Simsbury authors publish family-friendly cookbook
By Scott Allyn
SIMSBURY — For time-crunched families with little meal time together or finicky eaters, help has arrived in the form of a cookbook published in September 2011 by two Simsbury authors.
“Cooking Together: Making Memories and Meals,” by Eric Bleimeister and Michelle Day, includes easy-to-make recipes designed to get children involved with their parents in the kitchen.
“We need to get families back in the kitchen, having fun together,” said Day. “If you delegate something to each child, you get done faster and you learn from your children. You can help them develop a broader range of tastes. I don’t believe in turning a hot dog into a sailboat to entice a child to eat it. Our recipes are made with ingredients you can buy at any grocery store.”
Day, 37, is a retail store manager, and Bleimeister, 47, is an insurance consultant and a professional writer who has finished two novels. Day said she grew up cooking with her parents, an Italian mother and Anglo-Saxon father. When she was 10 years old, her family started a bakery in Simsbury, where she got her first taste of the food business. By 2001 she was living in New York City, where she started her own catering business.
The book she wrote with Bleimeister grew out of an idea for a television cooking show, she said.
“Eric and I realized a few years ago that there was no cooking show strictly for children,” Day said. “So we shot a pilot episode in 2009, but without a restaurant of our own, it was kind of a hard sell. So we turned our energy to writing a book.”
The couple collaborated on a web site about the same time they shot their television pilot, which includes blogs from Day and Bleimeister, videos, recipes, ideas. and blogs from a licensed nutritionist and a friend offering perspectives on raising children.
The writing partners tested recipes on Eric’s 10-year-old daughter.
“She’s taken an active role in doing things with us in the kitchen,” Bleimeister said. “Bringing your kids into the kitchen helps to get them involved in your whole life. You have to cook every night, so it’s a great way to relate to your children.”
More than just a collection of recipes, the book, which is illustrated by Bleimeister, has sections on cookware, growing your own herbs, healthy eating, spices, and how to teach children about good food. “The book has real recipes for real families,” Bleimeister said. “And we teach you how to choose healthy ingredients.”
“Our book also becomes a family keepsake,” Day said. “Each recipe is followed by a page left blank for notes. Toddlers can scribble or color on it, teens can write their own memories, or scrap-bookers can decorate it. The book can become an heirloom.”
Day and Bleimeister also hope to create a cooking school for children.
For more information, visit www.kidsandacook.com, or find Kids And A Cook on Facebook.