Kids from the current generation are sure a smart lot. This was evident when I went to visit a friend's place, and was given a sumptuous piece of pie to sink my teeth into. And lo and behold! The pie was not baked by my friend―it was her cute teenage daughter. "Excellent!" is all what I had to say, and I could barely control my excitement over her culinary skills. The secret to this was, of course, the summer classes she had joined to hone her cooking skills.
Cooking with kids can be a fun affair. Today's children are not really the 'clumsy kinds' around the kitchen. They can juggle a whole lot of activities and yet excel in everything they undertake. The savvy kids of today join dance classes, karate classes, excel in swimming, and even paint. Parents ensure their children dabble with a little bit of everything so that they can handle any situations in the future. The children of today are, thus, a smart lot that know exactly what they want and what they love to do.
Although cooking is considered to be an activity for adults, many children begin at an early age. Cooking with kids can be a whole lot of fun in the kitchen. (Although, cleaning up the mess may not be everybody's idea of fun.) There are many culinary classes that are planned particularly during summer vacations. This is the period when kids have plenty of time on hand, and would also have the inclination to learn something new. However, there are a few things one would have to bear in mind while conducting one.
Basic tips to Conduct Culinary Classes
Safety is always of prime importance. Children being children, are bound to be impish, and this is something adults may not always have control over. You must keep kids away from sharp objects or hot stoves. In case the recipe involves the use of sharp objects, you can only demonstrate the same and place them away safely once used. If possible, it is better to use plastic knives or butter knives for the cutting process. They need to know how to hold the knife to avoid hurting their fingers. Include plastic cups and bowls, and avoid the use of glassware.
Kids should be taught to practice safety measures in many other issues related to the kitchen. Teach kids to keep away from a hot oven and make sure they know how to handle pots. They need to be taught how to use the pot handles without spilling things over. This is particularly necessary when these pots contain ingredients that are boiling hot.
Older kids can be shown details about the operation of electrical gadgets used for cooking. Apart from this, remind them to keep an eye on the electrical gadgets and cords. These safety measures are one of the most important steps that must be included in the sessions. Kids should be aware of possible hazards. For example, teach them to avoid using electrical appliances near the sink or a source of water.
The recipes used for culinary classes should be just basic initially. Smoothies, salads, cheese and egg recipes, sandwiches, etc., are a great way to begin their cooking sessions. Teach them the basics of frying, baking, roasting, boiling, etc. This forms the base of all types of recipes. You also need to show some important steps like washing the veggies, mixing batters, spreading butter, kneading dough, serving food, beating eggs, and pouring liquids.
Do not yell in case there is a mess. Think about the first time you began cooking and probably your anger will melt away! Well, you need to make kids feel at ease. Spills are a part of culinary classes, so keep mops within reach.
Arrange for some basic supplies for kids. These should include a chef's hat, aprons, comfortable shoes, and even crockery meant for children. This will only make things motivating for children and develop their interest. Make your cooking class as interesting as possible. Use illustrations, food games, or even videos of different recipes for children. These elements will help break the monotony. Hygiene is of utmost importance. Teach kids to wash their hands whenever required. This is of the most important points that should be covered.
The importance of such classes has increased with time, especially with parents busy pursuing their professional interests. Children can thus learn to be self-reliant and cook homemade food instead of opting for unhealthy ready-to-eat foodstuff.