Cooking with Kids

Bob the Bagel

Bob the Bagel

I have been posting pictures on Facebook all week of some of the foods the kids made in camp this week. I decided to talk a little about what a cooking camp is like. I also want to talk about what the kids have taught me.

The ages ranged from 9-13 this week. There was a mix of boys and girls. In the morning we made what the kids ate for lunch. We tried to do as much from scratch stuff as possible. We made pizza, cooked with tortillas, baked bread and had a day devoted mostly to salads.  There was a wide range of cooking skills in the kids.

 

The lesson I have learned, having done this for a number of years now, is to let them fail sometimes. I used to want the kids to have all perfect dishes to take home to share with their families. For younger kids, I’d fuss over their cakes and do more of the work for them than I probably should. I know better now.

 

I show them how to do something, then step back and let them do it themselves.  I let them be creative, try, and sometimes end up with a lopsided cake or a pizza that’s shape looks like an amoeba. In the end, it all tastes good and the kids did it. I watched, I guided, but I also let them create there own culinary work.

 

I often tell kids, when they get flustered, that brownies were a mistake. Story is that a woman was trying to make a chocolate cake, but couldn’t find her recipe. She threw the ingredients together, baked it, and her cake fell. Turned out she liked what she made. Anyone who enjoys brownies today should thank her.

 

There is also a fearlessness in kids, I think adults forget. When we work with yeast, for example. Kids are told how yeast works. I put some yeast in a container with warm water and a sprinkle of sugar and we watch it get all bubbly. I explain the science behind bread baking. They go in with no expectation that it won’t work. No fear. I love that.

 

So in the end, we all learn something from working in the kitchen and cooking together. We learn the pride in making a meal all by yourself. We also feel the happiness in sharing that meal with family and friends.  But maybe the best part, we learn that mistakes happen. They are not the end of the world. We learn that mistakes in kitchen still taste pretty good, even if they might not look perfect. And sometimes, if you are lucky, your mistakes just might be brownies.

 

Here are some pics from this past week. Enjoy.

 

Kneading dough

Kneading dough

Pizza from scratch

Pizza from scratch

Bagels

Bagels

Pupcakes

Pupcakes

Three bean taco salad

Three bean taco salad

Making ravioli

Making ravioli

Waffles for breakfast

Waffles for breakfast

Making veggie fried rice

Making veggie fried rice

Under the Sea cake

Under the Sea cake