When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.
One of the main things we learned from our interview with David is that healthy eating habits for your kids stem from the way we, the parents, behave and interact with them when it comes to food. "I think that some parents also don't want to put up a fight and don't want to argue with their kids so they'll just make a second meal," David says. "You know, there's no option in our house, there's no second meal. What we're eating for dinner they're eating for dinner."
"My kids will eat anything you'll put in front of them. And I think that there's a lot of parents that just give their kids jarred baby food, and there's no salt, there's no flavor, and of course they're learning to eat bland so no wonder they just want to eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. I think that the more we try to expose our kids [to flavors] the better eaters they will be."
For those who struggle in the kitchen, David suggests to start with cooking chicken. "A roast chicken is one of the easiest things you can possibly do," he says. "All you do is you pat it, you put salt and pepper on it, you put it in the oven, 425 for an hour. That's it.
"You can have it that evening and then you can have chicken for the whole week. And there's so many things you can [make from it], like soup or chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas or a chicken salad – which is putting it on a regular green salad. It has endless possibilities. Even with a roast, you can cut half of it and put it in the freezer, I mean, proteins freeze really well, you can put them in the freezer for two weeks and then repurpose it in another way. That's what I'm always doing."
Other quotes from the interview:
David cooks, Neil does the dishes
"Neil doesn't do sue chef with me I'm usually doing it by myself but he's great at cleaning up. It's a given that if I'm gonna cook, he's going to do the dishes."
Still in touch with the surrogate
"Because of the situation that we're in and being in the limelight we just wanted to keep it as secret as possible, like I don't want photographers coming to her house or into her world, so we try to keep it as private as possible. I keep in touch with her more than Neil, I just heard from her she was taking a test, she went back to school and was taking a whole course on human sexuality, and one of the questions had to do with Neil and I so she took a picture of it. It was really interesting."
The toughest year of parenting
"The hardest age was I think zero to one. With twins, literally, I don't even remember. It's a haze. The lack of sleep is just beyond. You can't function as a human being. I think that only around three I started to go 'okay… I think I start to become a normal person again.' And it puts such strains on your relationship, after five, six, seven – seven is when Neil and I started connecting again, which is a really big deal."
"We were together for a while before the kids came so you have this bond and then the kids come and it shakes it all up, it's a snow globe. And it really puts how you guys see each other as parents, and your relationship change, you change as people and your relationship change and you have to just be open to change and know that things take a different turn and I think this is when a lot of people get into trouble with marriages, I think they realize, 'oh he's not the person he was 10 years ago.' Well, of course he's not, and you have to be open to that and accept that, and realize that there's an unknown out there."