If necessity is the mother of invention, annoyance is its cranky old dad.
Cutting up food for toddlers is one of the least enjoyable parts of the eating experience for me. Using a fork and knife on a plate to tackle grapes, hot dogs, pizza slices, sandwiches…is no fun. And it’s one of the main reasons parents’ food gets cold.
Flat Out Awesome
Enter the flattest and my favorite kitchen utensil, the cutting board. For me there’s something about using a proper knife on a proper board that makes me feel like a pro who’s in control, rather than an overburdened butler working for many tiny masters.
Flat Out Fast: Knife Skills
More importantly it is incredibly fast, especially when using proper knife skills. And if you haven’t mastered those skills, have a look at this great video, and then give yourself lots of opportunities to practice. It will give you a ton of confidence in the kitchen, and would be great to teach your kids when they’re old enough.
A few tips:
- Use a big knife, like a 8″ or 9″ chef’s knife for most things, or a paring knife for small items like grapes.
- Don’t worry about getting a knife and board dirty. I used to think that way but I think speed matters more. Agree?
- Set up a “station” at the table for rapid processing of pancakes and waffles: butter, chop, slide onto plates. Repeat.
- Don’t scrape food off with the cutting edge as that will dull it, use the blunt edge instead.
- Grapes and hotdogs are widely acknowledged as two of the greatest choking hazards. Be sure to cut these up well beyond the toddler years.
Depending on what you’re cutting, kitchen shears can be extremely fast as well. I like these two varieties from Henckel: separating, and intact. You may also like these shears called Tiny Bites, designed specifically for cutting up kids’ food.
Tell me I’m wrong
Am I the only one who gravitates to the cutting board so much? Is a chef’s knife ridiculous and do you try to avoid getting a board dirty…getting by with smaller knives and cutting things up over the sink? How long do you cut up your kids’ food before expecting them to do it themselves?