Kids in the Kitchen
Each week the Food for Thought column includes cooking tips from a local chef.
During school vacation, kids have time on their hands. Use up some of that excess time by delving into a little culinary fun. For me, teaching young people is a real treat; they’re energetic, curious and creative. Of course, I relish the thought that I’m working with the home cooks of the future. I do believe that learning through making and tasting is a terrific way to spend time off from school.
When given the chance, some of my favorite topics to cover with kids include:
There is a world of flavor beyond salt, pepper, cinnamon, and spicy-hot. I encourage my students to test their taste buds on spices from around the world in sweet and savory recipes that will surprise both them and their parents. This is an opportunity to expand their culinary horizons, talk a little geography and learn new food vocabulary.
Introducing kids to the concept of the French crepe is so much fun. I show them how to make the basic batter for these superb French pancakes and use it to prepare variations both savory and sweet. It’s an impressive technique to master, plus they realize that they can make the ‘cakes ahead and focus on creative and tasty fillings. Ooh-la-la.
Condiments: Ketchup, Mustard, Relish
Enough with the bottled stuff. It really is so easy for anyone, any age to learn to make ketchup, mustard and relish from scratch. My students are astonished at how easy it is and how good they taste. Then, and this is what really gets kids excited, they discuss and decide what to serve them on. Again, I stick to “fun foods” and in the process, my young students learn all about red snappers, half-smokes, and scrambled dawgs (hot dogs), as well as sloppers, sliders, and patty melts (hamburgers). And don’t forget the French fries.
Getting kids into the kitchen, and keeping them there, is a lot easier than you might think. Just use your imagination and tap into their natural curiosity and playfulness, and you’ll all have a good time.