"Bringing up Bébé" by Pamela Druckerman is a great book about French parenting. This American author describes her experience raising children in Paris and the observations on the French way of parenting. I found the information on how French kids are raised to be adventurous eaters particularly fascinating.
In one chapter Druckerman decribes a scene of a three year-old French child calmly making cupcakes with her mother on the weekend. Apparently, the practice of baking on the weekend is quite common in France, and many lessons are imbedded in this ritual. Besides the obvious cooking skills from baking, children also learn patience. In France most children only have ONE snack per day, called le goûter, which is served in the afternoon. Baggies full of fish cracker, cheerios, and fruit snacks at the park are rarely if ever seen. When children bake a treat in the morning, they then wait until their afternoon snack to enjoy it.
In Druckerman’s book she has a recipe for a basic Yogurt Cake that is often made by French children when they learn to bake. Yogurt is the main ingredient, and the 6 oz. containers are then used as measuring devices for the remaining ingredients. Kids can decide how sweet they would like it, and what add-ins to use. I gave my kids the task of designing and making their own yogurt cake and they rose to the occasion. Deciding to use the mangos and strawberries we had on hand, the kids were excited to get to bake without my interference. My five year-old happily cut up strawberries with his special “dog knife” and the nine year-old spun around collecting and measuring ingredients. After the cake was done I added a little drizzle of glaze, and hours later we enjoyed their confection! This cake is our version of the one introduced by Druckerman.
This can be made dairy-free by using a nondairy yogurt and dairy free-milk substitute.