Cooking with kids?
You mean spaghetti wars, right? Pancake batter wallpaper? Jello races? What do you think I am, a glutton for punishment?
I used to think this way, if I thought of cooking with kids at all. That was back when my son, who is now a teenager, was about three, and his preschool teacher introduced a cooking curriculum for the kids in the classroom. I was fascinated to learn that such young children could be so interested in cooking from the point of view of food itself and of process—and that the motivation for the kids was NOT merely to redecorate the room in the High Tomato Sauce motif.
With forays into homemade applesauce, blueberry pancakes, and pesto from basil that they grew themselves, the children in the class were developing a bona fide passion for food and cooking. When I started coming to the classroom to watch, and later to help teach the cooking, I learned that not only were the little angels totally focused and serious about what they were cooking, they also wanted very much to be as neat as possible and to like what they made. They were thrilled that the results of their efforts were "for real" and beamed with pride every time an adult took a taste of their creations.
In time, the kids began taking the recipes home to cook with their families. The enthusiasm was palpable—and contagious. Parents were as excited about the French toast as the kids were, but I think what they were really excited about was the opportunity to share the effort, and ultimately to create something of use and delight—together. I started cooking at home with my kids, too, and found that all those clichés about the bonding value of shared time at the dinner table were true for the cooking experience as well.
Yet, for a lot of us, it takes more than good intentions to find the courage to really cook with our kids at home. Beyond inspiration, we need instructions and guidelines to ensure that our adventures will be happy, fun, and produc-tive. Here's where Kate Heyhoe steps in with this great book! In Cooking with Kids For Dummies, she is your exuberant, knowledgeable coach (not unlike a personal trainer, only less expensive and possibly even more energetic!). She'll take you by the hand, walk you through all the many particulars you need to get started, and help you keep the cooking experience on a positive track. And thanks for Kate's can-do attitude and good cheer, you'll be jolly and inspired all along the way.
This book does it all: It shows you how to shop with your kids, involve them in planning meals and getting adequate nutrition, set up a kid-friendly kitchen, and find ways to dine together. Even if you've never cooked before, the step-by-step cooking tutorial—designed for you and your kids—will make cooking a breeze. With dozens of recipes that are perfect for young chefs, you can't go wrong. Put yourself into Kate's experienced hands, and you'll become a superparent—in the kitchen with your kids—in no time flat.
I love this book, and believe me, I'm going to use it!
Author of Moosewood Cookbook, the award-winning Pretend Soup, and the children's cookbook, Honest Pretzels.
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