Recipes for teaching your kids to love food

A new group of books offers advice and recipes for parents to cultivate a genuine love of good food — not hiding the broccoli in the brownies — in their kids.

Though the books vary from almost scholarly to just a tad goofy, all take the same approach to combating the chicken fingers-and-pizza kid menu: Express your love of food to your kids. Don’t feed them separate meals. Expose them to new tastes and culinary experiences as often as possible. And for goodness’ sake, eat together.

“My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything” by Nancy Tringali Piho: It’s a lot to read on the subject — more than 300 pages — but if you’re bent on raising a gourmet, this is your Dr. Spock. Author Nancy Tringali Piho isn’t interested in getting your kids to eat spinach. Rather, this almost scholarly tome seeks to create well-rounded eaters who are open to the tastes and cultural experiences food offers.

“Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes” by Emily Franklin: This delightfully written memoir puts into practice what “Octopus” preaches. Novelist and former professional chef Emily Franklin chronicles her yearlong mission to introduce her four children to exotic foods from purple potatoes to curried goat. Franklin mixes tales of wonder, such as seeing Mommy “covered in goo” after smashing a coconut, with more than 100 recipes tested on her own kids.

“The Gastrokid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World” by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans: More than 70 “kid-tested, adult-friendly” recipes fill this book born from the authors’ disdain for children’s menus. A smattering of general advice — be satisfied when they try something new even if they don’t like it — precedes appealing recipes such as roasted chickpea bruschetta and Parmesan chicken cutlets.

“Paula Deen’s Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set” by Paula Deen: Once your kids are interested in food, they might also be interested in cooking. “Paula Deen’s Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set” offers more than 60 recipes for sleepovers, bake sales and, of course, the lunch box. Aimed at ages 7 through about 13, the book promotes cooking with family and friends.

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