La Coqueta’s Celia Muñoz and Food Writer Skye McAlpine show their children how to cook healthily
Absolutely Mama: How did this culinary partnership come about?
Sky McAlpine: Celia is a dear friend and we love doing things together with our children. We thought it would be really fun to spend the day cooking with the children and then all sit down to a meal together.
Celia Muñoz: Skye and I are very close friends. We met through our work and feel that we have so much in common that we always try to find angles that allow us to work together again. We are both mothers of young children and Skye suggested cooking with my children and her little boy, which I thought was a superb idea and so much fun!
AM: Why is it important for children to see what goes into their food and how it’s put together?
SM: I want my son, Aeneas, to learn that food isn’t just nourishment for the body – there is so much more to it. It is nourishment for the soul, it is memories and nostalgia – and cooking and eating together as a family is a huge part of that.
CM: We live in a world where everything – through the eyes of a child, at least – comes out of a supermarket. When I was little, I saw cows being milked, fruits being picked, wine being made… Living in London made it harder to see these things. I want my children to see where food comes from: they get to appreciate the goodness and importance of the ingredients a lot more…
AM: What are some ideal things to bake and cook with children?
SM: I find that hands-on cooking works well – so making pastry, where you knead the ingredients together with your hands and roll it out, or making fresh pasta dough, for example, are great for doing with children. Recipes where the children can get their hands dirty are great – as are very simple recipes where you can hand them the ingredients and let them take the lead.
CM: My children love making tarts: baking, cooking and preparing medjool dates with almond butter. My husband and I love seeing the delight on their little faces when cooking something they like… they stare at the food and can’t help but put a finger in and lick it as if it was the first time they tried it.
AM: Skye, can you tell us a bit about the recipes you have chosen to cook today?
SM: The zucchine and tomato tart is a go-to recipe of mine – it’s the kind of thing that I will toss together for lunch or supper at the last minute. It’s a great thing to make with children, because I find they really enjoy rolling out the pastry and they can let their imaginations run wild when it comes to arranging the slices of tomato and zucchine. As for the ice cream, again it’s a very simple recipe, but it’s also one of Aeneas’ favourite things to eat, so I thought it would be fun for him to try to make it, too.
AM: You are both creative women, albeit in different fields. What do you admire in each other?
SM: I am always in awe of how seamlessly and gracefully Celia balances the demands of a full-time, creative career with being a wonderful hands-on mama to her five children. She makes everything seem possible and is a huge inspiration for me.
CM: There are so many things I like about my friend Skye… I admire her talent and sense of reinvention. I love her character and the fact that she never has a bad word for anybody; she’s always willing to help and listen. She’s just a great friend with many talents: food happens to be just one of them.
AM: How do you make cooking engaging for your children?
SM: I think it’s mostly about what you cook – I always say that I love to cook because I love to eat, and I think it’s no different for children. I find that if the children are excited to eat something, they tend to really enjoy making it too.