Originally Published: July 14, 2014 10:30 p.m.
I spend a lot of time thinking about food - not only because I have a passion for food, but also because I have mouths to feed. My husband and I have a small business amongst other things, and in addition to the many crazy things that happen in a days time ... we also have spunky 4-year-old twins! What an adventure! I could write a post a day about the experience of taking two 4-year-olds anywhere, but for now, back to food.
We love to eat and cook and it is important to us to know where our food comes from. We enjoy preparing most meals at home and occasionally have the opportunity to try a great restaurant. As a family, it becomes quite a production when venturing out for a meal.
There are certain standards that we consider before choosing to eat at a restaurant, and to be honest, our city has very few establishments that meet all of my expectations. A restaurant has to be reasonably priced, committed to preparing responsibly sourced food, and kid friendly. What I mean by kid friendly is that not only do they actually welcome children, but they also provide a variety of healthful and delicious items and appropriate portions.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of grilled cheese, chicken fingers, and kids hamburgers on kids' menus. I am aware, having worked in the restaurant industry for many years, that these restaurants are trying to keep the kids' menu simple as it is the parents that are supporting their establishment. With that in mind, parents are much more likely to become regulars at a place with a variety of healthy and delicious options for their kids, a demand not often met by restaurants.
It is so important to teach our children to eat for their health and although there are plenty of things I love about french fries, there are also a million ways to make other options easy and fun for kids of all ages.
On top of all of these requirements, it is also tricky at this time in our lives because our son is a by-choice vegetarian. Although he has spent his entire life eating vibrant fruits, vegetables, and animal protein, he is now certain that he doesn't "like" anything other than pancakes, chocolate, peanut butter and cherry tomatoes! Don't get me wrong, I make amazingly delicious pancakes and there are days it seems much simpler to make them for dinner just so that I can eat while it is hot. I have ways of getting fruits and veggies into my creations. Most of the time I use roasted sweet potato and a variety of grain flours to pump up the pancakes, and sliced berries and chopped veggies are always on the side. I know their nutritional needs are being met; however, I want them to be food educated and eat well moving forward. Thankfully, our daughter will pretty much eat anything we put in front of her.
The great thing about this time of year is that we go to the Farmers Market nearly every Saturday. Not only can we support our local farmers and artisans, but also enjoy one of the greatest local community events that our city has to offer. One of the first markets this season, each kid was given a passport to get stamped from each vendor at the market. Not only was this amazing for them to socialize with the vendors, but it also opened the door to trying new things! It is quite a feat to get up and haul our two 4-year-olds to the market on Saturday mornings before they run out of eggs ... but we do and it is always worth it. Our children find it magical to receive something new from someone other than us. They eat it and love it. A great example of this is raw turnips. Attached to the greens and a bit of soil still clinging makes them seem not of interest to kids, but slice them very thin and you have a mildly sweet, crunchy delight. Feeding our kids never tasted so delicious!
Heather Mead was born and raised in Prescott. After venturing off for a few years, she and her husband Garrett returned to Prescott to raise their twins, Trace and Ruby. She and her husband have owned and operated a small gardening business for the past four years. She is a stay-at-home mom, designer and head honcho of operations for their business.