My name is Linnea and I am a food blogger focused on American and Swedish recipes, as a way to highlight the two cultures I grew up with (Swedish mom, American dad). Back in the states I was an elementary school teacher, and I am now living in Sweden with my husband as I complete a master’s in International and Comparative Education. Although I am not a mom yet, I do have plenty of experience being a kid, and being around kids, so I hope to still bring something meaningful to Take a Taste Tuesday this week :).
I spent a lot of time thinking about what to focus on for this post – how can I incorporate both cultures that I hold near and dear, as well as a delicious recipe that kids will enjoy? Immediately I began to think about the memories that were most special to me growing up, and one of them (which I wrote about on my own blog) is my family’s tradition of making Mickey Mouse waffles at our cabin. And it’s perfect – what could be more American AND Swedish than waffles?! (Sweden even has it’s own holiday for “Waffle Day”). But what was so special about those waffles? It wasn’t just that they tasted good, it’s something else about them too….
And so here are my two related tips for those with children!
(1) Create a family food tradition:
I have no idea when my dad started making these waffles at our cabin in the San Juan Islands, but I can tell you it was definitely long before I can even remember. I can’t think of a single visit that did not include these waffles for at least one breakfast. My dad would wake up before the rest of us, and get started heating up the waffle iron, beating the egg whites… and the smell was such a wonderful way to wake up. As we got older, my sister, cousins and I started to take over the waffle-making job and I remember it sort of felt like a right-of-passage that we crossed. As an adult I happened to go to college near the San Juans, and even in my 20s when I’d bring friends up for a weekend of fun, I’d still find time to make waffles for breakfast. And I know that when I have my own kids, this tradition will continue and hopefully bring them wonderful memories too. You know how they say smells hold some of the strongest memories? Well I think taste must too, because every time I make these waffles here in Sweden I am transported back to being a kid at the cabin and it’s a wonderful remedy for homesickness :).
(2) Let your kids be creative with their food:
The second part of this is that my sister, cousins, and I LOVED the Mickey Mouse waffles because they were FUN! Besides them being in a Mickey shape (what kid doesn’t love that?!) we always got to be really creative with the toppings. I might put strawberry jam in the lips and fruit earrings for the ears before drizzling everything with syrup…. my sister might add a beard with whipped cream and a mustache of raspberry jam to hers…. basically we got to be creative with our Mickeys! As we got older, we even got creative with the batter itself, sometimes adding extra to the outside to make a beard or adding a bow on top for a Minnie. It wasn’t often that we made waffles at home (they wouldn’t be as special then!) but when we did, we had a Nordic waffle maker that was shaped with hearts. It was always fun to put something different for a topping in each heart…maybe peanut butter and honey in one, yogurt and fruit in another… it was another way to be creative with our food :).
So I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own fun, family-centered, food tradition that your kids will remember and carry on for the rest of their lives. And if you want to try my family’s famous waffle recipe, you can find it on my blog: Mickey Mouse Waffles. There’s also a link to the Mickey waffle maker on Amazon if you want to try it out with your own kiddos :).
Finally, a big thanks to Say n Play for having me as a guest this week!
Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!