Sheet Pan Suppers: Easy Meals for Au Pairs to Cook

by cv harquail on April 17, 2015

Sheet Pan Suppers for Au Pair to CookMom, this chicken’s a winner.” ~ DD1
You should email the cookbook author and thank her for that recipe.” ~ AuPairDad
Yay! You’re making the Spicy Peanut one again!” ~ DD2

These are all real quotes, prompted by a gift that Host Mom Page E. sent me– a cookbook called Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert.

This is the first time I’ve received a cookbook to consider on AuPairMom. I was excited to try it out to see whether these were recipes to recommend to you.

What tempted me was the comparison to the crock pot. ‘A one pot meal that’s roasted and crispy‘.

What sold me was discovering that every recipe Page had flagged with a post-it made my mouth water.

I’ve tried two of the Sheet Pan Suppers so far– Chicken & Broccoli in Sriracha Peanut Sauce, and Chicken & Cauliflower in a Mediterranean marinade.

I judge a cookbook on two criteria–
(1) is there more than one recipe that I’ll ever make? and
(2) Do things turn out well if you substitute, adjust, or not really pay attention?

Sheet Pan Suppers is a winner on both counts.  I’ve substituted different veggies and cuts of chicken so that I could use what I’d already purchased. And I measured and timed things in my own absent-minded way, and it all came out delicious anyway.   

See the photo, of last night’s adventure with Chicken & Cauliflower. Notice the empty space on the lower right, where a piece of chicken was removed and eaten before I could get my iphone to take the picture.Sheet Pan Suppers

Page writes:

Sheet Pan Suppers turned out to be a total lifesaver for me, with an au pair who didn’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen. The book offers “one pot cooking” without the soupiness of a crockpot – instead, every meal is made on a trusty sheet pan (so you can get roasted flavors, crispy edges, yum….).

These recipes are a working mom’s dream: I use it all the time with my au pair because it allows me to have a little control over a good meal prepared well, but gives her a lot of the cooking credit!

I can assemble the meal on the sheet pan in the morning and pop it in the fridge; she pulls it out in the evening and puts it in the oven – and then she serves a dinner that the kids love. It’s also a healthy meal that I feel happy to have my kids eating. One-pan clean-up is a snap. Everyone wins.

(cv’s note: if you line the sheet pan with foil, all you need to do is fold the foil up, throw it away, and viola– cleanup is done!) 

I want my au pair to get praise for making a dinner everyone likes – to help build her confidence in the kitchen and especially to keep her looking great in my kids’ eyes. But I like to have a little (um, maybe a lot) over what everyone’s eating so it’s not mac and cheese all the time.

She and my kids especially like the chicken/broccoli/peanut sauce and the Stromboli (which they like for the dipping-in-marinara part, and I like as a late-in-the-week meal because even on Friday all the ingredients are still in good shape from a Saturday morning grocery shop without requiring freezing – and remembering to defrost! – during the week.)

Also for what it’s worth – my most recent au pair and I have different views of what “a serving” of broccoli was (hers is more of a garnish, mine a big pile of green on the plate – honestly don’t know if that’s cultural, or just different families/different habits, or if she secretly hates vegetables).

These recipes took the guesswork out of vegetable portions for both of us – I put what I considered “enough” on the sheet pan, and then was assured there’d be enough to feed hungry kids happy with no complaints.

(But I will also say, these recipes are so good that they usually ALL get eaten. Apologies for anyone who comes home later looking for leftovers.)

I was planning to offer up my copy as a prize to a random reader who shares a funny au pair cooking comment between now and Monday night…. but I smeared the pages with Scriracha so that wasn’t going to work.  Page has offered to send a clean, fresh copy directly to the winner— so folks, start commenting!

Also, you can check out the book and even buy it at Amazon.  This isn’t an affiliate link– I’m happy to test out and recommend things that you host parents and au pairs have worked on and/or believe in.

Also, I want to make it easier to for you to enjoy the Sriracha Peanut Chicken & Broccoli.  Which I am cooking for the third time tonight.  I’ll eventually get to the other recipes, but the family has asked for this one… again.

 (I’ll draw a random number between 1 and however many comments we get by Monday at 9, and then that commenter will get a copy of Sheet Pan Suppers.)


Boys Mama April 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Not waiting for that chance to win this book from you, heading to Amazon NOW

NJmama April 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Lol I just bought this. THANK YOU!!

