Training Little Sous Chefs is fun

Sabin, DaVIS, HETRICK, ANDEREGG, Macalady, walker, darling and Katers

How can we help our children become foodies with a broad palate? How can we teach them to make their own food by themselves when they are a bit older instead of complaining, “There is nothing to eat around here!”

According to professional cooks and nutritionists, hands-on family cooking lessons in the family kitchen make the difference.

You can teach some easy old favorite recipes or try other resources to make cooking delicious, educational, and practical for busy families.

Cooking helps with math, especially fractions, measuring, doubling, and halving. Reading directions teaches careful reading, questioning, and problem solving. Cooking also teaches perseverance because a lot can go wrong and cooks need brain power and creativity to make it right. While cooking, read out loud and go over directions to check for understanding.

Very young children can get equipment out of the cupboards, do stirring, and learn to use equipment under supervision.

Looking for help

If you want to get a little help and share expense with friends, there are cooking kits for kids. Little Sous Kitchen Academy is a subscription service designed specifically to educate and empower children in their process of learning how to cook.

The subscription service sends children ages 5-12 a box each month, and aims to “change the way kids learn how to cook.” The boxes come with easy-to-follow cooking lessons, collectible recipe cards, activities, posters, stickers, and high-quality kitchen tools that are safe for children to use. Their website has a few archived selections to get started.

Other sites are Foodstirs Baker’s Club and Raddish. They all also include special utensils, nutrition information, general cooking instructions, and recipes for a monthly fee. Check out and Families can take a look at the sample kits on their sites, too.

Families can also use the sites as guides for their own simple cooking classes based on family favorites. Then add a little family culture, ingredient geography with a map, and be ready for fun in the kitchen. Older children can be great teachers.

Watermelon and strawberries

Here is one recipe to try: Watermelon and Strawberry Slush. Ingredients: 9 cups seedless watermelon pieces without rind, 12 ounces of frozen or 1 ½ cups hulled fresh strawberries. Either strawberries or watermelon must be frozen for slush. Place whatever is not frozen in a blender. Add the other fruit. Blend again. If desired add a little fresh lemon or lime juice and/or honey to taste and blend again.Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day. Slushes may be frozen as popsicles. Serve with some family adventure stories. With training, older children can use a blender themselves. Encourage yogurt smoothies, too. For more see and Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.