Food, Family and Fun!

Food, Family and Fun!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Now in its 7th year, the Hands-on Cook-off contest was born from research that shows that when families cook and eat together, kids gain many valuable benefits-including better grades in school, better physical and mental health, and better overall social adaptability. Of course, family dinner-time can also be a great time to reconnect and enjoy each others company.

To find out more, we asked one of the judges, Jennifer Pallian from, a couple of questions and to share a favourite recipe.

BCP: Why do you feel family meals are so important?

JP: Family meals are so important for so many reasons. For adults and children alike, it’s an opportunity to step out of the rat race and bond over the immense pleasure of a warm meal – something so basic, so human. Sharing family meals has benefits to kids ranging from higher GPAs and better vocabularies to decreased depression, lower risk of obesity and eating disorders, even reduced incidence of teen substance abuse and pregnancy. It’s a beautiful daily ritual that obviously nourishes so much more than just the body.

BCP: How do you recommend working parents involve their children in family meals more?

JP: Kids can get involved all the way from the planning, to the shopping (and/or growing!) and the cooking itself. Even toddlers delight in offering an opinion about what meal should be on the menu this week or what vegetable should go in the cart. Delegating age-appropriate food preparation tasks builds their confidence and skills, and also makes them more inclined to actually eat the end result. It also keeps them busy during a time when they might be “hangry” and whiney – sometimes when I’m working at the stove I give my three-year-old a nonsense job, like stirring carrot peels with water, just to involve him and keep him occupied.

BCP: Which recipe did you choose for us?

JP:This butter chicken recipe is a family favourite, and every kid I know who’s tried it loves it – people often don’t give little ones enough credit for what they’ll like. 

butter chicken

BCP: Thank you Jennifer, I can’t wait to try the butter chicken – it’s one of my families favourite dishes too!

If you want to get in on the action and get your family cooking and eating together, why not enter the contest showing off how it’s done. Details are below!

Enter the Contest:

From April 20th until noon of May 20th any BC resident can enter the Hands-on Cook-off Contest. Simply grab a friend or relative and create a home video cooking show three minutes long or less. Videos must include two or more people preparing a recipe together… and having fun! Full contest details, including sample videos and where to upload, can be found on the contest site:


Several cash prizes of $1000 and $500 will be awarded in different categories to individuals and schools. Total prizes up for grabs are valued at over $4000. Full prizing details can be found here:

Enter the Hands-on Cook-off:




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