See the slideshow for tricks that turn tapenade into dinner

Photography Peter Knab

Tapenade (Page 145)

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • Take the olive stones out. Teach kids to do it by first pinching the tips, then squeezing out the stones. This is a great job to teach them.
  • Measure and rinse small salted capers.
  • Feel the slimy anchovy filets for fun.
  • Peel the garlic. Jake and James love banging it to loosen the skin first.
  • Measure olive oil.


My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary

Jake 4 years 10 months, James 2 years 2 months

I’m writing this at the end of writing the chapter. James and Jake are going to sleep having had dippy eggs for dinner. Jess is checking the recipes then passing them to me to correct before I take them to my editors. I feel like tapenade is a dear friend who is about to go away.


I’ve had tapenade in my fridge for as long as I can remember, perhaps as long as I’ve had my own fridge. But over the last three months I’ve discovered new things about its taste and how to use it. A lot of these discoveries have come through the tongue and taste buds of my 4 year old and other kids. 


The reactions of my boys, Casey, George and the two friends we have on Thursdays has not always been positive, but has convinced me that there is no such thing as 'grown up food'. If there was to be such a food group, it would certainly include tapenade. But I'm sure that kids will eat what they become accustomed to. Food is like books, TV, music or sport. Kids will learn to like it because it's what they have been exposed to and seen their role models enjoy.  


It's not going well with James’s meals at the moment. But we’ll keep trying, and I’ll try to calm down at the table so I don't put him under any unhelpful pressure. I’ll keep getting him into the kitchen and I hope that by the time this book comes out when he is nearly 4, he’ll be scooping up the tapenade like his big brother, mum and dad. I also hope I’ll be a bit more relaxed about it if he isn’t.  


Jake and I love a delightful series of books by Virginia Miller (Walker Books). There are two characters; George the big bear and Bartholomew the baby. Each book opens with 'There are days when Bartholomew is naughty and other days when he is very very good.' George asks Ba to go to the potty in one and to eat his dinner in another. Ba says 'nah'. Then 'nah, nah'. Then 'nah, nah NAH'. I won’t give the endings away but there is often a hug. 


I'm George to James’s Ba for a while. I’ll get my hug soon.


'Eat your tapenade James.' 


'Just a little?'

'Nah, nah.'

'With some bread?'

'Nah, nah, NAH.'


Maybe I’ll get this particular hug tomorrow. 

Ho hum.