Taking a Computer Lunch April 17, 2015 at 11:12 pm

I don’t have any great any AP cooking stories. AP #3 grew up with a cook in her home and had other APs from her country come and cook her favorite foods (great parties in our home, I might add). AP #4’s parents came and stayed and it was a lot of fun watching her cook with her parents (they were divorced, so they came separately). AP #5 was a fantastic cook – and she probably would have happily fed us every night, except we’re a little more adventurous – and didn’t want to eat one cuisine every night. AP #7 taught child #2 how to make a typical dish from her country, which he has tried to teach to AP #11 – really funny!

We’re a foody family, and we don’t expect the AP to cook for us. The best APs have made special foods for The Camel – and we’ve adopted some of their recipes. The reality remains that child #2 has been a far more adventurous eater than most of our APs.

My favorite moments, nevertheless, have been when APs engage #2 in baking or cooking. It is very sweet to watch an adult teach a child tricks of the trade.

Long Island Host Mom April 18, 2015 at 3:04 am

All my Au Pairs need to be able to cook…most of the time – they come here not knowing how to do it. I have some different recipes for them to try. Mostly Crockpot. I have a disability in my legs now and I cannot cook myself. I end up being their Sous Chef. I loved to cook and I guess I am creative. I scan Pinterest and Google for good recipes for them to make. It has been an interesting time – often the food is too salty or not enough or too spicy. Try cooking when you are a vegetarian and you are cooking meat and cannot taste it. My DD has been a real guinea pig. I have had 2 of these AP’s !! My current AP’s big disaster we still talk about was making Sloppy Joes. How difficult could that be when you are using a can sauce ??? Obviously, very difficult. We got a lean cut of beef and she sauteed it to death… I came home from work and she and my daughter told me the sloppy joe was CRUNCHY ! I did not believe them until I took a bite and I had to spit it out. She cooked the meat so long it actually was crunchy and it was the worst thing I ever tasted !! No more Sloppy Joes !! My last AP came here with a good attitude but lacked experience in the kitchen. Her parents came to stay with us for a week midway thru her year and were really impressed with her confidence in the kitchen…they credit me for being so supportive and really teaching her a new skill. She went home and cooks for them and now in University she has even cooked for friends in her apartment. Baking is another story. Mushy Muffins and other things came out terrible, We stick to a box mix for these !

American Host Mom in Europe April 18, 2015 at 5:59 am

Ohhh, that cookbook sounds great! All of my APs do regular cooking, usually 4 nights a week for dinner for her, me and the kids…but many come here not knowing much about cooking (although I usually screen for some experience). Some of my funny experiences… 1) vegetarian APs (who I no longer hire) serving my kids sausages or meatballs that are still frozen on the inside; 2) APs poorly judging quantities and making half as much food as we need with three hungry pre-schoolers; 3) and lovely food with no taste because AP hasn’t much experience with seasoning. To be fair, most of my APs have done really well, and enjoy taking new recipes home to their families. My European APs especially have enjoyed learning the delights of banana bread! One of my funniest stories is the AP who was making frosting, but instead of putting in powdered sugar, used regular sugar… oops. The consistency was all wrong, and she didn’t know what to do, and we had a good laugh. So we made chocolate balls with the cocoa/sugar/butter mix (by adding oatmeal), and started over on the frosting. Yum!

I love the cookbook idea because I find most APs will use a cookbook, or follow a recipe if I provide one…but my repertoire of what I make isn’t terribly broad, so this is a good way to get inspiration.

TexasHM April 18, 2015 at 8:40 am

We’ve never had an AP cook regularly. First made a dessert from her country every once in awhile, second tried to make a dish from home and then cried and left it on the counter to be tossed when it wasn’t as expected. Third was French and didn’t cook much but baked the most amazing treats (and made out of this world crepes).

I’m curious, now that in August all of our kids will be in school, should we have the AP make some simple suppers during the week? I’ve got a couple HM friends whose APs regularly cook and grocery shop and they love it but I also know some people think that’s not entirely child related (even though AP and kids are 4 of the 6 people in our household) and maybe not in the spirit of the program.

I would never make an AP cook if she didn’t want to but if she’s amenable and obviously we pay for everything, it’s during her normal working hours and we provide simple recipes would the agencies be ok with that? And if so, how often? So much gray area!

