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Pepper spiral! Easy, fun way to send veggies in lunches.

Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Blog Posts | 6 comments

I think the picture says it all… M says she always gets comments when she grabs the end of the pepper and pulls it out of the Tupperware in her lunch box. I cut out the stem, then pull out the seeds as best I can, use a good paring knife and see if I can cut the whole thing in one spiral. I then remove any left-over seeds and white parts.

In general, I find that making your child’s food into art, to try to get your kid to eat it, means you may be working too hard, and it might not even be helping. But this pepper trick is quick, easy, I don’t do it every time, and it makes me smile thinking of her pulling that pepper out at lunch.

What do you think? Where is the line between a fun food prep method, and Picasso on a plate? When does it cross into pressure? Cutting pepper spirals, serving food-art every meal? Do you have fun ways of preparing foods? Have you made a fancy food project only to have your child still reject your efforts?

Generally when I work with parents on feeding concerns, asking them to examine their motives, their feelings and the child’s reactions helps them know if their approach is helping or possibly harming.

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6 Comments

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  1. Fat Grad

    I love you talking about this. I had decided this year to pack exciting lunches for my adorable kindergartner, but when you google fun lunch ideas for kids you mostly get a lot of bento boxes these days. Which are awesome ideas, but so many of them are these ridiculous pieces of art that could be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art! I mean, who has time? I am in grad school and raising a child, so certainly not me! I just wanted ideas that were interesting in terms of content, not something that I needed to make a scrapbook about. I think that my five year old would think that your pepper spiral was amazing, and I like it because it takes the same amount of time as cutting a pepper normally does so everyone wins. I am not artistic with things like this, my kids just have to be happy that I am a good and creative cook and leave it at that.

    • katja

      I agree about the bento boxes… I don’t have time for that, and I often pack sauces, or some hot and some cold foods, so they don’t work for me. Glad I could help! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Twistie

    I think pepper spirals look fun and don’t take that much extra effort. It looks cool uncoiling, and is much easier to pack than a whole pepper.

    To my mind, the key to everyday plate art is to keep it simple and a bit whimsical. Like your pepper spirals and CL’s sandwiches of many shapes. They look good, yes, but they take only a tiny bit of extra time and make the food both fun and easy to eat. It you start constructing visual masterpieces that take all night to create and make your child (or spouse) wonder how they’re supposed to eat it at all… you’ve gone way overboard.

    After all, it took my mother all of five seconds more to make a smiley face in chocolate chips in my pancakes on the rare weekends when she made them, but it made me feel loved all day long. Kind of like the times she sat down and read to me even after I could read the books myself.

    But if it comes down to ‘do I make it pretty or do I make it tasty?’ then taste always wins out in my book. And if it’s a matter of no extra five seconds available, it never was a problem when my chocolate chip pancakes came out with the chips any old which way. the little visual touches were more like an extra hug than the only expression of love.

    • katja

      I love that! An expression of love. Nowadays, it’s almost presented as a solution or a way to get your kids to eat certain foods, then it seems controlling, and not so much about love… Again, it comes down to motives, eh?

  3. CL

    Food was not typically a happy thing for me as a kid (I have a fat-phobic mom and I was always bigger than all the charts and whatnot said I should be, so I was constantly restricted), but one of the few good food memories I have is my mom’s artistic approach to the lunches she packed me for elementary school. She used cookie cutters to make my sandwich into a different shape every day – hearts, stars, flowers, stuff like that. She’d cut the bread and then each layer so the whole sandwich was in whatever shape she’d chosen. It made me feel like I had something special that the other kids at school did not and was definitely an encouragement to eat the lunch she packed for me.

    • katja

      Oh, I love that! So fascinating that she restricted you, but put her love and energy into the sandwiches. It is all so complex, this nurturing, feeding, and wanting healthy and happy kids…