cooking, food, France, french cuisine, french culture, kids, lifestyle, recipe
Many thanks to guest writer Madoline Hatter for this post!
When it comes to French food you may be surprised that many French dishes are things kids would love to eat. To a non-native, these dishes sound fancy and refined, and some are, but they are also often full of the flavors kids love to eat. From traditional ham and cheese to light and fluffy delicious desserts, these French foods will have your kids saying oh la la to meal time!
Crepes – I will start out with one of my French favorites which is crepes. I have been making crepes for years before I had children and now with my children. Crepes are just lovely, light, thin pancakes that you can fill with fruit or just about anything you can think of. You can eat them any time of the day and you can customize them to suit the preferences of anyone. For some reason when you make crepes people are really impressed, they look so lovely and taste so good that they think they must have taken hours. My children like to eat them filled with sweetened Ricotta cheese, fresh fruit, and a dash of confectioner’s sugar on top. Yum!
Quiche – Many of you may remember all the humor associated with this next food choice and the slogan “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”. This is not true because I know when I make quiche both my spouse and my children love it. Quiche is a wonderful dish that includes eggs, vegetables, cheese, and sometimes meat. This is another dish you can customize to the tastes of your family as well. And if you are a crust lover, as am I, all of this is goodness is baked into a golden, flaky pie crust. My family likes to add ham and Cheddar cheese or spinach and Feta cheese to mix up our quiche.
Fondue – This dish was a big hit in the United States in the 1970s and is making a comeback!However it is very French. Consisting of warm dips, usually melted cheese, and small things to dip in it this dish is very kid friendly and adaptable. Just make sure that you watch them around the hot dipping sauce or open flames. Bread dipped in melted cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even a dessert of melted chocolate dipped fruits are some of the varieties that kids will gobble up.
Baguettes or Croissants – Any type of French bread, or pain, is usually a hit with kids. From soft and flakey to tough and chewy these are all sorts of French breads to suit your child’s palate. My kids love all the varieties and will often sit down with a pat of butter and some bread for a mid-afternoon snack.
Pain au Chocolat – Roughly translated, this fancy sounding food is actually “chocolate bread”. Most often it is chocolate wrapped in a pastry like a croissant. Simple and tasty, this is a common breakfast food for my kids. The actual chocolate portion is very small, so I don’t feel bad serving it to them. Sometimes I use Nutella instead.
Tarte aux Fruits- Translated to read “fruit tart”; tarts are simply small pies, and a fruit tart is a great dessert for kids. My kids love fruits like kiwi and strawberries on top of the creamy centers. It is easy to make these tarts too with store bought crusts, pudding, and fresh fruit.
Croque Monsieur- A grilled ham and cheese sandwich, this dish is one whose name is definitely fancy sounding but your kids will love. It also comes with a variety of additions such as tomatoes, an egg on top and even smoked salmon. The most basic sandwich will probably be your safest bet however.
Steak Frites– While some of us may be familiar with ‘frites’ as French fries, the potato side dish actually originated in Belgium. However the combination of steak and fries is a national dish of France and is very common. Often these fries are baked instead of deep fried, so they are healthier for kids. Children who like steak and potatoes are sure to gobble up this simple dish. Keep in mind that it is often served with mayonnaise instead of ketchup for dipping however!
French Omelet – A simple egg dish unlike the American counterpart, the French omelets do not have a lot of extra ingredients beyond eggs and cheese. Often filled with herbs and tasty cheeses, these simple omelets will be a hit with kids.
Crespéou– Looking for a more flavorful version of the omelet? This dish is comprised of layers of differently flavored omelets stacked on top of each other. One may have tomatoes, the next onion, the next herbs and so on. The layers are stacked and then sliced to reveal the different fillings of each. Fun and a variety of tastes for your child to try out.
Crème Brulee – Translated as “burnt cream”, this is one of my family’s all-time favorite treats. My spouse actually makes this dessert for us on special occasions. Although they can come in many flavors like raspberry, chocolate, and coffee, the traditional flavor is vanilla. Essentially a thick custard with a caramelized top, this is a sweet dish any child will love. Mine love to eat it with fresh raspberries!
Clafoutis – Similar in a way, this dessert is fresh fruit covered with a flan or custard. Usually made with cherries, this dessert is a hit with many children. Simple and yet tasty.
Gâteau au Yaourt– Translated “yogurt cake” this simple cake is very popular in France. Usually vanilla flavored it is easy on young palates and a hit with many children. In fact, many French children learn how to make this cake as a first introduction to baking.
Cassoulet – A simple soup made of meat and beans, this is an easy sell for kids to gobble up. Made from a variety of meats it often changes flavors based on where you get it. However with simple ingredients it still tastes great.
Soupe à l’Oignon – “Onion soup” often known as French Onion Soup, is very common in restaurants everywhere. Usually made of meat stock and onions with bread and cheese on top, this simple soup is a warming dish for the cold winter months or any time of year. Kids who don’t mind onion will love it.
Gougères – Essentially a cheese puff, these tasty treats can be served hot or cold. Sometimes they are even stuffed with meat or vegetables. However most often they are small, round puffs with a tasty cheese flavor kids will love.
Éclair– This traditional French pastry is a hit around the world. A long stick of pastry filled with custard or whipped cream and then iced is sweet and delicious. While I find it too rich to serve to my kids on a regular basis, we sometimes split one for a sweet bite.
Chocolate Mousse – This tasty dessert is light and fluffy. Made of whipped cream or pudding, this sweet treat is one most kids won’t pass up. Often paired with fresh fruit or sweet pastries, my kids gobble it up.
As you can see there are many tasty French foods for kids to enjoy. From breakfast lunch and dinner to snack time and desserts, you are sure to find a hit if you are willing to taste new things. Try some of these foods and see what your child will fall in love with.
This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.
You have great photos here and I love the presentation of the food.
Sixtine et Victoire said:
Oh my…how to make someone longing for something. I MISS French food. And yes it is a bit more refined but like you said, children eat just as well! Have you read French kids eat everything by Karen Le Billon? It is a great book!!
I had never heard of crepeou before though!
One of the many observations I have made after over six years of living in the south of France is that the child’s palate is educated from a very early age. They learn to enjoy a wide variety of foods. Visit a “cantina” (school lunch room) you would be amazed. School menus are published in the newspaper to help families (not just mom) in planning their menus.
Kim Bultman said:
Thank you for your comprehensive, child-friendly guest post, Madoline. All of your suggestions appeal to the kid in me, too! The only thing I’ve yet to try is the layered omelet — marvelous idea. Nice to hear from you again, Madame!
a La Recherche de Jane said:
Coquillettes end Potatoes “purée” are forgotten!
Congratulations for your blog! Evelyne
Meg Strickland said:
It is always so wonderful to read your blog and envision your life in Paris. I have a friend that has moved to Paris, knows no one and I was wondering if you would get in touch with her and help her as she starts this new adventure. Let me know and I will figure out how to get the two of you in touch. I hope all is well and good with you and yours. All my love to you – Meg
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