When my kids were little we went to the zoo one day when the primates were being fed and they had been given big trays of cut-up fruit. It looked good; I guess we were hungry.
When we got home I made a "monkey platter" for the kids, and it has been called that ever since.
One thing they get that the monkeys didn't get is toothpicks. It was especially fun for them when they were younger to eat with dangerous little sticks. Now it's just tradition, and keeps the fruit stickiness off their fingers.
pineapple, in chunks (stick the toothpicks in half of those)
little cubes of cheese
slices of apple
maybe (depends what the kids like) chunks of ham or turkey or some kind of meat
and depending what you have, maybe
cherries (maraschino or pitted or halves; no pits)
Even with the kids being teens, I often deliver a monkey platter where they're watching a DVD with friends, or have been playing a game for a while, or working on a project.
Renee Cabatic tweeted: Vampire monkey platter calls for beets, cherries, strawberries, kidney beans and tomatoes!
We cube into bite size pieces, cheese. Let it sit out on the counter for about 15 minutes, then place a pretzel stick in the center (instead of a toothpick). Kids love it, and you don't have to worry about anyone (the littles anyhow) getting hurt with toothpicks.
I told him I read it on your blog & he wanted to know how old your kids were :) When I explained they were grown up, he refused to believe me. "There's no way Monkey Platters have been on Earth that long" he says. :)
Thanks for the fun idea...we will definitely make more. I loved the pics on the Monkey Platter page too!
HappyCampers (Williams), March 2009
Image by Tammy
The glorious part of a monkey platter should be that it was just created lovingly for that child at that moment (or for a group at that moment), not that mom cut some stuff up yesterday and left it in the fridge. It should be fresh, suprising, arranged artistically, delivered with affection.
Image by picesgrrrl
Kelly Lovejoy wrote:
Fix green eggs and ham for breakfast rather than pour a quick bowl of Sugar Bombs. Slice apples and serve with peanut better or sliced cheese for a morning snack. Fix a chicken quesadilla for lunch. Make a monkey platter of sliced meats, cheeses, nuts, cut-up vegies and fruits, crackers, and cookies in the afternoon and leave it out to be nibbled on. Then no amount of cookies just before supper will matter. My guess is that she wouldn't even *want* a cookie before supper!Karen Swanay responded:
When I first joined [UnschoolingBasics] I was worried about my son Liam. He had SUCH a limited diet and refused to try anything new. After much fussing about "good habits" and the like...this was offered to me. I knew it was crap and wouldn't work 😜 but I offered it anyway. I made this huge platter with fruits, veggies, and meats, some sweet stuff I don't remember what it was candy or something, anyway, I plopped it on the table with a bowl of ranch dip and one of peanut butter and honey. I said nothing about it. I grabbed a plate and took what I wanted from it. The boys just watched me. Then they took plates and ate. AND LIAM ATE FRUIT AND VEGGIES! On his own. No tears. No yelling. He just ate it. Because it looked good. Because the platter was visually pleasing and offered 10 choices and about 1000 combo potentials.
Image by Tammy
Special and newer, on my site:There's a scene in the movie 'Ratatouille' where Linguini sets out a little feast for Remy, the rat, with fruit and bread and cheese.... read more and see the rat platter
Logan's Inspiration (very pretty)
Charlie Eats an Apple (photo by his brother)
Kiersten's Monkey Platter (several photos, and a list of suggested foods!)
Monkey-Platter References Elsewhere, some with photos:Help a 'Picky Eater' (or Any Child!) with Monkey Platters (The Attachment Mummy) Monkey Platters by Melissa
Monkey Platter (at Piscesgrrrl's blog)
You might also want to read ideas for protein snacks from Deb Lewis's house (vegetarian, happens to be), or snack ideas from Pam Sorooshian (on Joyce Fetteroll's page).
Most of these images were from a photo contest years back. Some are too sugary-looking for my tastes, and the presence of dip defeats the original purpose for me of it being like what the monkeys had (and of being non-messy), but these represent the natural interpretation and evolution of the idea in real families! And every one of them looks fun, too. 🙂
It's like party food without needing a party. They can be clicked to enlarge: