Food is a big thing in our family and it’s always a delight to introduce our children to something new.
When my parents come up for one of their regular weekend stays, we usually do a Sunday roast for lunch. This week, though, the grandparents are staying an extra day, so for lunch on Saturday we introduced the kids to the Chinese concept of ‘steamboat’.
This involves a large group sitting around a steaming bowl, into which everyone adds a variety of food such as thinly sliced meats, prawns, squid, tofu, a variety of vegetables and ultimately noodles. It’s like a cross between a hot pot and a fondue, a meal which is intended to be drawn out and sociable and where people can pick and choose the mix of food they eat.
Steamboats are something we often used to do before the kids came along, but this was their first time. And it was a bit hit.
All three of them jumped at the idea of being involved in doing their own cooking, with Toby in particular being keen to help retrieve and serve up the food when it was ready. Indeed our middle child – the one whose usual response to trying something new is “don’t want to” – was asking before we were even halfway through the meal when we could do it again.
They didn’t like everything put in front of them but each of them was at least willing to try, and that’s all we would ever ask from them. So add one to the list of childhood culinary experiences – and put a big tick next to it.