Please! Play with your Food!

When I was a kid , my dad’s job took him out of town Monday-Friday but he was home every weekend and we ALWAYS had Sunday dinner as a family. I come from a family of 5 kids, so we also had family dinners during the week too but it is the Sunday meal I remember the most and not because of the food. With 5 kids at the table you can imagine there was some shenanigans. If we had mashed potatoes and gravy my older brother was bound to turn his share into a volcano which undoubtedly erupted all over his plate. My dad would change the names of vegetables to encourage us to eat. How he ever imagined calling brussel sprouts “kitty heads” would make them more appealing to us is beyond me! The bottom line is we had fun at the table. My parents didn’t care if the asparagus spears turned into a sword fight as long as they ended up in our mouths and not on the floor , because that would be wasteful and with 5 kids you didn’t waste food.

During the summer we had watermelon seed spitting contests,( nowadays you can be hard pressed to find a watermelon with seeds to spit) and had a blast spitting cherry pits out the car window as my mom sped down the road ( no seat belts in the back seat so long ago) coming home from the farmers market. Again the message is fun with food.

Spring and summer is a great time to experience fun with food. Shanghai has plenty of organic farms around that offer visits and some that will encourage you to pick the produce. The farms are located in both Songjiang county ( west) and to the east in Pudong and Chongming Island. Google farm tours or  try:

Can’t make it out  east or west ? Try a little urban gardening for fun. Kids and adults are welcome to get dirty at the roof top gardens of the Jiashan market, 37 , lane 550 Shaanxi Nan lu, on top of the Oasis café.  The garden is open every Saturday from 10 am-12 pm.  For more information contact: Francesca at

The unintended result of having fun and playing with food is the positive memory of that food or meal. The healthiest eaters are those who have a positive relationship with food.

Take this holiday weekend and play with your food!

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!