Welcome! I’m Bec
A journalist, a mum, an educator, a formerly fussy kid and now, a foodie.
If you’re looking for less time on your feet in the kitchen and more time enjoying meals with your family, I’m here to help. And if you’re looking for the amazing MamaBake archives, you’re in the right place too.
But who am I to know anything about helping other flawsome families?
First, I’m a mum of three amazing kids (including twins) who, like yours, did not love every food I served them. I’m also the wife of a type-1 diabetic whose claim to ‘eat anything’ doesn’t hold up in the face of green salads or pasta more than once a week.
I’m a journo who knows how to interpret complex research papers and alarming news articles and share what they really mean behind the science-y jargon, the marketing spin and the clickbait headlines. That story you read about how your kid would sleep if you could get them to eat fish twice a week? Total crap – drop me a message and I’ll tell you why.
I’m also a communication specialist in school and early childhood education. I’ve been hanging out with some of Australia’s best child development brains for more than 20 years, and I’ve written extensively about adult interactions with children and child wellbeing as a result.
I am a far from perfect mother and I long ago gave up any hope of ‘winning’ in this game. The concept of good-enough parenting is as close as I get to a rulebook. But with all my faults, and all my husband’s faults, and all the children’s quirks (they’ll only become faults when they’ve got their own kids to point them out) we can still sit at a table, most of the time, and share a meal without screens or screams.
It’s not what I learned to do as a kid because my parents, brothers and I only ate together at a table once a year, at Christmas. It was always awful because, in hindsight, we had no idea how to put up with each other and eat a meal together in peace.
Yet when I stayed at friends’ houses, and I knew their families were no more perfect than my own, they seemed to be able to function together when sharing a meal. As a child, this seemed to me like a kind of magic. Even the food I didn’t like was easier to deal with when I was listening to and being included in very ordinary conversations around a table.
Once I had my own children, I knew what kinds of meals I wanted them to remember.
I began searching for information on how to sit down and have an argument-free family meal. At the time there wasn’t a lot of instruction on the topic, so I took what I could and cobbled it together with my own experience to create something that even a busy, exhausted, overwhelmed, highly anxious, overly-responsible woman like me could understand.
I tackled problems running from ‘what’s for dinner’ to food waste, to fussiness and whose turn to clean up. The approach needed to be fair, flexible, and, most of all, easy for anyone from toddler to adult to follow.
And it worked.
It still works even though the fussy toddlers I once fed are now young adults. To paraphrase an old saying about talking to children: if you learn to eat with your kids when they’re little, they’ll know how to eat with you when they’re big.
We’re not perfect – we never will be! There are still cranky nights and couch nights, and I deliberately plan a takeaway night every week. But more often than not, and even on busy weeknights after busy weekdays, we can get reasonably healthy food to the table and eat and talk together.
So that was fine just for me and mine, but it all took a new turn when a friend challenged me to write down what I knew in a book for the next round of mums and dads who are just as tired and busy and even more overwhelmed with conflicting information.
That book became the Flawsome Family Mealbook, containing a five-step plan for happier and calmer family mealtimes and some dangerous ideas about how YOU can enjoy your own damn dinner!
- Plan – advice, activities, stories and thought-provoking reasons for meal planning in your own style (and shopping lists, too!)
- Prepare – a life-changing way to read a recipe, as well as how to get kids in the kitchen safely and happily, and a go-to list of kitchen essentials
- Serve – covers the three main ways we can serve meals and the scientific reasons to choose ‘family style’
- Enjoy – how and why you should stop talking about food if you want kids to eat, 10 great dinner games that cut down fights, a simple guide to conversation, and why it’s at least as important to feed children’s brains and hearts as it is their bellies
- Clean – why are you still doing all the cooking and all the cleaning? Maybe you’re happy that way…but if you’re not, this chapter gives you the tools you need to change things and include the future adults your children will become.
There’s also recipes! This includes meals from real family kitchens as well as quick ‘fakeaways’ like butter chicken, and a focus on cooking methods – like Soup Chemistry and Hurry Curry – because recipes need ingredients but methods make meals!