Slice, toss, dress, purée — dinner, with hardly any actual cooking.
On a hot summer evening, who has the energy, after the harrowing heatstroke of shopping for it, to actually make any food? Even if the children's teeth are strangely loose and you catch yourself looking up "scurvy" on Wikipedia? Here's an idea for a cool meal that even the weariest parent can prepare easily, and even the most swelteringly unhungry child will nibble gladly. Because life (and summer) is short. What did Groucho Marx once say? "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
There used to be a restaurant called A Bottle of Bread, on the river not too far from our house, that served the kids the sweetest little wooden boards of bread and cheese and meats — and nothing has ever seemed so elegant to them, or so enticing on a warm evening, since.
Consider offering your children such a thing: a little breadboard or a nice tray with a piece or two of buttered bread, a few cubes of favorite cheese, a rolled-up slice of ham or salami, a few cucumber slices, and a handful of berries. It's a lovely way to eat, and you can serve whatever appeals: a quartered hard-boiled egg, a splotch of hummus, a leftover hot dog sliced up neatly, breadsticks, cubes of melon, olives ... just make sure it's pretty and cool.
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 15-25 minutes