Skills: Cooking with kids
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Are you wondering what to do with your kids during the Christmas break?  How about cooking with them in the kitchen? 

 Start by making a few basic kitchen rules. Here are my basic kitchen rules*: 

  • Wash hands before handling food and after handling raw meat, seafood and eggs

  • Wear an apron- one of my biggies- keeps the food off of us and us off of the food

  • Clean up after yourself- this keeps the kitchen safer for others as well

  • Walk with the knife tip or kitchen scissors pointed down

  • Absolutely NO goofing around in the kitchen


What involving the kids in the kitchen helps them with:

  • Math skills- cooking is a real life application of math, maybe as simple as counting the number of eggs needed in a recipe, to more complex fractions if halving or doubling a recipe

  • Working on organizational skills- this is my thing.  Way back when I talked about mise en place (or everything in its place) making sure all of the ingredients are available as well as gathering all of the utensils, pots and bowls needed to make the recipe before starting to cook

  • Following instructions- who doesnít need this skill?  Especially in baking, a recipe wonít turn out if the instructions arenít followed closely

  • Responsibility- involving your kids in the mealtime choices, preparation and cleanup helps them learn about completing a project from beginning to end, gives them a sense of significance and thereís a greater chance that they will eat it.  Encourage them to at least take a bite, reminding them that they helped in the kitchen with the food preparation.


 So, where do you start with your kids?  It depends on how old they are:

  • Start with a peeler- carrots and potatoes are a great start.  Make mashed potatoes and carrot sticks

  • Manual hand mixer- mix cake batters, scramble eggs

  • Manual hand chopper- chop onions, mushrooms, herbs

  • Box grater- grate soft cheeses, like mozzarella

  • Rolling pin- roll out bread, pizza or cookie dough

  • Kitchen scissors- cut softer veggies like peppers and lettuces

  • Paring knife- start with cutting soft items like mushrooms

  • Manual can opener- this takes work for small hands

 Try this recipe with your kids:

Festive Green Beans and Bacon

7 slices bacon, cooked, drained and cut up with kitchen scissors
2 - 9-ounce packages frozen whole green beans, thawed
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper

 Melt the butter over medium low heat and add carrots and garlic.  Cook about 5 minutes, until crisp tender.  Stir green beans and pepper into carrots.  Heat another 3-5 minutes until beans are hot.  Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crumbled bacon.


* Please refer to the October 10, 2005 show for my comprehensive Kitchen Safety Tip Sheet.




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