Cooking With Kids

daughter making cookiesCooking with children is about more than food. It’s also about spending quality time together and making good memories. It can teach kids confidence and independence, and even some math.

I recommend starting with cookies. Two of my younger sisters still talk about how much they enjoyed making cookies with me when they were kids. (They are 8 and 10 years younger than me.) Two years ago my older son said, “Mom, I remember baking cookies with you every Christmas. Will you continue the tradition with my son?” His son was 6 months old at the time, but he was still able to press down on the cookie cutter to make cookies. Last year he was able to help stir the batter. This year, he’ll be able to do even more. When I asked my younger son if he remembers baking cookies as a child he said, “Sure. I think that was the beginning of my enjoyment of cooking.” He now cooks for himself and loves to invite friends to his home for meals. The older son also cooks and often has dinner ready when his wife comes home after picking up the children at daycare. Continue reading

Get Cookin’ With Kid’s Cookbooks

Revolting Recipes book cover picture

Did you ever want to try a food you read about in a story? Wouldn’t it be fun to try something the Boxcar Children ate? Or something Laura ate in the Little House books? How about Green Eggs and Ham or Stone Soup? The library has books with recipes to tell you how to make these literary dishes and more.

Check out one of these fun books and get cooking today!

Get Appy: Toca Kitchen

In my household, my husband does all of the cooking, which is awesome. Even better is the fact that he includes my son in the meal-making to teach him the art of cooking. Aware of the kiddo’s budding culinary talents, my in-laws let me know about a simple app called Toca Kitchen (available in the Apple App Store for $1.99). This easy-to-learn game lets you cook things using a variety of techniques, and then try to feed that food to a person or an animal of your choosing. Like a good mom, I read the reviews. While some users wish you could cook more than one ingredient at a time, kids seem to like the simplicity and enjoy learning about chopping, boiling and sautéing, as well as how the different eaters react to different foods. (The eater might gobble up the fish you just microwaved or stick out his tongue in disgust.) Toca Kitchen is a fun way for kids to explore cooking, and it’s a big hit at my house.

If you want some low-tech tools for kids in the kitchen, the library has some great cookbooks available. Try “Mom and Me Cookbook” (or, as it should be called in my house, “Dad and Me Cookbook”) by Annabel Karmel. You’ll find recipes that are fun, simple and unlikely to be rejected by picky eaters. Happy cooking!

Kids in the Kitchen

Kids' BakingWhen I get home from work I’m charged with getting dinner on the table while simultaneously trying to referee living room fights and fulfill numerous requests for everything from apple slices and cheese crackers (because they are starving! Right now!) to diaper changes. It’s hair-on-fire parenting at its finest. I recently discovered that if I get the kids in the kitchen and give them jobs, we end up actually having something like fun. Bonus: they are more likely to eat things that are good for them if they had a hand in creating the dishes in the first place.

More leisurely baking projects on the weekend can also be enjoyable family time. Scooping and leveling flour, pouring ingredients into a bowl and of course licking the beaters are things nearly any young child can accomplish. Here are some books for inspiration. Continue reading