As with most great ideas, this one started with a problem. Cooking for my family is a constant struggle for me right now. I have three small children with very distinct, and particular, tastes. Let’s just say bread, pasta, and fruit are big staples in our house. And the way I have been dealing with this struggle is to talk to my mom friends for advice, or ask Steve to do the cooking.

What I love about this is that my friends are very smart people with loads of collective experience and great ideas. And they each have different methods and recipes they use to feed their families. After each of these conversations, I feel renewed in my goal to find food my family will eat, enjoy, and thrive on.

And that is what inspired my focus on how we feed our families as my documentary project. There is such variety in food and its preparation. Our culture and traditions influence how we eat. Our tastes and lifestyle influence how we eat. Where we live and what we have available influences how we eat.

I started by documenting a dinner at our home last week. Reid mentioned he liked the fish cakes at nursery, so Steve and I took a stab at making them at home.

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We used Jamie Oliver’s recipe with a few tweaks. Did I mention I also tend to be a picky eater ? Yeah, I’m not a huge salmon fan, so we swapped out for Alaskan pollock. I took care of getting the ingredients; Steve was in charge of the actual cooking (which allowed me to take the photos).

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We knew starting out that this recipe was fairly time intensive, but we still under-estimated exactly how long it would take to prepare. We had planned for about an hour, but the cooling of the potatoes before making the mixture actually took much longer, so in the end, it was probably about 2 hours.

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Luckily, we were still able to eat before the boys became too hungry. The boys and I enjoyed some television and playing in the living room while Steve worked away in the kitchen.

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Jack was skeptical at first, but he did try and ended up eating his whole meal. We really played up the potato aspect of the fish cakes, and that seemed to help him have a more willing attitude. Reid, however, decided he wasn’t interested. It turns out that the fish cakes at nursery are small circles and our fish cakes were big circles, making them inedible. We did end up talking him into taking a tasting bite, but it was not the success I was hoping for. Colin ate bits and bites, which we consider a success since he usually gives back anything we put on his plate that he isn’t interested in.

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Steve and I really enjoyed the fish cake meal. And we agreed, we’d make it again. However, next time, we’ll do the prep work during the day so all we need to do before dinner is pan fry the cakes.

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