From LISA BARNES
Think the holiday season takes a break after New Year’s and before July 4th? There’s groundhog day, winter solstice, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, May Day, Cinqo de Mayo, mother’s day, father’s day, and many others (real and imaginative). For children every day is a holiday. That means there are many reasons and excuses to make things special. The best thing about celebrating with children is that they find fun in the little things.
In writing my latest book The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Eat, Drink and Be MerryI reflected a lot about my childhood memories. My mom always made things special with decorations and crafts, especially at holidays. Our Halloween costumes were amazing (think Peter Pan with wired shadow, and Sigmund the sea monster. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t sit in them – we got lots of kudos and the best candy and prizes. St. Patrick’s Day breakfast was dyed, of course, a festive green – from our pancakes to our milk. Our eggs for the Easter egg contest were not simply dyed but then decorated with glitter and noodles.
For me food is a way to celebrate everything – culture, history, seasons, geography. (And to be honest I’m not crafty and can’t sew)…
To celebrate Earth Day I took my children to the local park and we cleaned up trash and wiped down the equipment. Next we picked up some seeds and planted them in pots outside. My daughter placed marigolds, beets, onions and cucumbers in the same pot, so we’ll see what comes up. Perhaps a new varietal of something tasty. Finally we made Earth Day Cookies. What are Earth Day Cookies you ask? Well they’re sugar cookies frosted like the earth. But it could’ve been anything. Call it something festive and ask your kids to decorate it, and something special is created.
We celebrated “Tres de Mayo” this year because my husband was going to be out of town on the real day. I did homemade tacos, beans and rice with all the trimmings. However not wanting to miss Cinqo de Mayo, my kids and I celebrated with nachos for dinner. What could be easier? And yes, it was basically left-overs “repackaged” as a party on a plate. Although my daughter asked “This is just a pile. Is it dinner?” When she saw the veggie platter with her favorite jicama, she was satisfied with the menu.
When my kids are off from school they will sometimes ask if it’s a Lemon Pancake Day. This is a quick and easy giant pancake that’s impressive and sweet for all ages. Quicker than other pancakes, it’s a way to celebrate sleeping in and hanging out in pajamas. See I told you any day could be made into a holiday?
Happy Mother’s Day to all the creative moms out there who make their child’s everyday a special one.
Manny’s Organic Lemon Pancake
Gayle Pirie and John Clark, chef-owners of San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema restaurant and co-authors of “Country Egg, City Egg” developed this recipe to recreate a child comfort food enjoyed on sleep-over mornings.This “dramatic egg pancake” is also known as a Dutch Baby.
3 cage- free, organic eggs
½ cup organic milk
½ cup organic all purpose flour*
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
Organic confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the flour and salt and whisk until a smooth batter with tiny bubbles is achieved.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. When the butter is hot and begins to sizzle, add the batter, and remove from heat. Place skillet on center rack of oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until pancake is light golden and has risen like a soufflé. The edges will be creeping over the rim of the skillet and be nicely browned.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.
See also Lisa’s two new books out now at local bookstores:
Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months
Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods For Kids of all Ages.
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry and lives in Sausalito, California.