by kim cook
Introducing kids to cooking can be more than fun. It can teach skills and perhaps prepare kids to eat healthier.
Temporary mess in the kitchen, the lifelong payoff.
From toys to the real thing, take a look at some of the latest gear for budding cooks.
The play kitchen was an iconic toy dating back to at least the 1950s, when Sears’ catalog offered an all-steel right-height range, fridge, and working sink for just under $30. The Little Tikes Toy Company began its efficiency kitchens in 1977 with a microwave, range, fridge, and sink, and followed with a 1980s party kitchen, which featured a green umbrella, fold-down peninsula, sink, two Includes burner, cupboard and a wall. – Mounted phone.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, there are tons of vintage play kitchens available for sale online. And Little Ticks is still on the market with the Home-Grown Kitchen, a corner-sized unit in which battery-powered cooking sounds like boiling water and a burning stove.
Should you be in the market for a play kitchen that looks like a big designer, you’ll find many options.
KidKraft’s farm-to-table kitchen kicks off the country-chic trend with lights, running water and sounds of cooking, a farmhouse sink, hooks for cooking tools, and window boxes “planted” with plastic onions and carrots and can be prepared. The Create & Cook kitchen has a vintage vibe, and is equipped with plenty of cooking and storage sections. The Three Food Set lets you make Fake Avocado Toast, Peach Popsicles and Apple Pie.
Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm have collaborated in a midcentury-modern toy kitchen with a two-burner stove, oven, and sink in a poplar frame with white MDF (medium-density fiberboard) cabinetry. Or choose a Chelsea kitchen with Shaker-style cabinets in white, gray, blush pink or black with brass-toned hardware.
For play prep gear, Pottery Barn Kids cream-colored, solid-wood toaster pops out two perfectly done slices of (fake) bread with a flip of the liver. And there’s an Italian cookery bundle with a metal pasta pot, sieve, ladle, serving dishes, and soft faux ravioli and bow-tie pasta.
Melissa & Doug’s slicing, wooden, cookie dough set comes with icing toppers, a tray, spatula, and oven mitt for some sweet pretend baking. Start the play meal off with a delicious salad, perused by their 50-piece set of greens, vegetable, chicken and shrimp, as well as bowls and utensils. Self-stick tabs make for a crunchy sound when cutting vegetables. Time for a drink? A coffee maker comes with three pods, fake cream and sugar, and a menu card so little the barista gets to order the right one.
to be real
Cooking in a real kitchen with kids isn’t just about ingredients, recipes, and preparation, says Food Network star — and Santa Rosa resident — Guy Fieri. “It’s about harnessing the imagination, empowerment and creativity.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says parents should start with basic food safety. Begin by pulling the long hair back; Wash hands, surfaces and equipment; Separate raw and cooked foods. The association outlines the ages at which skills can be offered. The youngest — about 3-5 years old — can wash fruits and vegetables, mix ingredients in a bowl, wipe down counters and cut cookie dough. Older children can gradually be given other utensils, ovens to watch, etc.
A sturdy stool is important for carrying small children up to counter height.
New Jersey mom Katherine Santonasita recommends Guidecraft’s hardwood and plywood stools, which have foldable side panels equipped with non-slip mats and message boards. Her daughter Emilia has been using it since she was 2 years old; She is now 4 years old, and the adjustable stools have become convenient.
A cute apron helps the kids get off to work. The apron from Janice House features whimsical animal prints in fun colors; The cotton apron fastens in the back and has an adjustable neck strap.
Santonacita, and the team at America’s Test Kitchen, give high marks to Opinel’s Le Petit Chef knives, which have built-in finger rings to help kids learn the proper grip, as well as a plastic finger guard.
Marissa Issa of Los Angeles has been eating delicious things with her daughter Samantha since Sam was almost 4 years old. “We started baking banana bread using Julia Child’s recipe, because we always have ripe bananas.”
One of Sam’s favorite 7th birthday gifts, the Klutz Kids Magical Baking Set includes tools, decorations, and recipes to create imaginative treats like mermaid-themed pies, fairy-size cheesecakes, and pretzel wands.
Bactivity’s 31-piece set holds a bunch of dishes, kid-sized tools, and a silicone baking mat printed with helpful measurements.
Pizza making is a great family activity. In the western suburbs of Chicago, Matt and Lindsey Martin and their boys Keegan, 8, and Landon, 5, use an oni pizza oven for a Neopolitan fired pizza. Kids’ favorite part of the process, says Matt, is “watching the pizza transform from the ingredients they put into a final product that they can eat and other people enjoy.”
Raised in an Italian family, Danielle McWilliams made a lot of pizzas as a child; Now she does it with her daughters Reese and Remy. He is also a great baker.
“We make cupcakes and Rice Krispie treats, from scratch cookies for holiday presents and parties,” says McWilliams. They also make Italian tartillas, a cross between breadsticks, bagels, and pretzels.
Parents can consider in-person or online cooking classes for kids. Radish Kids, Tiny Chefs, The Dynamite Shop, America’s Test Kitchen, The Kids Table and Chop Chop Family all offer digital sweet and savory recipes and instructions and/or online classes and videos.
Some have interactive features; Kids can download photos of their prepared dishes and receive achievement badges. Chop Chop also has a print magazine.
Santonacita says introducing your kids to cooking early has yielded some unexpected and rather sophisticated results.
“Emilia is an adventurous eater,” she says. “She likes duck poutine and white wine mussels at our local restaurant. That’s not a cheap date. ,