UKAu Pair April 18, 2015 at 10:20 am

This cookbook sounds great! I’ll have to see if there’s an English equivalent anywhere.

I love cooking. My brothers and I each cook at least once a week for the family when we’re home, and when I au paired in France I cooked lunch for the children every day, and supper about 50% of the time as well. They weren’t always very keen on English food, but homemade naan bread with lentil curry was extremely popular!

I only cooked once for my Italian family, although I would have loved to cook more often. Culturally English food was just too different for them- they were used to big three- or four-course meals of traditional Tuscan food and the idea of something like Kedgeree they found disgusting! The things I cook are so different to what they’re used to that they’d have had to have gone out and spent lots of money on things they never use (I gave them a jar of local mustard once and they had no idea what to do with it), and I didn’t feel comfortable asking them to do that. Instead, I learnt how to make delicious Italian bread, puddings, cakes, ice cream and pasta. Win-win! I’m hoping that they’ll come and stay at some point so I can introduce them to the delights of fish and chips.

IamAuPairMama April 18, 2015 at 10:56 am

Our last Au pair didn’t cook but with the next one I’m going to train her until she can handle a few simple recipes without my help, this book would be perfect!

JuJu April 18, 2015 at 10:58 am

The cookbook looks amazing and I would love to try the recipes. One of our Aupaira was a fantastic cook and she loved the custom cookbook we made for her with family recipes as one of her parting gifts. Some of our Aupairs have challenges in the kitchen. Burnt pasta :)

AuPair Paris April 18, 2015 at 11:15 am

I really cannot cook! However I cook for the kids every night, and for lunch on Wednesday. This book sounds like a lifesaver! The kids are getting better at eating up my experiments though, in any case! For ages it was really difficult, because I couldn’t tell when the kids were being awkward and icky as compared to when it was really awful! (Obviously, I ate it too, but I *wanted* it to be good, so I couldn’t trust my judgement.)

I think the worse kitchen catastrophe is when I tried baking a Victoria sponge – basic yellow cake, and probably the easiest cake to make *ever*. I couldn’t figure out all the measurement translations, but I found a miracle cup in the kitchen! I had no idea how it could translate my English weight measurements into various little white ruler lines, but I decided to trust it. Unfortunately I did not notice that it had *different* little white lines for liquids, and flour, and sugar… In it all went, measured under the “flour” scale… And then I couldn’t figure out at all why it tasted like I’d dumped in half a bag of sugar, and the mixture was so sticky. SO I added extra water, and another egg. I added salt. I kept at it until it was double it’s usual size, but it tasted and looked right! And then I baked it for ages.

Reader, it was delicious. Huge, yes. But just how I remembered it tasting with my granny baking it when I was a little kid. I ate a huge slice and served it to the kids for snacktime.
My polite middle child took a bite and said that it was “delicious… But could I just have a teeny piece please. Smaller. Smaller.” The eldest said it was the most BORING cake she’d every tasted… And the littlie just pulled a face and said “grandpa says English people can’t cook”. I let them go back to their processed foil wrapped snack food.

(I didn’t give up though! I keep trying new things on them!)

DarthaStewart April 18, 2015 at 8:06 pm

LOL! I once had an au-pair who tried to boil spaghetti, and failed. Turned it into a disaster, boiling all of the water off, and boiling the spaghetti to the bottom of the pan. UGH!

Schnitzelpizza April 21, 2015 at 6:21 am

My mom was your au pair? :D

I remember my mom hard boiling eggs once. Did you know that egg whites will turn liquid again if you just boil the eggs for about an hour, until all the water has boiled off and the shell starts burning? Things you learn when your mother is a really, really bad cook.

Taking a Computer Lunch April 21, 2015 at 7:06 am

AP #7 taught child #2 how to make Schnitzel, which worked very well in our house, because she was followed by a vegetarian AP whose idea of cooking was to put a frozen pizza in the oven. To this day, child #2 has made Schnitzel more than most of our German APs.

I’m proof that anyone can learn to cook. When DH and I first started living together, the joke was that when it was my turn to cook, it was either pasta, his leftovers, or we went out. Now, I cook 4-5 nights a week and he makes a “men’s meat night” dinner (to which the AP is usually included) when I’m out late. I started out following cookbooks rigorously, but then learned, over time, to substitute and add ingredients. I still make dinners suitable only for dogs, but my cookbooks are heavily annotated with what to add, change, what size pot to use, and which members of the family – including 15 years of APs like which dish.

