to follow a recipe.  So I've been trying to involve them more in real recipes, even if it's just a side to main dish I'm making.  Well, last week I was feeling particularly uninspired and decided, "Hey, it's Saturday.  We've got lots of time.  I'm putting the girls in charge of supper!"  They were so informed, told that supper needed to contain, at a minimum, a protein, a grain and a vegetable.  They ended up with pasta (grain) with chickpeas (protein) and frozen peas (veg) and canned artichoke hearts (veg), with a dessert that was basically a recipe that turned fresh strawberries into frozen strawberry sorbet.  We added pesto for a sauce, and it turned out fine, and this week, due to Pumpkin being away at a sleepover Friday into Saturday, I put Penguin in charge of the menu, promising my help as needed.

Well, for supper tonight we had spaghetti and meatballs, with salad or frozen peas as the vegetable.  The meatballs were made, not with my a-little-of-this-a-little-of-that mental recipe, but with an adapted real recipe from a cookbook Penguin had purchased with her own money at the school book fair.  

It was great.  Pumpkin helped with the meatball formation, but Penguin was really in charge of them.  Of course, I did the actually frying-up, but on the whole, Penguin told me what she needed, how much, that she wanted to skip the chopped onions & some spices, etc.  I recommended adding some splashes of Worchestershire and dashes of powdered onion, but those were okayed by Chef Penguin. In the end, it was decided that less onion powder was needed, maybe a little salt should be added, and that I should add some milk with the bread crumbs when I make my meatballs.  All of the meatballs were eaten, which I consider a total success!