I have one daughter (my youngest) who will at least try everything on her plate and then I have another daughter who will “yuck”, “blah” and scoff at nearly everything placed before her. With this daughter (aka Edie, aka the six-year-old, aka The Picky One) I’ve discovered that giving her the power of informed choice is the best route to finding peace at the dining table. Knowledge, choice, and adding chocolate. Chocolate often helps. Everyone.
From build your own taco nights to simply asking “what kind of sandwich would you like in your lunch tomorrow?” seems to satisfy her desire to feel in control and helps minimize our table side tantrums. But, this is a kid we’re talking about so every day is a new adventure, there is no black & white rule that works every time. We have to roll with the punches, or in this case, the adorable death stares. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it oh-so-wrong.
There was once, in a moment of total frustration, that I found myself snapping at The Picky One with, “there are starving children in Africa that would do anything to have this good food.” I immediately felt awful for saying it. How dare I use the ill-fortune of others, anywhere, anyhow, to guilt my kid into trying my Sheppard’s pie?! I felt awful and just wanted to pretend I never said it, but the six-year-old had more questions, “Why don’t kids in Africa have your yucky food?” she so kindly asked.
Consumed by the mom-guilts in my head, I mumbled, “Uhhh nothing. Nevermind.” As I started to busy myself in the kitchen and forge on from it; I was hoping this wouldn’t become one of those awful parent-kid-teacher games of telephone where she goes to school the next day and exclaims that ‘mommy is going to send me to Africa to starve’. But The Picky One didn’t want to move on. She kept pressing me with questions about Africa and why kids there don’t have dinner like hers. So I collected my thoughts and sat down with her to approach the heavy realities of what is happening to school age children in Africa in a less emotional outburst / much more educational way and it was wonderful. She was genuinely interested in the differences between her life and children from different parts of the world and she very generously wanted us to help any way we could.
When The Giving Table campaign engaged food bloggers, asking for help to bring awareness of their goal to raise $5000 to provide a daily meal to 100 South African school children for an entire year, I thought it would be a great post for Edie and I to collaborate on.
A few statistics to consider before we continue:
- 65% of all South African children live in poverty. Receiving food encourages these children to stay in school and obtain their education.
- Nearly 20% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS.
- Lack of food can diminish concentration, erode willpower, and strip away a child’s potential. Compound that with prevalence of HIV/AIDS or the trauma of losing parents and loved ones, without food, a child’s attendance and performance at school is severely jeopardized.
- The Lunchbox Fund (partner of The Giving Table) identifies schools or forms partnerships with locally based NGOs or community organizations in order to evaluate and identify schools. It funds distributors to buy and deliver food, monitor the feeding scheme, implement a Project Manager, and deliver reports back to them for evaluation.
I asked Edie to to choose one of the beans pictures in The Giving Table‘s website header — she picked Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). Then I asked her to name one of her favourite foods — to no one’s surprise, she chose chocolate. Now it was up to me to create a recipe that we could make together with these ingredients; something that she would actually enjoy eating once made; something that relating to The Giving Table’s campaign theme of lunch (i.e. something I could pack in her school lunch bag and ensure she’d actually eat). I proposed a chickpea chocolate bar and it received an enthusiastic double thumbs up.
- 1 can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
- drizzle olive oil
- few pinches of sea salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips (or 12 oz of dark or milk chocolate, chopped)
- Preheat the over to 350°F ( 175°C). Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain and rinse canned chickpeas well. Shake off as much excess water as you can.
- Spread beans across the parchment paper and dab with paper towel to remove a little more of the moisture off the beans. Remove any broken beans and out skins peeling off.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes, shaking the baking sheet every 15 minutes or so to ensure the beans don't stick in one place.
- While beans are roasting, chop chocolate into small pieces.
- Once chickpeas are a golden brown, remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot. Transfer beans to plate to cool.
- Toss the chocolate evenly across the used parchment paper and return the baking pan to the oven for 3 more minutes for the chocolate to melt. Remove from heat and spread with a rubber spatula to create a rectangle of glossy, melted chocolate. Sprinkle roasted chickpeas evenly across, add another sprinkle of sea salt (optional). Press lightly on the chickpeas to ensure they are bound to the melted chocolate.
- Let sit for 15 minutes to cool completely. Once totally hardened, break into pieces and enjoy.
- Of course you can use dried chickpeas instead of canned, simply soak in enough water to cover and a pinch of salt overnight. Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fibre and healthy vitamins and minerals, anyway you can include them in your diet is a good way.
I never want my children to feel guilty for the luxuries that we have but I do want them to be well-informed of the issues that exist in our world and the opportunities that they have to help others. After taste testing our successful recipe collaboration the two of us logged on to The Giving Table charity page and made a $20 donation to their cause. When she clicked on that big green Donate button her face lit up with this awesome, beaming sense of pride (so of course mine did too).
Another great day in my hot pink apron. And, hey, she may not eat all of her dinner tonight, but I won’t stress it too much, at least I know she’ll be getting some healthy fiber & protein from the chickpea chocolate treat in her lunch tomorrow.Add to favorites