Peachtree Mom April 19, 2015 at 9:16 am

I always screen for cooking ability with the hopes that they will cook maybe twice per week and I cook twice per week and leftovers in between. All have said they cook….not one could upon arrival. Not a deal breaker, Even though I screen for it, I do not expect it and do not really care anymore. Our first aupair from China who was with us for two years started off terrible but after two years, she was fabulous. We told her when she returned to China she should open a bakery/coffee shop and make a fortune…she was that good. The other two mastered mac/cheese and boiling hot dogs and frozen pot pies, if I did not have something prepared. Fine with me, I guess I will not win Mother of the Year. For Texas HM, I think cooking is perfectly acceptable a few nights a week. The meals could be simple and put together/cooked after the kids are home from school and she is watching them anyway. Sometimes I leave a short list of needed groceries on the counter with money and they will do an hours worth of shopping. It is put into their hours and all really enjoyed it. Our last aupair wanted to take on the shopping and asked several times but it was too difficult to explain which brands I liked and she tended to buy all the store brands which are sometimes good, sometimes not. I appreciated the effort. This cook book sounds great…something I can put together the night before and they pop into the oven after my daughter gets off the bus. I am starting to wonder if anyone in the next generation really cooks, whether from The States or abroad. I can’t make a potpie near as well as Marie Callender. I saw one post that mentioned low cost family chefs….I started looking around for one of those or the Schwan guy. Bottom line, I ordered the cookbook also. :)

UKAu Pair April 19, 2015 at 11:13 am

I don’t know about in America, but most people over here in Europe can cook. Au pairs are generally too young though- most of them still live at home and if their parents haven’t taught them to cook they might not have a clue. The other thing is that cultural differences make cooking tricky. I hate cooking abroad; I don’t know which ingredients I’ll be able to find, and more often than not I’m working with weird measurements (UK uses grammes- US uses ounces or cups). I also tend to cook from recipe books, not because I can’t cook without them but because I can never think of ideas.

I think older au pairs are your best bet, if you’re specifically looking for people who can cook.

NNTexasHM April 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

I cook, my child cooks (or at least helps), our Au Pairs have all cooked. My family is not from this country and my in laws likewise have strong international influences and we all consider cooking a vital part of raising the family. Our Au Pairs have all expressed appreciation that part of the job is cooking as I provide simple recipes 5 ingredients or less – my belief is that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious and what they gain is the knowledge to cook delicious healthy meals with high quality ingredients. They are also in control of their “food destiny” which works well, particularly for one Au Pair who lost 20 lbs which she had gained with 2 previous families who ate purely pre-packaged foods. I screen for open mindedness in food and a desire to eat healthy and I think it has been one of the most positive aspects of my time with Au Pairs.

I find a lot of great recipes on Pinterest, Cooking Light, and there are great cooking shows – Rachel Ray, the barefoot contessa, the Today show, and streams videos that do awesome “how to” videos so the bonus is they get to work on their language while they learn cooking, measurement, food choices.

That said, you can never have too many simple recipes (I have 300 and am always looking for more) so I will be ordering this book!

Anna April 19, 2015 at 11:47 am

I love cooking and cookbooks, thank you for offering a chance to win!
Here is my funny au pair cooking comment – our au pair, when she was new, confused sriracha sauce with salad dressing!

WarmStateMomma April 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

We had an AP put 3 different salad dressings on her salad because it was a new concept to her. She never did like salad after that.

Mimi April 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

We don’t look for cooks, but we love those that can bake (I loathe it) or are willing to learn. One of my sisters is a professional chef who specializes in baking so there are lots of opportunities for our APs to have lessons (impromptu or actual) with her. We always tell the APs to bring favorite recipes and we know how to convert them. We also help them take recipes home, too. Christmas time we mail home cookies that they’ve made.

We’ve had a few kitchen disasters involving fire and scorch marks (potholders and countertops) along with some nearly inedible cakes. Since HD is a terrible cook, the kids will eat just about anything, especially if it trumps his disasters (like inedible boxed mac & cheese). We have had a few amusing incidents where the APs are eating something exotic for them (usually seafood). My dad once nearly convinced one AP we had to walk the lobsters before eating them to tenderize the meat.

