And I’ll preface this post with the fact that charcuterie board is really for eaters of all ages. My husband I actually prefer them over standard meals and it also helps us from overeating, keeping our weight in check and our hearts and minds healthy. There are a ton of charcuterie board ideas out there, but I’ll share a few here for my blogging and writing followers.
What the heck is a charcuterie board?
According to Wikipedia:
Charcuterie (/ʃɑːrˌkuːtəˈriː/ or /ʃɑːrˈkuːtəri/; northern French: [ʃaʁkytˈʁi] or southern French: [ʃaʁkytəˈʁi], from chair, ‘meat’, and cuit, ‘cooked’) is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.
Charcuterie is part of the garde manger chef‘s repertoire. Originally intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors derived from the preservation processes.
Today, the charcuterie board evolved greatly from just meats to a plethora of items including vegetables and finger foods of all kinds. Including chicken wings. It has become a free-for-all manner of eating.
I don’t talk about our personal lives much, but this is one thing we’ve added to our lives in the recent years that makes our eating time so much easier. We have 6 kids to feed plus a dog, so mealtime can get horrendous when you have little toddlers who are particular about what they want to eat.
Instead of fighting with the kids on forcing down foods, we’ve done charcuterie boards to secretly add things to their palettes. We’ve been able to create intrigue about vegetables and various kinds of cheeses, delight them with colors and help them try new things. All while ensuring they get all their fruits and vegetable servings and occasional meat and dairy.
Our secret? Charcuterie boards for practically every meal. They’re easy, fun to put together, and there’s no more “please finish your plate” or forcing them into eating things they’re not in the mood for.
Mom Writers, Listen Up. A Charcuterie Board Saves Time.
So if you’re a mom writer, struggling to get your kids to eat broccoli and peas and cooked carrots or whatnot, while trying to get your writing done and everything in the house managed, just stop. I assure you, after having 6 kids of my own, and all boys, that there’s a better way to do this. Charcuterie board ideas are all over Pinterest. And a lot of it boils down to presentation, a variety of foods, and “accessories” to dip foods in or try.
There are days where writing goes so well that dinner or lunch becomes an afterthought. And I always get that mom guilt about it, because my focus wasn’t on my family, but rather, something else. Charcuterie boards have saved tons of time in meal prep and cooking / baking because it’s one thing that can just be tossed on a board and look wonderful to eat. This is the one thing you can’t mess up for dinner.
Joey, our now 6-year-old, absolutely loves a charcuterie board for mealtime. He was born in California, and we always joked that he was our California kid – loves fresh fruit, summery eating, and finger food.
3 Ways a Charcuterie Board Saves Mealtime
- You’ll see how free-range eating improves their willingness to try new things and also portion control. My kids now eat what they want, and often times it’s fruits and vegetables because they get cool dips to dip them in. ‘What’s this, mommy?’ – I love this question so much more than having them have a new food or vegetable on their plate that they’re being ‘forced’ to eat or try.
I always have vegetables they love but have tried to implement new stuff that piques their interest. In doing this, they eat until they’re full, and are willing to try all sorts of things. And they’ll only try the ‘new’ thing once, preventing wastefulness and yelling about finishing their plates.
- They’ll get their nutritional intake naturally without fighting or forcing them to clean their plate, as a plate full of food for a young person can sometimes be overwhelming. Color is key. Kids love lots of colors and recognizing foods they already know they love. And because they get to choose their vegetables, they’re likely to eat more of them and more willingly because of the charcuterie board selection.
- They’ll enjoy mealtime so much better-making your life much less stressful and it reduces prodding, fighting and lack of attention span to eating. Gone are the days of my husband yelling to finish their plates and fighting about eating vegetables and fruits. Gosh, I don’t miss those days. It’s hard enough hearing your own thoughts in your head while listening to 6 kids talking amongst themselves. Don’t make dinnertime difficult.
Joe and I have found that while our food bill remains about the same, that there’s actually less prep time, less energy consumed and a lot less food waste (you know, all the food that you as a parent eat as a result because you don’t like wasting food, putting on additional weight you don’t need and when you’re not in the mood to eat it, it gets thrown out or fed to the dog – all ‘not good things’.)
Charcuterie Board Ideas
Here’s a list of charcuterie boards ideas:
- Carved turkey, ham, roast beef, salami
- Grapes, raisins, yogurt raisins
- Nuts of all kinds
- Cream cheese dips, ranch dips, onion dips, vanilla pudding dips
- Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and peanut-butter-covered celery
- Olives of all kinds
- Cut apples, dried oranges, cherries, and apricots, banana slices (with toothpicks), strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Even adults enjoy charcuterie boards, paired with wine or your favorite adult beverage. Our kids usually get juice boxes or chocolate milk paired with their meals. (We stay away from pop typically altogether). Infused water is something that we’ve tried as well, and the colorful intrigue with cool ice shapes in their glasses has been a welcomed addition to their dining experiences.
What you’ll find as an adult, is that you eat slower and are not mowing down an entire plate of pasta or other saucy foods that are high-calorie. As a result you’ll find that your weight stays in check.
So in our family, this adjustment that we made about a couples years ago when the twins came into our lives, has been a welcomed improvement making our lives less stressful and much more happier. And you deserve happiness, as well, so I encourage you all to try this style of food presentation and free-range eating because of all the benefits our family has experienced.
Charcuterie boards have saved many dinners for us while answering the question ‘what should we make tonight’? Keep it easy. Cut up some things and throw them on a board. You can’t mess it up. Everything will look gorgeous and tasty.
Also published on Medium.