So many of our holiday memories take place around a dinner table.The festive season means spending time with family, friends and great food! We believe the preparation of these meals is just as important a part of the tradition as digging into the finished product is. It’s the most fun when everyone feels a part of the meal and gathered in the kitchen lending a hand – whether they are making the gravy or putting the finishing touches on a special dessert. But when there are little ones in the house, how do you get them involved (and interested!) in contributing to these special dinners?
We asked Bryan Voltaggio, chef and owner of VOLT, Aggio, Family Meal, Lunchbox, and Range restaurants, Top Chef finalist, author of “Home,” and father of three, for his tips on including the whole kid crew in the making of a holiday dinner. Keep reading for his ideas on where to assign the littlest chefs in the kitchen and delicious ways to use all those leftovers.
Q: Kids love to contribute to a holiday dinner. What’s a great dish to assign to younger chefs?
Kids can help with the potato purée (aka mashed potatoes), they love using a ricer which is essential to making a great purée. It’s a fun piece of equipment for them to use.
Q: Children get a bad rap as picky eaters. What techniques have you used to get your own children to experiment with flavors even during the holidays?
I start by having them cook with me. If they are involved in the preparation, typically they will give something new a try.
Q: Is there a dish that Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without in your house?
Q: Beyond the delicious food in the kitchen, how do you know it’s Thanksgiving in your house?
For us, this is a time to spend with family. That means heading out to all our families’ homes and making the rounds.
Q: We love turkey sandwiches, but are there other, kid-friendly ways to reuse leftovers in the days after Thanksgiving?
Turkey noodle soup is a good one. Dumplings or pot pie made with turkey are other great uses of leftovers.
How about in your family? How do the kids help with Thanksgiving and holiday dinners?