The week is fast approaching where SuperHeroes don on their aprons to tackle the kitchen in preparation for ThanksGiving.
Photo by Stigs
Last year Raul, JuanGa (our black labrador) and I stayed home and ate our first ThanksGiving meal as parents-to-be. This year we are going to be joined at the table by our soon-to-be eleven month old Daniela. In planning our meal, I have to make sure that she gets to experience different foods. What I have been using as a guide to cook for her is a site called WholeSome BabyFood . For Thanksgiving they have some really great vegetable and protein recipes. I will be checking these out as well.
Going to the site gives me an idea as a new mom what she can eat at eleven months. What is great about this site is that it takes you from the time baby can start eating anywhere between 4-6 months (Recommendations are subject to what you and your pediatrician have worked out.) of age up until the first year. We started feeding Daniela Sweet Potato and that item will be in our meal.
I also have to please the palates of Raul and myself. I have already asked him what he would like to eat. I think when you work together to create a menu, your Thanksgiving meal is not only going to be delicious, but everyone in your family gets to add a detail.
When I celebrated Thanksgiving with my extended family, we would get together at my parents and go over the menu. If someone had a special dish they wanted to make, they would cook it that day or prep the day before. We had several cooks in the kitchen working together to make a delicious meal.
As kids, we would eat meals with our pseudo-cousins the Colons Olga, Angel, and Hector (not related to Raul). We would set up a table for us to eat and even put on plays. I remember one year we even made a Turkey out of paper, a tree, and all the kids sang “Timothy Turkey” after we ate our dinner.
Here are my tips to planning a meal that is not only yummy for everyone, but it will involve the entire family:
1. If dad is a great at seasoning the turkey, let him do that the day before. That way on Thursday he can play or watch football with the kids. (We forgo the turkey at our house.) Remember that helping the cook as much as possible, whoever it may be, is a great help. Even SuperHeroe cooks need help from their sidekicks in the kitchen on ThanksGiving.
2. Start making your menu now and call your sister’s or brother’s in advance so that way there aren’t three pumpkin pies or two batches of rice with pigeon peas. Have someone take care of a vegetable, a starch, a fruit, and sweets. Don’t be afraid to delegate the turkey to the seasoned cook in your family.
3. Have your kids get together and help you prepare certain dishes the day before. Remember give children tasks that are age appropriate. I will give my daughter a measuring spoon to keep her occupied. That way she can pretend that she is helping me.
4. Know how many people you are having ahead of time and cook a little extra. At our home when I was a kid, we would always make extra food because our neighbors would do the Thanksgiving food crawl and go from house-to-house to eat.
5. If you have the time, volunteer at a food shelter. One year my nephew, sister, and I went to a local shelter in Bridgeport, CT to serve food to the homeless. It made us feel good that not only were we talking to folks who probably did not have family, we learned to value what we had as a family. This type of activity teaches children and adults that giving to others in need is what we should always do no matter what day of the year.
Remember to give thanks for everything that has happened throughout the year. One thing we would do is go around the table and say what we were thankful for. So what if you burn the sweet potato pie. Make it a memory and laugh about it.
What is this PapaHeroe Thankful for?
I give thanks to Raul for being a great dad and SuperHeroe to Daniela. He has certainly rescued me on many occassions when I have felt myself tired and frustrated as a first time mom. I also give thanks for a healthy baby and loyal dog.
I also want to give thanks to Rick Lipsett for being a great collaborator with Raul on this blog. I also want to thank all of the other contributors for taking time out to write and share parenting tips and stories from their point of view.
What tips could you provide to our PapaHeroes in the kitchen for this Thanksgiving?
What are you most Thankful for this year?