Attention parents: Freddie Prinze Jr. really wants you to go back into your kitchen. Right now. It’s as much about making good food for your family as it is about sneaking in some great parenting time with your kids.
“I grew up with a mother who was amazing in the kitchen, and a ton of the life lessons that I learned were in front of a stove,” Prinze said in a phone interview with me.
The actor and author of the cookbook Back to the Kitchen has two children with his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar: a seven-year-old old daughter and a four-year-old son. Prinze is carrying on his mom’s kitchen traditions with his kids, and discovering that this is a natural way to find out what’s going on in their lives.
“When they’re distracted and cracking eggs and focused, they don’t know you’re trying to milk them for information,” he laughed. “That’s one of my tricks to get them to talk.”
Prinze is passionate about getting the whole family involved in the kitchen, including planning the meals, preparing them, cooking them, and even cleaning up. He partnered with Palmolive to share his personal philosophy of making messy recipes – and memories – in the kitchen without worrying about clean-up, which he calls making “Messipes.”
“I wrote a cookbook basically to help people who don’t cook to be able to make good healthy food with their family,” he explained. “When Palmolive approached me, I wanted to save people time, so we sort of combined our two philosophies. You shouldn’t be afraid to get messy when you’re cooking.”
That’s what makes the idea of Messipes such a good fit for his family, said Prinze. It’s an acknowledgement that messes will happen, but they shouldn’t scare us away from inviting kids into the kitchen and spending that time together as a family.
But can he get his kids to help with cleaning as well as the cooking?
“With my son, it’s easy. It’s a squirt bottle I put Palmolive dish soap and water in. If he sees a stain, he squirts it and I wipe it.”
It’s a different story when it comes to his daughter, not only with clean up but with trying new foods as well.
“Clean-up is easy with my daughter because she is caring and creative. I ask her to do it, and she does it.”
I asked how he is able to make that happen, as many parents struggle with getting their kids to help.
“My daughter is an angel because we’re strict. Ask my daughter how many times she has to taste something before she has to stop. Ten times. How many times after that? Ten more. There is no negotiation,” Prinze explained.
As the author of a book called Shut Up & Eat, I appreciate this philosophy more than I’m letting on. But Prinze feels for parents dealing with picky eaters.
“I wish good luck for those struggling. I see that look on my kids’ faces but patience is power. Kids can’t have it, but we can have it. We can win that battle. It’s just really, really hard.”
This article was sponsored by Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap.