When it comes to our children there are just some things we are naturally drawn to worry about, and diet is one of those things. It all begins when we make the decision whether to breast or formula feed, and this is just the start. When to wean, how to wean, what to wean with! When all those stages have gone then we start to worry about whether they are eating the right things, and enough of them. I am very much of the opinion that people need encouragement to eat and try new things, as opposed to being forced (read my softly softly approach to fussy eating).
One of the ways to encourage eating is to be involved in the making or preparing of the food. I think it teaches children all sorts of things, and you can talk about where things come from (milk from cows, that pork is the name of one of the meats that come from pigs, etc). Of course there are also mathematical lessons (such as weighing and measuring), the importance of clearing up as you go along – and so on.
Presentation of food is another big factor in whether it will be eaten, so therefore I was delighted for us to be sent a Pop Chef to review. As easy as 1-2-3 Pop Chef is the fast and easy way to create shapes in food. This can be to encourage fussy eaters, make mealtimes more fun, or to make food look more exciting for a party! The Pop Chef is simple to use and easy to clean. Simply attach one of the shaped cutters by clipping it to the end of the Pop Chef, push it into the food (up to 2.5cm thick or thinner) and then squeeze the “bulb” to pop it out.
The Pop Chef comes complete with 6 shapes: a circle, a heart, a flower, a butterfly, a sun and a star; a pack of skewers and an idea’s guide.
You need to make sure that the cutters are locked in place properly and cut straight down onto a flat surface. The handy guide does warn you that not all foods are suitable (such as certain breads and over-ripe fruit). I thought that the Pop Chef was really good, as it help the food stay in place until I was ready to pop it out. This meant I could prepare it on one bit of surface and carry it to another without risking it dropping on the floor, or losing its shape.
I did find that some of the bigger shapes were too big for my fruit, which was a bit disappointing – as even the bigger melon wasn’t flat enough. Also I had to be careful to catch some of the more slippery materials, as when I popped them they went flying across the room. I was impressed with how the Pop Chef shaped fruit looked on the skewers.
The picture above (Pop Chef shaped fruit on sticks in watermelon) is what I prepared for my husband and I’s Valentine’s evening meal and think it went down well. I think it would make a great centre piece at a party. Remember that some fruits (such as apples) need a splash of lemon juice on them to stop them going brown in the air.
One of my favourite tips is how you can cut out a shape in the middle of another shape, to put two foods together. I think the flower and circle looks really effective, and did easily slot together.
The Pop Chef went down well in our house over the half term holiday – for both cooking and eating. I made biscuits together with my sons and it was a great opportunity to use some of the bigger cutters. Even my youngest was able to use the Pop Chef as it is that easy to use.
This was such a hit that we then tried the Pop Chef with puff pastry and made stars.
We then covered them in cheese to make them into cheesy star puffs – they did not last long at all.
The Pop Chef can be used creatively with so many different foods – next we are going to use ready rolled icing to decorate the tops of cakes. Then we may try to make the Pop Chef Garden Bouquet idea for Mother’s Day.
How about you – what would you make with yours?
I received a free Pop Chef for purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own.