Family Cooking On The Fourth Of JulyWed 27 Jun 2012
Story by Cricket Azima
Celebrate with Refreshing Star-Spangled Summer Snacks
For many Americans, in addition to celebrating the country’s independence, The Fourth of July is all about spending time with family and friends outdoors, watching the fireworks, participating in local parades, and the most important aspect: the food, of course! One of my clearest memories as a child is of my mom making themed foods for most holidays. She made sure all of the food consumed on the Fourth of July was red, white and blue. Some foods were a bit more organic than others. I remember the delicious sweet strawberry shortcake with fresh blueberries sprinkled on top, and I also remember the mashed potatoes that my mother colored red, white, and blue and pasted together in the design of the national flag.
Creating An Outdoor Feast With Family and Friends
The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to break out the grill or picnic blanket and create an outdoor feast with family and friends. Independence Day happens to fall directly in the warmth of summer when the sun is shining, the kids are out of school and most adults are on holiday. With everyone free (pardon the pun!), what better way to spend the day then bonding with the family? A very rewarding and fun way to celebrate is through cooking and eating a delicious meal together.
Cooking is a great team activity in which everyone, young and old alike, can participate, come together to make a delectable masterpiece, and create memories that will live long past the last devoured crumb.
Creating A Celebratory Meal As A Family
Pick a simple recipe that everyone will enjoy making AND eating! Identify a role for each member of the family, based on their strengths and abilities. For example, toddlers can wash the produce and tear the herbs; elementary-aged children with parent supervision can chop the fruits and vegetables using plastic knives; older kids can help with other age- and skill-appropriate tasks, while also leading the gang to following the recipe’s directions; and parents, of course, do what they know best and supervise, but also empower the little ones by acting as their sous-chefs. Next, it’s time to get cooking as a family!
Remember that creating memories and bonding is about the experience and not necessarily about the quality of the finished product. Don’t fret if the dice is not a perfect square or the herbs have part of the stem still intact – it’s the spirit of the activity that which makes the foods made taste so wonderful! So grab the gang, prepare your celebratory meal, pack up the food, spread the picnic blanket and enjoy the day with delicious family fun.
Check out our Patriotic Pattern Parfait recipe below from the Creative Kitchen – a scrumptious and refreshing star-spangled snack that’s perfect to make and enjoy with family and friends during 4th of July meals. Layered with the red, white and blue colors of the American flag, it’s a perfect addition to your summer celebration - and best of all it’s perfect for little hands to help prepare!
Get more ideas for your July 4th feast here.
Patriotic Pattern Parfait
Yield: 4 servings
Total prep time: 15 minutes
8 to 12 Graham crackers
4 cups vanilla yogurt
2 cups raspberries
2 cups strawberries
2 cups blueberries
¼ cup fresh mint, as garnish
1. Place 3 to 4 Graham crackers in separate plastic zipper sandwich bags and carefully seal, with all air removed. Crush crackers into crumbs by having the children hop on top of bags or pound on bags with their fists.
2. Slice hulled strawberries and place aside.
3. Separate mint leaves from stems and chop or tear leaves into tiny pieces. Set aside to use as garnish.
4. In four tall clear cups, create layers of each ingredient (except mint) to make a red, white and blue pattern in the following order: Graham cracker crumbs, raspberries, vanilla yogurt, Graham cracker crumbs, strawberries, vanilla yogurt, Graham cracker crumbs, blueberries, vanilla yogurt.
5. Repeat the pattern until cups are full, and then garnish with mint leaves.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy together!
Tips for Making this Recipe with Kids:
• With adult supervision, have children slice fruit, using a kid-friendly, plastic knife.
• For a dairy-free, gluten-free dessert use soy yogurt and granola or gluten-free cookie crumbles
• Have children prepare recipe during the festivities as a fun activity
• Play Simon-Says or Follow the Leader while kids have fun crushing the crackers by jumping on or pounding on the bags.
• Talk about what a “pattern” is and identify and count the colors and layers within the parfait.
About the author: Cricket Azima is the Founder and Big Cheese of The Creative Kitchen™ - a company that teaches children about food and how to cook in a fun, safe, and educational manner. Cricket is also the Founder of the Kids Food Festival, the author of children’s cookbook Everybody Eats Lunch and also created Everybody Can Cook a curriculum for special needs children of all abilities. Cricket works with a variety of food companies offering a range of services including spokesperson, recipe development and testing, writing, teaching, family outreach, blogging, creating webisodes, and consulting.
Connect with Cricket on twitter and facebook and watch the Creative Kitchen videos on youtube.
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