The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Kitchen Tour
Take a tour of Melissa d'Arabian's family kitchen in her home outside San Diego.
Welcome to My Kitchen
Given my job and how big our family is, our kitchen is pretty small. So we've used every trick in the book to make it feel roomier: We painted it white (it used to be dark wood), we added a door with windows to let in some light and put cheery knobs on the cupboards.
Our Dining Room
Family dinners are a priority for us. Two goals that are key to The Picky Eaters Project include the entire family sitting down at the table for our meals and having a clear start and end time to our dinners.
As for my small kitchen appliances, dishes and utensils, we have three storage spots in addition to our kitchen. Daily dishes are on shelves in the dining area (pictured), small appliances are in the laundry room (my husband built shelves in there) and the rest are in our garage. Lots of walking when I cook!
Featured here are some of my favorite cookbooks, including Bobby Flay's Grill It. Bobby signed it and put all four girls' names in there with a total smile on his face. He's a treasure and that book reminds me of that first time I met him — long before Food Network Star.
Special for Dad
The girls bought Philippe the fishbowl for his birthday last year, and then for Father's Day, they followed up with the little platters. So they are near and dear to us. We use them often to serve dinner, especially the fishbowl (we use it for veggies, which keeps it fun).
Mornings can be a little crazy, so Philippe and I added barstools to the kitchen counter. This way, we can be in the kitchen preparing for the day and the girls are at the counter close to us.
This is a treasured gift given to me by my mom's best friend, Jerri (I moved in with her when my mom died 24 years ago, and she has played a bit of a mom-type role in my life). I think it's super cool — it's a real book that was transformed into a clock.
I set the table earlier in the day; that way I make sure dinner starts on time. It avoids having crabby and hungry kids.
My Menu-Planning Strategy
Set right in our dining room, this calendar allows my kids to be a part of the menu-planning process. They wind up encouraging each other to try new foods. On my night, I like to introduce a new dish.
Bon Appetit, Everyone
This blackboard translates to "Bon app (short for bon appetit), my little chickens and my little shrimp." These are terms of endearment in French — it's Philippe writing to the girls.