When Amy Estes-Sumler teaches A Class for Kids for ages 10 to 13 at Kitchen Tools & Skills in Perrysburg on July 30, there are three things she will do as she teaches the kids to cook.
Safety in the kitchen and personal hygiene is always foremost. Keeping hands washed is a must, she says. I ve taught children as young as 6. It s not unusual for them to put their hands in their mouth.
Second, she advises teachers and parents, Don t worry so much about the finished product. It may not be a masterpiece in adult eyes, but will be a masterpiece in a child s eyes. Cooking is supposed to be fun and an adventure.
Third, this is a class with recipes, but you can be creative and come up with other versions, she says. For example, if you don t have an ingredient, I ask kids What would you use instead? If the recipe calls for blueberries and you have none, you could use peaches. If you have no ketchup, you could use salsa. Or if you have no onions and you need crunch, you could try carrots or celery.
It s good advice for parents, grandparents, and caregivers during the carefree days of summer, when cooking projects are a great pastime for and with children.
Start with basic, simple recipes that children can do. It s amazing at what an early age children are learning to read. By first grade they can often read basic words in recipes. But remember that older children can do so much more using cooking utensils, knives, and even stove-top cooking. Even at age 10 through 12, they need supervision, especially with the stove and oven and electric appliances.
Kids watch cooking shows on TV, says Ms. Estes-Sumler who is the mother of two sons, 12 and 15. They are interested in cooking. They are becoming more food savvy. In her last class, she showed children fresh basil and asked if any one knew what it was. One little girl did know it was fresh basil.
At the other end of experience, some kids have never seen a mango. Many kids don t know where food comes from, says Ms. Estes-Sumler. So much food comes in a box today.
Teaching children to cook helps them learn about food, nutrition, math skills, reading, science, and even social studies. Best of all they learn to follow directions.
Start with recipes that have short steps so that a child s interest doesn t wane.
A good example is Sand Dollars cookies from the Mermaid Cookbook by Barbara Beery (Gibbs Smith, $14.95). The cookies use 1 tube refrigerator sugar cookie dough. Once sliced they are lightly brushed with slightly beaten egg white and decorated with almond slivers and cinnamon sugar mixture. When baked, they are reminiscent of the flat seashell.
Another recipe Triton s Tuna Fish Sandwiches uses cookie cutters to cut the bread into the shapes of fish or starfish. If you have madeleine pans, you can make Seashell Candy.
The Pork Checkoff and Ohio Pork Producers Council has a brochure and website www.pork4kids.com/food.aspx for recipes suitable for kids to cook. Recipes are organized according to age groups: Ages 6 to 8; ages 9 to 11, and ages 12 to 15. Ham Pizza Snacks are among the recipes suggested for the youngest group; Ham Loaf is suggested for the middle group, and Cheesy Ham and Macaroni for the older kids.
The Pork4Kids brochure with recipes is available at the Ohio Pork Producers Council home page http:///www.ohiopork.org where you can request free brochures until mid-August. Scroll down to the Features section to see the recipe booklet and then hit the link and e-mail your address to receive the free brochure.
Home-cooked food trumps drive-through believes Rachel Ray, whose latest cookbook Yum-O!
The Family Cookbook (Potter, $22.50) is designed for kids and their families to make eating healthier, easier, more affordable, and fun. Picky eaters - grown-ups or little kids - are a lot less picky when they take part in the making of a meal, she writes.
There are plenty of breakfast recipes including Apple Flapjacks, Breakfast Sandwiches, and a Bottom-of-the-Box Breakfast Sundae made with berries, vanilla yogurt and cereal.
(Note that this is the absolutely best time of the year to make a Breakfast Sundae because blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are in season. Alternate with fresh sliced peaches from now until September.)
Ms. Ray s recipe for Lady Bug Pizzas for lunch or dinner look like a winner made with English muffins, a slice of tomato from your garden, shredded mozzarella, and chopped black pitted olives. Other recipes include Sukiyaki Stir-Fry and two takes on Tuna Casserole.
Don t forget the classic sandwiches, foods, and snacks that kids love and which they can help make: bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich; grilled cheese sandwich; pancakes, and your own freezer pops.
Flap Jack s Peanut Stacks are pancakes spread with peanut butter/honey mixed topped with banana slices and another pancake.
Make your own fruit pops using pureed fruit. Some fruits such as grapes that have been juiced or pureed may need to be strained as in Frosty Fresh Grape Pops, but other fruits such as strawberries and peeled peaches can just be pureed and poured into frozen pop molds. If you don t have the molds, use a 5-ounce paper cup. Cover each top with foil and poke a wooden stick through the center of the foil for a handle.
You can also make frozen pops with smoothies or other ice cream mixtures.
Don t for get to make lemonade, s mores (see column on page 1), and fruit salads. Have fun!
Spaces are still available for A Class for Kids 10 to 13 at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 30 at Kitchen Tools & Skills. The breakfast/brunch menu will include Stuffed French Toast with fresh strawberry topping. Cost is $35. Call 419-872-9090.
Contact Kathie Smith at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6155.