Cooking Up Some Fun
My little junior chef is getting very skilled in the kitchen, and he especially likes to try new recipes and techniques. He has recently been taking cooking classes in our area. These opportunities have helped him (and me) branch out from the familiar and experiment with new foods and different methods of preparing them. As he’s gained confidence, he has wanted to flip through my cookbooks to find meal ideas he’d like to tackle.
Finding Resources for Kid Cooks
I’ve been scouring shelves for cookbooks geared specifically for kids, to give my son even more experiences in the kitchen in a way that’s age appropriate and fun. Lots of cookbooks are written for adult cooks for either baby and toddler food ideas, cute food arrangements, and healthy kid-pleasing foods, but there aren’t many written specifically to kid cooks themselves.
Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook is a fun resource we’ve discovered recently from Storey Publishing. This cookbook is just right for my son’s mid-elementary age and has healthy recipe ideas that we’ve found to be really tasty and easy to prepare.
My son helps me with meal planning for our family, because he is in the kitchen right beside me most days. Since we homeschool, we usually eat lunch at home, so each week, we plan for lunches and suppers before we shop. The Cooking Class cookbook has recipes that cover all meals, plus snacks and desserts. All of the mix and match and ‘creative cooks’ combo ideas make it easy to use ingredients we already have on hand and to see what we need to add to our grocery list as we plan what my son would like to make.
The first thing we tried are the Italian Panini sandwiches for lunch.
These are hearty and delicious, and the best part–my junior chef is able to make them himself, with just a little help from me with the hot sandwich press. They are a big hit with my teens, so they are permanently in our lunch rotation.
In addition to the recipes, Cooking Class has so many extras that make it a real primer for cooking. It is written to the child and has lots of specific instructions before the recipe section even begins:
- safety rules
- setting up the work station
- keeping things in order in the kitchen
- list planning
- kitchen vocabulary
- using cooking tools
- cleaning up
- table setting
The recipes have a spoon rating system that denotes skill level, so I can see at a glance whether I will need to supervise my son more closely or not, depending on what he decides to make. We love that several recipes feature ingredients from our garden, and there’s even a section for backyard chicken keepers like us. My son especially likes the photographs that illustrate the step-by-step of each recipe.
For even more fun, there are stickers, labels, recipe cards, place cards, and mealtime game cards.
Cooking Class gets an A+ on our list. We’re having such a wonderful time cooking through it together and creating memories, and my junior chef is learning to finesse his skills in the kitchen.