Appetizers
May 8, 2009
Governor, celebrity chef prod parents to start cooking

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging California parents to get into their kitchen and rattle those pots and pans.

The father of four declared the second Saturday in May "Cook With Your Kids Day" and issued a proclamation urging parents to spend time cooking with their children.

Food Network celebrity chef and local
restaurateur Guy Fieri also was presented with a resolution that recognized him as an advocate for families cooking together and healthy meals during an event at the State Capitol this week, according to a news release.

Today, Fieri is hosting a kids' sushi class for 40 children at his Tex Wasabi's restaurant on Arden Way. Half of the participants will be from the UC Davis Children's Hospital. Fieri has five restaurants in Northern California.

In a recent interview with The Bee, Fieri said parents need to teach children critical lessons, such as how to cook and how to eat in moderation.

"We need to educate our kids about food," he said.

Fieri, who has four children, practices what he preaches.

"One of the things I do with my son is he has to make the lunch," Fieri said, adding that his son gets to buy the school lunch once a week.

Aside from a cooking and food choice lesson, it also cuts down on wasted food, Fieri said.

Want some ideas for easy cooking lessons with children?

Here are quick, healthy ideas that this Bee reporter came up with:

• Stick it to 'em - Children love food on sticks (hang on, so to adults!). Grab some skewers and make fruit kebabs. Strawberries, grapes and pineapple chunks work great.

• Say (macaroni and) cheese - Shove aside the blue box and try the do-it-yourself version. All you need are some noodles, cheese and a little milk and butter. The beauty of forgoing the box version is you can control the quality of the ingredients and take simple steps to cut down on calories.

• Breakfast for dinner - Pancakes seem to be a hit with kids whatever time of day you serve them. Pack an extra nutritional punch by sprinkling in some flax seed or stirring in some fresh or frozen fruit. Want a parent-of-the-year award? Pour the batter in the shape of a certain mouse's head or in the shape of a heart.

Go to the Food Network for more kid-friendly recipe ideas.

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