Literacy activities related to food don't need to be as big a project as a Family Cookbook. You might just encourage your son to list his favourite foods, or see if your daughter would like to create a small personal cookbook of her favourite recipes. Another writing activity is to describe your least favourite food, or what foods a pet monster might eat. When kids are small, if you have time, write out some simple recipes using words and pictures or diagrams, and have them help you cook.
A note in the lunchbox is a nice way to involve your child in a bite-sized bit of reading. It might be a joke to tickle his funny bone, or a reminder that he has soccer practice after school. Perhaps your kids might like to take on some responsibility for the shopping list - or if that's a bit radical, for part of the list? (Why not go all MeanMum, and make them responsible for the vegetables!)
One fun activity that involves kids in making choices and creative thinking is to design a box, a wrapper or an advertisement for something yummy. Find a box template, discuss how advertising works and decorate your box in an enticing way. To follow up, if your children seem interested in advertising, you might introduce them to Admongo, an online game where they will learn about how ads work.
You could research and read about solar cookers, and either build one or invent your own.
Kaboose has some great ideas about cooking with kids (no, kids aren't the main ingredient!) including videos about making food fun.
Here's a mad lib called Let's Bake Together, and one called Dinner Shopping.
Just for fun, here's a point and click toy I found at Amanita Design where kids can explore a pantry.
Food Fun activities at the University of Illinois Extension.(Thanks Susan!)
I found some videos online that have a food theme. Here's a fun one I just loved where some people in a food court in LA start improvising a musical in front of unsuspecting patrons and here's a video revealing the secrets of a food makeup artist that might spark some discussion in your family.
Another great idea is to link books and food by having a book-themed party. PBS has book-themed parties with invitations etc. Or you could create your own. For instance, kids love pirate parties. You could read pirate books like The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate or The Castaway Pirates, play games like walk the plank and pin the parrot on the pirate, follow a treasure map to find chocolate coins, and of course eat pirate themed food.
I know your kids will have plenty of ideas for party food, but challenge them to think of a book tie-in, and you'll know you've sneaked a little bit of literacy, and a whole lot of fun into their lives.
(Cartoon made by Book Chook at ToonDoo)