Friday Night Apéritif — kid style

5 April 2013

Happy Friday! In our house this often means: Friday Night Apéritif — kid style,tonight. Would you welcome a little “Oh, la, la” in your house tonight, too? This Friday tradition has broadened the children’s taste buds unimaginably and is just plain festive fun.


Today, I wanted to just plant an idea (and share proportions — two-third veggies to one-third snack rule); sharing this idea through a fresh, quick and simple sampler (above). However, some Fridays, can be much more elaborate and; some, have turned into a casual Friday night meal which have included vast ranges from: indonesian chicken kabobs, Lebanese meze dishes, to mini pizzas, etc. In fact, some Fridays … are, actually, Saturdays — but,  the principle is always the same.  If you’ve ever wondered how to get your children to try new foods, eat more vegetables or to encourage family table side conversation, this concept ignites all of this.  (And, if you’ve been to willowday before, of course, I say: let there be something hand written: do it yourself or encourage your kids, with a simple hand written menu, place cards  or folded pocket napkins to add that something extra.)

In this Friday Night series, I’ll share some of our favorite go-to recipes, in posts to come. I’m even thrilled that a few friends have shared recipes and interviews with me about what they could add from their region of the world. I can’t wait to share these with you, too.



Our Friday ritual started like this:
“Apéritif + Amuse-bouche,” when visiting my in-laws is a highlight. We put both ideas together into a sweeping, one word, Apéritif. When it’s served in their house, “apéritif” conjures up a James Bond, Grace Kelly feeling and is more than just cocktails and nibbles. My Riviera born, now retired Ambassadress, mother-in-law, sets a stage and through food + setting, rather than words, shares her life’s journey with us. She delicately and deliberately lays out the multiple, teeny, Amuse-bouche” bowls of carefully perused food and we all know to wait for the sound of the cork to announce that “Apéritif” hour has arrived — including the kids.
The kids, as toddlers,
learned to patiently pluck and looked at this spread with such anticipation that they hopped right over the fact that they were maybe eating their chips and crackers, with a side of endive, carrot sticks and dried apples.  I think think adventuresome appetites were opened with the shared festivity of the ambiance, small portion sizes, and a vast array of foods — I think these elements worked together as an invitation to taste: taste a chip… taste a cracker… taste a cracker with pâté … and on to: local chevré, caviar, tapenade, olives from their garden, magret de canard, fresh almonds, raw mini artichokes to bull sausage from the Camargue, etc. without pressure — the list goes on and on.  An idea was born.

When we returned home to Sweden, under the guise of thinking of Papy and Mami in France, I announced that “tonight I’d serve a special Friday night Apéritif” and poured our toddlers apple juice in stemmed glasses alongside a table set with my first home version — a new tradition began. It was half: hats off to family culture and tradition and half: food exploration.  This is my formula:

1/3 = Chips, Crackers, Pretzels, etc
2/3 = Veggie or Real food

1/3: 1. Japanese Mix Crackers, 2. Chips 3. Pretzels
2/3: Carrots, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Snap Peas, Raw Food Sesame Crackers and Hummus
(Our other most regular is Guacamole) 
I learned first hand: was it really so bad if your child enthusiastically eats both 3 chips to 6 vegetables and while by your side? It’s amazing, we never have a veggie left when I serve Apéritif style —– ever. The doting Mother in me would love to keep the kids scrupulously eating healthy every minute;  but, honestly, are we going to keep them from learning about Oreos or Doritos forever? (I kept Lordaggodis away for years… but after a while in school… there questions to answer!) Plus, isn’t food means to be enjoyed together, don’t you agree? Have you ever thought about this before? Do you have childhood family traditions you carry with you as an adult? Do you even have a food philosophy? I’d love to hear from you.  I hope that a Friday Night Apéritif injects you with a little oo, la, la, too! Happy Friday night!

NOTE: If you’re not 100% certain what Apéritif* and Amuse-bouche** are, I’m sure you’re not alone — see below. If you’re not familiar with me and why, in the world, I have anything to say about France or in French, my mother-in-law is French and my in-laws live under the Procencal sun in the south of France. *”Apéritif” is a French word derived from the Latin verb aperire, which means “to open.”
**”Amuse-bouche” is a French term that literally translated means “mouth amuser” and s a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre typically crackers, cheese, pâté or olives

Something you might like:
Make Vegetable Mandalas (not pictured below)
#2: Friday Night: Aperatif Mexican Style: (not pictured, click here)
Bunny Toast (not pictured below)

Flat Bread — Just make it rounds, instead of Jack-o-lanterns, year around
Let your kids make Butterfly Place Cards: Spring is around the corner, after all!

Simple Snack: Walnuts and Parmesano

Dipped Spoons Personalized Serving Utensils

Swedish Snacks

Nice Ice
Veggie Wheels (not pictured)For the full ” kitchen” list, click here:

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