The advice to play with your food may sound messy, even subversive. I certainly grew up being told not to play with mine. As a mother myself, I wasn't happy when my son confessed that he had earned a week long detention for his leadership in a middle school food fight.
But I've come to see that the kitchen isn't just a work station for family dinners: it can also be a place for play. And when kids play at the dinner table, they linger longer and eat better.
So with apologies to my mother, here are six reasons to encourage your kids to play with your food:
1. Making food awakens the senses.
In a world that is increasingly virtual, making food is one of the few opportunities to use touch, smell, sight and taste all at once. Sure, if we still built tables, stitched quilts and hauled water, perhaps cooking wouldn't be so special. But cooking remains that rare activity that still involves all our senses — and it's an activity that families can do all together.