I Spy Parent Interview: Aimee Wimbush-Bourque, Food Writer and Editor
I read about Aimée Wimbush-Bourque in the Gazette’s Cause for Applause column, which highlights fundraising and volunteer efforts.
This local mother of two, who writes an active food blog and works as editor of simplebites.net, was part of a fundraiser that contributed more than $47,000 to relief efforts in Haiti. Just a few days after the earthquake hit, a number of food bloggers/writers got busy rounding up recipes for the Blog Aid cookbook, and more than 1,000 copies of the book were sold. Bravo!
Aimée is here to tell us more about herself, share some family-friendly recipes, mealtime survival strategies, as well as what she likes to do on weekends with the kids.
I Spy: Hi Aimée, tell us more about yourself.
Aimée: Hello Montreal! I’ve called you home for the last 10 years, but when I fly back to the Rockies, I call that home, too, because I grew up in beautiful British Columbia. I fell in love with an engineering student at McGill and moved here to pursue him. We eventually married and now have two children, Noah, age 4.5, and Mateo, age 2. I left the professional culinary world when I was pregnant with Noah and now work part-time from home as a food writer. I am editor of the newly launched simplebites.net, which dishes up real food for the family table, and also blog my personal kitchen adventures at www.underthehighchair.com.
I Spy: Since you’re a cook, I have to ask for a family-friendly recipe. Something that tired parents can whip up after work, and that has a fighting chance of getting the kids to sit at the table for at least 3 minutes.
Aimée: I’ll cross my fingers for you, but this recipe was a turning point for my boys in terms of eating fish. I threw it together one night and, bingo, they professed love, much to my shock. I only wish it were always that easy.
I Spy: I was happy to read this interview on your blog, where you talk about dinner as one of the most stressful times of day with young children. You say you try not to take the “easy way out” by serving a healthy meal for you and your husband, and then unhealthy favourites to the kids. What’s your strategy for getting kids to eat that one meal for everyone?
Aimée: For my toddler, I’ll still fix something I know he’ll eat. He’s still to young to understand threats, but for my four-year-old, I’m much firmer. It’s “Eat up, or no dessert,” and this child has a sweet tooth just like his mama, so he hustles.
There are a few foods that actually make him gag (like sweet potato and turnip) and I don’t put him (or myself) through that drama. He’ll eat these sweet potato pancakes, though. We take our pancakes pretty seriously around here.
I Spy: Do you have any tips for getting children to try new foods?
Aimée: I introduced both of my children to a very wide range of foods as soon as it was safe to do so. Of course preferences were formed, which I took into consideration when menu planning, however I occasionally (once a month) bring back those food items that were previously shunned, and offer them again. More often than not, they are rejected, but occasionally they are accepted.
Next month on Simple Bites, our theme is Nutrition & Kids, and the picky eater issue is addressed, with plenty of tips on how to cope – and even thrive.
I Spy: Lastly, can you share a favourite weekend activity?
Aimée: In the summer and fall, you can often find us on a farm. Whether it’s apple-picking, cheese-tasting, or pumpkin-hopping, we prefer to be out in nature and teaching our children where food comes from. Although the boys are usually more interested in the tractor ride and sandboxes than the varieties of Quebec apples, we’ve enjoyed Verger de la Savane for its family-friendly picnic area and proximity to Montreal.
A close second to the country outing is Jean Talon Market, where we get paczki from Wawel and cruise the aisles checking out produce. In winter, we escape the cold with a season’s pass to the Biodome, spending most of our time sitting cross-legged on the floor by the penguin tank.
I Spy: Thanks so much for the tips, Aimée! Bon appétit, everyone.