There's a motto in the Fitz household in Burnt Hills and it has to do with one thing that's come to define and shape the family cooking. Some recipes are thumbs up, some are thumbs down, but you never know until you try" is the rule of thumb in Jodi Fitz's kitchen, and she applies it to every breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack dish she tries.
"I got that motto because it encourages kids to try more. My kids and their friends are constantly in my kitchen so they would automatically give me thumbs up or down on recipes," said Fitz, who also writes the cooking column for Capital District Parent Pages.
That motto was the inspiration behind her new cookbook, "Thumbs Up to Kids Cooking," a compilation of Fitz-tested and kid-approved quick recipes, sprinkled with "did you know?" facts and black and white cartoons for kids to color. The cookbook is due out in May.
"This particular cookbook is meant to be about fun cooking. There are a lot of benefits to cooking with kids. Obviously they're learning a life skill, but in today's busy lifestyle it's an opportunity to steal a few moments and have connecting time," said Fitz, who has three kids age 7, 12 and 17.
Fitz said spending time in the kitchen became a way of life for the family and preserved a certain connectivity, especially as her two oldest sons got older and were drawn to sports. Her kitchen is notorious for experimentation, said Fitz, and sometimes that overflowed beyond the house.
"I would always laugh because when my boys were younger and had babysitters, I'd never quite know how I'd find the kitchen because they'd always experiment," said Fitz. "My oldest son babysat for a short time and the mother would laugh too because they'd makes concoctions in the kitchen, she loved it. I've certainly given them a little license to play in the kitchen, and I think it's a great thing, on most days."