by Caroline

I am a big fan of letting the kids experiment in the kitchen to discover what tastes good to them. Ben, for example, went through a period of snacking on sun-dried tomatoes and graham crackers — a snack I never would have thought to offer the child but kept him happy for countless afternoons. At home, my boys have a pretty well-stocked pantry to explore, with a nice variety of nuts and dried fruit, as well as a good supply of fresh fruit, yogurt, and other snacking ingredients, and it’s always interesting for me to see what they come up with.

When we are traveling, though, our supplies are necessarily more limited. So it was the other afternoon in Lake Tahoe, where we spent some of the boys’ winter break. Eli was snacky and also, after a full morning in a ski lesson, a little tired. He needed something mellow and fun to do as much as he needed something to eat. So, I looked out on the balcony at the quickly-accumulating snow and asked him if he wanted to eat some of that. “Really, Mama? I can eat the snow?” “Sure,” I reminded him; “We can make sugar on snow like we do at Granddad’s, we just don’t have syrup.”

So, I thought about Lisa’s Hawaiian shave ice treats and we improvised with the ingredients at hand.

First, snow sprinkled with cocoa mix:

Surprisingly, not a huge hit.

Then we tried snow with raspberry jam heated into a syrup:

I liked it, but Eli didn’t.

Finally, the winner: snow drizzled with honey!

It’s not, of course, the most power-packed nutritional snack; ultimately the activity was more important here than the appetite. It was fun and easy and the boy was in charge: a winner in my book.