NoVA Twin Mom April 19, 2015 at 7:22 pm

We’ve had good luck with au pairs that can cook well, and this year’s au pair is determined to learn if they have crock pots in Sweden, because she loves ours so much. If I thought one purchased here would work well there, I’d give her one as a going home present, but I think one purchased there would probably work better. I’m willing to try that book though!

American Host Mom in Europe April 22, 2015 at 4:44 am

You can easily by a slow cooker in Sweden. Crock Pot branded ones are quite expensive, but tell your Swedish au pair to check or similar, and you can get them quite inexpensively.

Emerald City HM April 19, 2015 at 10:57 pm

I barely cook for our family and I really don’t expect au pairs to. Our first did make dinner a few of the times I was at class and I’ve trued to repeat the enchilada recipe and I just can’t get boiling the chicken right (mine rates like boiled chicken and hers didn’t).

I’m pretty good with either roasting or pan frying, but I did order the cookbook ainc I’m frequently looking for new ideas anyway.

ThankGoodnessIGotAnAuPair April 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

This isn’t a cooking comment – but too good to not post… At the beginning of our year with our Au Pair – she & I were talking about how much work it was (3 kids including young twins) and her response was “Well maybe you should get 2 Au Pairs?” And I’m thinking – you’ve got to be kidding – I’m a stay at home Mom! Now when I mention it she thinks it’s funny too :-)

American Host Mom in Europe April 22, 2015 at 4:49 am

I was a stay-at-home mom with three small children (oldest was 16 months when the twins were born) and DID get two au pairs. For almost two years, until all three had started daycare. My husband was away Monday – Friday, and I needed help about 13 hours a day, from 7am to 8pm, and couldn’t ask one person to cover that. So when they were smalll, my APs worked 7-3, and the other worked 12-8, and it was fantastic. When the kids were a bit older, we shortened the daily shifts, and alternated days, so one worked Sun-Thur and one worked Tues-Sat, and that was awesome too.

And then there was ALWAYS someone to cook!

old au pair mom April 24, 2015 at 9:25 pm

+1 We had 2 APs for several years. 2 were friends before they started, the first came and then suggested we hire her friend, it was a wonderful experience. They complemented each other wonderfully and were so kind to all of us.

DCMomof3 April 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm

I had a nanny and an au pair when my husband was deployed and I had a 22 month old and a newborn and went back to work. I really did not want to be living alone with 2 babies in the house and wanted the help/companionship in the evenings and over the weekends. My AP agreed to work evenings and a 10 hour day on Saturdays and it was awesome. We just were a team with the babies. When you need the help, you need the help, even if it may sound ridiculous or spoiled or whatever to the outside world.

SwissAuPair April 20, 2015 at 2:34 am

I bought the book right now and can’t wait to try the recipes! The price is surprisingly low for a cookbook. Just in case that here are any readers from Germany / Switzerland: I found it at the “Thalia” online store!
It looks like I can also find some “Low-Carb” like recipes or at least can easily turn them into low-carb. So good to have recipes that I can prepare on sunday evening and eat leftovers until wednesday.

Tristatemom April 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

Ha, cooking stories – love it. Our first AP could not boil rice for the life of her as they had a rice cooker at home. She burnt rice into my pot for what I thought was forever but then thrifty AP3 came along and googled a solution to get two-year old black residue off. She was a good cook but had a hard time judging portions. I guess in her family of 6 they cooked 20 portions at a time and she could not winnow it down to our family size (I like leftovers but not for an entire week).
One AP wanted to make oatmeal raisin cookies but forgot to add oatmeal – the cookies ran off the sheet :)

NoVA Twin Mom April 20, 2015 at 10:09 am

We have the opposite experience – our au pairs come to use able to boil rice in a pot but unfamiliar with our rice cooker! They quickly become converts. We have (and love) the one button, easiest to use version though, and have NO desire to upgrade.

WarmStateMomma April 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

The flip side to Chinese APs having weak driving skills is that they know how to cook! Not Western food of course, but all three of our Chinese APs can make a great meal out of an almost empty kitchen. We’ve learned to keep non-perishables like sauces, spices, noodles and (frozen) meat well stocked so that she can still make a meal when we just a have a few fresh vegetables and need to get to the grocery store. Our APs also make homemade dumplings (a different filling each time and it’s hard to ever replicate a particularly great one) and freeze them for a quick lunch on days when time is short.

