Cooking with Kids: Cooking Show Style

May 30th, 2008 by katie

Cooking with Kids: Cooking Show Style

Cooking with children can make you crazy.  Trust me, I feel your pain, I know.  Powders tend to fly, liquids drip and spill, and anything sweet seems to disappear…  For those of you like me-a little anal, a little caught up in the details, ok a LOT anal-it can be especially nerve-wracking.  In fact there are a lot of times, I am truly embarrassed and a little ashamed to say, I do not let my children help.  I order them from the kitchen, lovely memories and learning experiences be damned.  I am still an only child at heart and sometimes I just don’t want to clean up the kitchen twice or see my lovely pie with finger holes in it. 

However, I do realize than whenever I can let them help, I should.  They absolutely love it.  They learn to be patient and follow directions.  They learn some basic math and cause and effect.  They learn about germs and proper hygiene and kitchen safety.  It exposes them to new foods and teaches them about nutrition.  It really is important and I try very hard to have the patience to let them help.

With that in mind, there are a few tricks I have figured out, one of them is Cooking Show Style cooking.  Basically, you pre-measure and pre-chop everything.  You do have to invest in lots of different sized measuring cups and spoons, and plastic bowls, but it makes it so much easier.  Turn on the Food Network and watch a few shows.  Few actually show the chefs chopping and measuring.  In most, you will see the chef standing at his or her equipment with many little bowls.  As they talk they show you the contents of a bowl-add 2 cups of sugar, see?-and in it goes and on to the next one.  This makes it very easy for the kids to help without making a huge mess or totally ruining a recipe by not properly measuring or even attempting to measure, the ingredients.  They also won’t be standing around the kitchen while you are rummaging for a bag of flour or chopping up an onion.  Children helping in the kitchen need to stay busy or shenanigans will ensue. 

One disadvantage to Cooking Show Style cooking is that you are doing all of the actual work.  You will have to gauge when it is appropriate to start having them measure and chop and follow a recipe. 

*Update: Apparently real cooks call this mise en place.  Andy at The New Cook has a nice explanation and discussion.  This was a popular topic today, dare I say great minds think alike? Maybe it is an accountant thing…

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Posted in Cooking with Kids, Tips and Tricks

2 Responses

  1. Andy

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for the link! I just found your blog today but it looks great. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks Andy! -Katie

  2. Shelley

    I cook with four kids everyday. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Excellent Idea.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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