I’m so excited to finally be sharing this with you guys! I had the pleasure of interviewing Slim Palate’s mom, Lynn, several months ago and was so encouraged to get a peek into the life of someone who has done what we’re doing and is reaping the rewards of her sweet investment into her son! I’m surrounded by awesome parents on Instagram that are plunging into the crazy ride of involving their kids in the kitchen but sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind! The majority of us are teaching babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and it’s easy to see the lack of progress one day holds, rather than see the big picture we’re whittling away at. So for the sake of perspective and some loving encouragement, I contacted Joshua to see if I could chat with his mom!
In case you somehow haven’t discovered Joshua Weissman of SlimPalate.com yet, let me fill you in. When we were at the start of our journey in discovering Emery’s food intolerances, I stumbled across an interview a blogger had done with Joshua and was immediately drawn to him and his story. After years of being harassed and teased for his weight, the [then] 16 year old radically changed his diet, returned to the kitchen his mom had raised him in, lost 100 lbs, created a website, published a cookbook, and is now a fit and healthy 19 year old with a promising future in the foodie world. You can find his story here!
As I’ve connected with more and more parents in need of encouragement, affirmation, and a gentle nudge to take the plunge, I realized that we’re in major need of some mentorship! A coffee shop pep talk from someone who’s walked the road before us, made the investment, and is basking in the glory of a grown child that’s thriving in the kitchen. Reading Lynn’s story and seeing where Joshua is now is such a strong motivator to me! It’s so easy for me just look at today and wonder if this is really worth it as I wipe coconut flour off every surface imaginable and dig millions of egg shells out of mixing bowls. It’s affirmation that, no, Cooper will not still be throwing potatoes on the floor and licking the raw broccoli on my cutting board when he’s 19. I don’t expect him to be a wildly popular blogger with a cookbook while he’s in high school, but if the kid can make a few healthy dinners I’ll be elated. Taking my eyes off this season of life and look toward the future reminds me this is only a season. In a blink of an eye I’ll be in the season of fully grown children, looking back on 2015, laughing about that time 4 year old Emery scooped out cantaloupe seeds with so much force they flew straight at her and smacked her in the face with a juicy plop.
RFWK: First, can you explain your personal opinion of cooking – love it, hate it, just do it cause you have to? What influenced/s your opinion of cooking?
Lynn: I love cooking! I grew up in a Southern home surrounded by wonderful cooks. My mother and sisters as well as my father and brothers have a love for cooking and creating in kitchen. My mother never ‘made’ me be in the kitchen, that’s where I wanted to be, where all of the action was! I grew up in the country about half an hour from Houston in the mid ’70’s. In high school, it was still popular at the time to take Home Economics as an elective. I’m proud to say I won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year Award
When did you start including Joshua? Did he initiate it or did you?
I’m happiest in the kitchen [or on a boat with a kitchen, hehe!] It was completely natural to have Joshua ‘help’ me and include him in the kitchen from the time he could hold a spoon. I would let him touch, feel & taste the ingredients.
What was your motivation for involving him?
I was thrilled that he took a liking to cooking. It made meal prep even more fun having my sweet boy involved.
How did you handle him helping? Was it hard to adjust, at first, to having a young helper?
It was easy for me to involve Josh. Completely natural!
What did it look like to have him help [what kinds of things did he help with, how often did he help, etc]?
I would set up the bowl and spoon on a child’s table for him to work on his level and give him the ingredients to add and mix. I would have a child’s chair for me to be comfortable at the small table and talk him through what to do and basics of why.
How did you help spur on his love for cooking, as his mom?
I never ‘shoo’d’ Josh out of the kitchen. Instead I tried to plan ahead what things he could help with. I tried to make foods that would be more fun to prepare. Pounding things with a wooden mallet were especially fun. If something went wrong, I made a point to laugh about it. I always praised his culinary accomplishments, big or small and we would discuss the taste of each thing he was working on. If he would start to get bored, I made sure to quickly move onto something he wanted to do as soon as possible. Even if that meant playing outside….dishes can wait sometimes!
How did his involvement progress as he grew older? More interest, less interest? More independence? Etc
Joshua stayed actively involved in the kitchen up to about preteen. At that point, he preferred going to fast food places
with his friends. That was a very big mistake on my part to allow the majority of his meals to become fast food. He was having so much fun with his friends and I was really busy with work…anyway, big mistake. But when Joshua returned to the kitchen in 10th grade, it was with great intensity!! Look at him now
What about siblings – were all your kids included in the kitchen? Did you foster them in the kitchen the same way, or did you invest in them differently because each one showed different levels of interest? Do your other kids know how to cook?
Joshua’s older brother is a very good cook now as well as enjoys being in the kitchen. But, as a child, he was never every interested in cooking. He even asked me a couple of years ago why I didn’t involve him in the kitchen the way I did with Josh. It was because he asked me at some point why I kept asking him if he would like to help, because he didn’t want to help. Silly boy, he doesn’t even remember saying that!
Thank you so much Lynn for taking the time to share with us! And thank you Joshua for being bold enough to put yourself out there and share your story! If you want to read more about Joshua, here’s another great interview with him about his story + tips for helping your older children turn their health around!
I’d love to hear what you’ve done to invest in your kids in the kitchen and if you’re seeing the fruit if they’re older! I’m always so blessed to hear the testimonies of others!