All 3 APs have said they couldn’t cook and all have put together amazing food when let loose in the kitchen to make whatever she was craving from home. But Western food is pretty much always a fail since they don’t understand the mechanics of the different cooking styles or how it *should* taste. They are amused by (and sometimes even scoff at) the precision in Western recipes (measuring quantity, temperature, cooking time, etc.) because they aren’t familiar with the chemistry of baking, need to cook large pieces of meat to a safe temperature, etc.

But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree….

Seattle Mom April 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

My favorite AP cooking story: AP2 cooked a lot of Thai food (she is from Thailand). Once she tried boxed mac & cheese.. and she put the cheese pack in while the noodles were still cooking in the boiling water… OOPSIE! then she fixed it by turning it into a sort of cheesy tom yum soup, adding some of the ingredients from her shelf in the kitchen. It still wasn’t that good.

One of my other APs loved to cook (yay!) but was a lousy cook (boo!). She did not know how to cook without a ton of cream- everything had to have lots of cream in it. My kids actually liked her food, so I guess it wasn’t a complete disaster. And she was good at pancakes.

First AP didn’t know how to boil an egg, but she could cook mac & cheese ok.

Current AP appears to be a good cook from what she prepares for herself but she seems shy about cooking for the kids… I need to get her cracking. Now that we need her to feed dinner to the kids 2x per week, I really don’t want them eating that much frozen pizza (though they don’t mind). Maybe this cook book will help?

meanwhile in canada April 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm

our ap is an excellent cook & was so excited about baking when she got here. she was so eager to share her favourite recipes with us, but had a couple of less-than-delicious results, including “the great birthday cake debacle of 2014,” which we have dutifully eaten, but which she found excruciatingly disappointing. after a few of these “failures” she didn’t bake at all for a while but has started again recently, to my delight. :) she just had to get her confidence back.

Schnitzelpizza April 21, 2015 at 6:17 am

My host grandpa (host mom’s dad) taught me how to cook (thanks Don)… and I still have the scars to prove it :D What not to do? Stick your thumb into hot oil. I am still a much better baker than a cook but DH looks quite content with what I manage to get on the table each night.

Our main problem was that both my host mom and I were really lousy cooks back then (I can still quote her to this day “I tend to burn water. How about you?”), we bought our 10 year old a cookbook. I am sure his wife now appreciates it.

Host Mom X April 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

We haven’t had much luck with getting APs who can cook, but I can’t blame them – I can barely cook myself! It was only a year or so ago that I could finally stop googling “how to hard boil an egg” before attempting it, confident enough that I’d do it right. My mom shoo-ed us all out of the kitchen growing up, so I get it if the APs have only lived at home and have moms who do all the cooking and don’t want company while doing it!

Our Japanese AP was the only one with some cooking skills, and we enjoyed the Japanese “home cooking” she’d make from time to time. Not too often; usually just when she got a craving for something her grandma used to make, like a nice hearty miso soup (which comes in a variety of delicious flavors, ingredients, etc. – not just the watery stuff you get with your bento box here!). We kept the pantry and fridge well-stocked with the typical ingredients she’d need from the Japanese grocery store, and loved it when she used them! She also had an amazing food ethic of non-waste. She’d make these “cleaning out the fridge quiches” where she’d throw whatever random variety of veggies, etc. we had left in the fridge into some sort of a pie or quiche – and they were usually pretty good! But none of our APs – including this one – ever did ALL that much cooking. We usually end their shifts before dinner time, don’t have regular nightly whole-family meals, and if they were on shift to prepare kids’ dinner, the cooking was never too complicated.

Seattle Mom April 22, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Our Japanese au pair seems to still be figuring out how to use all the food she buys before it goes to waste. I’m glad to hear that it’s not a cultural thing! I do need to have a conversation with her about that.

And I was also shooed out of the kitchen by my mom, so I didn’t really learn how to cook much until I had my own kids. I did learn how to hard boil eggs when I was in high school though, that was one thing my mom taught me how to do. And spaghetti :). Luckily my husband is a good cook- he worked as a line cook in a restaurant when he was in high school, and he was responsible for preparing all of his own food by the time he was 14, due to unhappy family circumstances.

rootcanal April 26, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Thanks for recommending this cookbook. I will order it too.
Also, just wanted to say that I really appreciate this website. Excellent resource for both host family and aupair. Wishing everyone happy a Sunday!

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