Braces are a fact of life for many tweens, and finding foods that work for sore mouths and that won't pop brackets off is a fact of life for many tween parents. Author Pamela Waterman had braces herself for five years and then saw three daughters through orthodontics. The Braces Cookbook, which she co-authored with her daughter Brenda Waterman, emerged from that experience, as did their company, Metal Mouth Media.
Great tips for keeping foods soft, including ingredients, preparation methods and handling the completed dishes. For example, using cocoa powder instead of melted baking chocolate helps keep the very delicious Fudgy Cocoa Bites from becoming bracket breakers. Keeping apple crisp covered right out of the oven will help keep it "Apple (Not Too) Crisp." The topping stays like streusel.
Recipes are straightforward and feasible. The author clearly understands that a busy parent of a cranky kid with a sore mouth doesn't want to slave over a complicated souffle. The recipes (including the one below) are such that Tweens can certainly join in the cooking. Sometimes a project like fixing a meal can help take their mind off their mouth.
On days when mouths are particularly sore, fear not. The Braces Cookbook clearly identifies foods that work best on "extra-tender teeth days." Be-Nice-To-Me-Beverages are welcome at any time. There's also a section with comfort tips, suggestions for eating out and braces-friendly website resources.
I really appreciated that the book offers substitutes for forbidden foods. My tween really missed corn on the cob and the substitute Three Corn Extravaganza was very tasty.
As Pam Waterman has parented three girls through the tween years, I asked her if she had any advice for those of us currently in the thick of it. She said, "To me the number one tip is to make it possible to have your own house be the gathering place. You get to meet all the friends and overhear all the talk! Being available to listen when she’s in the mood to talk seems so important and helpful, too; that happens in the car a lot."
A portion of profits from the sale of the book is donated to the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation.
Here's a recipe from the book for braces-friendly cookies that taste like a soft shortbread. They mix and bake very quickly and look like jewels when done with a variety of colorful jams.
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
about 1 cup (total) jam of your choice (works better than jelly because it is thicker) -- you can use several different jams to make different flavored cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 9 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine margarine, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla, using an electric mixer and blending until smooth. Mix in flour; dough is soft and somewhat crumbly, almost like modeling dough.
Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Dip a teaspoon into water and use the backside of the tip to make a dent in the center of each cookie; dip spoon each time in water, to keep dough from sticking. Fill each dent with about 1 teaspoon of jam. Bake for 9 minutes at 350 degrees; the cookies will be quite light-colored with just a little brown around the edges. Makes about two dozen. Store in a covered container.
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I received a complimentary copy of The Braces Cookbook to review. All opinions in this post are my own, or from my family who tried out the recipes.
Filed under: Food & Nutrition