One of the best ways to teach children about food and healthy ways of eating is to cook together and spend time together in the kitchen even when children are young. In celebration of Father’s Day, technology CEO Juan Proaño shares some thoughts on cooking with and for his family.
Mi abuela siempre tenía un plato listo para mí cuando visitaba su casa. My mother, no matter how tired or late it was would make sure I had a home cooked meal too. And when my 4-year old daughter, Lola Valentina, comes home from school I want her to eat something I made just for her. Part of it is tradition. Part of it is because I want her to grow up healthy and strong and I want to make sure she has healthy eating habits growing up. But most of all it’s because I love her.
Sitting at the dinner table together gives me a chance to ask her how her day was. Ask what she learned at school. And make sure she eats her carrots and broccoli. The foundation we set for our children today will last a lifetime and there is no better investment that we can make than to ensure our children have the best opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.
We also share a lot of laughs in the kitchen. Lola is always pushing up a chair so she can help. She wants to crack the eggs herself for breakfast. She is the designated pancake mixer. And she will mix anything, including some of the best bruschetta you will ever taste. She has learned where milk and eggs come from, what a tomato and potato are and she especially loves cherry tomatoes because she can eat those right from the vine. Cooking gives us extra time together that we would otherwise spend in front of the computer or TV.
This isn’t a one-man show though. I surely can’t take credit for all of the hard work. Mommy dearest has gone from a green thumb to the “constant gardener”. We have a full-blown vegetable garden in our backyard now. Tamara and Lola spend hours planting, transplanting, and watering tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, artichoke, and just about anything else that will grow in the Texas soil (and heat). The entire family has become vested in what we eat.
It is so easy to microwave dinner these days and fast food is only a couple of bucks. That’s what the food industry wants us to think at least. However, a recent comparison shows that the typical burgers and fries fast food dinner for a family of four costs about $28, while a home cooked chicken and potatoes meal for four would run you just $14. We have more choices than you might think today. Let’s make the choice that brings family together at the dinner table and provides the foundation for our children to grow up healthy and strong.
Being Latino we constantly hear and read about our children growing up obese and predisposed to diabetes. The onset of these diseases can mean a lifetime spent on prescription drugs or worse. It’s time we make a better a choice in what we choose to eat and how we live our lives.
Next time take the time to cook for the ones you love. You will be grateful that you did.
This savory appetizer is popular not only because it is easy to make but also because it packs a whallop of flavor. If you can, make this during the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. In addition, it’s a recipe even the youngest members of the family can help to make. Here’s a version that’s sure to become one of your family favorites.
1 lb plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 small red onion, minced
1/8 c minced parsley
3 T fresh basil, chopped
¼ t dried oregano
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/8 c extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
4 t balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
Half baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegars in a large bowl and mix to combine. Let sit 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
- Place baguette slices on a baking pan in a single layer. Brush lightly with olive oil if desired.
- Bake slices until just golden, remove them from the oven, flip them, and return to the oven until golden.
- Spoon the tomato mixture on top of each slice of warm toasted bread and serve.