One of my earliest cooking memories is from second grade. We made potato latkes, and it was my first time using a box grater. I was excited to add to the bowl full of shredded potatoes that my classmates had each contributed to — so much so that I went a little too fast, and ended up skinning my hand. Despite this early introduction to cooking injuries, cooking continues to be a passion for me as an adult. Safety standards may have been a little looser in the 1970s, but young children can still have a productive — and safe — role in the kitchen.
With the holiday break coming up, you might need an activity to keep your kids from going stir-crazy, so why not make it one that has so many other benefits? Kids are much more likely to try foods they’ve had a hand in selecting and preparing. Cooking is a means of teaching nutrition, math and science without even trying. It’s also a great confidence builder for a child to be able to prepare a snack or meal that the grownups in the house will also eat. Age-appropriate cooking activities
- Kids of any age can rinse vegetables, stir and pour.
- By the time children are 9 years old, they can also learn to cut (and grate) with adult supervision; and use a toaster oven.
- Older kids can cook any recipe with supervision, so why not give them a rotation in cooking family dinner?
Some holiday recipes you can try with your kids include a healthier latke recipe with homemade applesauce, or the recipe below for a festive fruit crisp, originally from The Doctor’s Spicebox. The fun part about this fruit crisp is that kids can switch up the ingredients to include their favorite fruits, seeds or nuts.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to learn more healthy recipes and cooking techniques, join me at the new monthly Thrive Kitchen cooking classes at Kaiser Permanente Mission Bay Medical Offices in San Francisco, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. Registration is required. Call San Francisco Health Education at 415-833-3450 or email SFhealthed@kp.org to register.