Cookbook offers recipes for parent-child bonding

Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:04am EDT
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By David Gregorio

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Cookbook author Karen Berman is tackling two big challenges -- finding family activities that don't involve television and getting children to eat healthier food.

In her new book, "Friday Night Bites", she presents 20 themed family meals ranging from Dinner on the Moon and An Evening at the North Pole to Dino Dinner and Teddy Bear Picnic.

Each chapter includes recipes and craft projects, educational information for conversation and after-dinner activities, along with suggestions for how children can help prepare some of the food.

Berman spoke to Reuters about devising child-friendly recipes and getting children to try new types of food, especially fruits and vegetables.

Q: Was this the first project you've worked on with recipes for children? What were the challenges and rewards compared to other things you've done?

A: "The biggest challenge for me was that I didn't do the kind of spicy foods I like. I didn't do Thai, with its hot, salty, sour and sweet flavors all in one dish ... or really spicy Mexican salsa. I really tried to keep it to, not bland, but really pure, approachable flavors.

Q: You studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. How did that training come in handy for this project and how much did you have to modify?

A: "I tried to keep the recipes accessible. Some are quick and easy. Some require more prep and more time, but I don't think anything is beyond the skills of the home cook. That said, I definitely use techniques I learned in cooking school.   Continued...

<p>Cookbook author Karen Berman is pictured in the kitchen of her Fairfield, Connecticut home. Reuters/Handout/Ellen Berman</p>