A mushroom made out of tomato and egg? Vegetable sticks in the shape of animals? A face on a burger with olives for eyes? Before I became a mother, I thought all of this was a bit over the top. However, it’s a well-known fact that kids change a lot in your life.

Getting my son to eat vegetables was not such a big deal. He began eating olives at a young age and with a passion. And he loved asparagus as a small child. Artichokes too. But then, all of a sudden, he began to turn his nose up at a lot of foods.

Risotto being one of them. One of his favourite foods until the age of five. Overnight, he decided “I don’t like that anymore”. Remaining calm is the right thing to do in such cases – but the right thing is not always easy. I didn’t force my son to eat risotto again after that. It was the chef at the Kurhaus Bergün restaurant who managed to change his mind. On the menu was “Zauberrisotto” (magic risotto). And you guessed it, my son tucked in. The dish turned out to be a simple risotto in which was hidden a single pea. If you found the pea, you received an ice cream as a reward. It wasn’t just on holiday that my son suddenly began eating risotto again. It was at home, too.

Even top chef Tanja Grandits sometimes has to rummage around in her box of tricks for her kids’ cooking courses. When my son and I attended a V-ZUG kids’ cooking course run by her several years ago, we came face to face with a giant caterpillar made out of mashed potato. It’s quite easy to recreate with a piping bag.

Since seeing the kids’ enthusiasm for such shenanigans, I’m no longer quite so strict about resorting to my own box of tricks. You’ll find tonnes of inspiration online.

To this day, my son still loves risotto. The ritual with the magic ingredient is still obligatory. And heaven forbid I forget!

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