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Kids In The Kitchen


Barbara
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It was a good day for soup. Lentil & kielbasa, loaded with vegetables and some toasted apple walnut bread from Bonaparte.

Tomorrow will be Emma's day to cook, so we're having chicken with dumplings from Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes, salad, and homemade oatmeal orange almond cookies.

Your 7-year-old cooks dinner?????
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Your 7-year-old cooks dinner?????
Not by herself yet. I was making dinner for my family by age 10 so she's got a couple of years before I turn her loose. :lol:

Tomorrow she gets to choose the meal, read the recipe, shop with me for the ingredients, and will help with the prep including some supervised knife handling. She's already pretty good at weighing/measuring ingedients, and I've started letting her stir things on the stove.

I'm interested to see what other people's kids are cooking and eating. Maybe we need a "kids in the kitchen" thread.

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Your 7-year-old cooks dinner?????
Not by herself yet. I was making dinner for my family by age 10 so she's got a couple of years before I turn her loose. :lol:
I'm more looking forward to the day that I can assign Peanut to kitchen clean-up duty. RIght now she likes to perch herself on the bar stools on the other side of the kitchen penninsula and watch. Or maybe she's just taking an early liking to bar stools. She does, however, whip up a mean plate of pretend bacon, eggs, and pancakes.
I'm interested to see what other people's kids are cooking and eating. Maybe we need a "kids in the kitchen" thread.
Good idea.
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In addition to whipping up a pretend plate of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, Peanut now loves to watch me cook. Occasionally, I let her pour things into a mixing bowl.

Right now we're going through the eating one ingredient at a time phase. Any pasta dish she'll start by eating all of the pasta and only then will she eat whatever is in the sauce. Same thing with stir-fries of any type, she'll eat all of the rice first and only then move on to the accompanyment. Also, soups or stews: last night she spooned all of the liquid out of her chili before she could be convinced to start eating any of the meat.

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Whoa! Ask and ye shall receive. Not sure that needs to be pointed out in the thread title though. :lol:

OK everyone, what are your kids (or neices, grandkids, family friends, etc.) cooking? Going through any phases? What are their favorite restaurants?

JPW, that's a really, really aggravating phase. Ian's almost 5, and still very suspicious of any dish that combines ingredients.

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The 3.5 yo in my household is on what I refer to as the North Beach diet--if it's got carbs (preferably simple ones), he likes it. Otherwise, it's a bit of a battle. I try not to engage in the battle, but there it is.

I love to cook, and I've kind of got him sharing that excitement. I let him weigh things, pour things, stir things. I've just found I need a fair amount of patience and a willingness to do a lot of clean up (with assistance, natch). Not so different from other parenting activities!

He's far too young to be involved in real cooking (like what Heather describes for Emma), but I do try to take him with me to the farmers market and he's, umm, helped, in the garden somewhat.

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but I do try to take him with me to the farmers market and he's, umm, helped, in the garden somewhat.
Excellent. Peanut and I have a regular date every Sunday to go to the Takoma Park farmers' market. THe vendors tend to be very tolerant of her.
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My oldest (8) used to be interested in helping but now it's the youngest (6). Philip pushes his stool up to the sink, he likes to clean greens, green beans, peeling carrots. He helps to make the meatloaf, he's better than a kitchenaid :lol: . They went to the farmers market with me a couple of times this year, and did help out with my demo at the Dupont market on Fathers Day (I love those pictures!!) Philip is way more adventurous than Alex. Alex tends to like rice with soy, fried chicken, pepperoni pizza and ac and cheese. Philip loves ribs, steak, singapore noodles, shrimp, crab, calamari and God bless him, scrapple. He even likes mushrooms, which I didn't eat until I was 10. My little eating machine.... :unsure:

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I have an almost 16 year old and an 11 year old. Both cook complete meals. In the summer, they each have to plan one meal a week, shop for the ingredients and cook the meal. We are still working on the cleaning up after yourself part, however. I have always had them help me in the kitchen - for those of you with younger kids, they do get somewhat less messy as they get older. Also, my kids are not at all picky, but helping with the prep leads to a better chance of them trying unfamiliar foods (except for those mussels and oysters - that was not a successful lesson...)

I taught the older one to make lasagne when she was 12. I told her it was one of the most important dishes she will ever learn (paired with salad and garlic bread) because now she can cook for a hungry graduate school crowd, many of whom will only know lasagne from a freezer pack, for a very minimal amount of money.

My kids are big on making soups, especially anything pureed or anything wtih homemade noodles, whether Italian or PA Dutch (chicken corn soup with rivels is a frequent meal, made just like my great grandmother did with a pile of flour and an egg in the middle.) Both know how to make chicken stock and pick a chicken clean, although they do not really like the picking part (they also know how to clean shrimp - even less a desirable task than chicken). Most younger children can handle a basic cream/pureed soup - and even the youngest can push the puree button on a cuisinart - nothing like seeing that broccoli disappear.

We eat little pork or beef, but lots of fish. A particular favorite is coming up with new things to put en papillote - when they were younger I generally had to re-wrap the package, but they continue to enjoy the moment of opening it to see whether the choices of what went in with the fish were a success. Breading of anything is also something that younger kids can help with, as are tasks like crushing plantains after that first deep fry, or flattening chicken breasts with a meat mallet.

While my younger one has a collection of kids cookbooks, with the Williams Sonoma line and Marion Cunningham's being favorites, she is graduating to regular cookbooks. She made a risotto with peas and ham last week, stirring it by herself the whole 30+ minutes. My only guidance was when to add more broth. This was an important lesson - the dish tasted great, but was time consuming and tiring to make.

I am also working with both on knife skills - VERY IMPORTANT as you all know.

My younger daughter has taken cooking classes at the McLean community center, and also attended one of their one week camps last summer. This is for 8-12 year olds, but they also have teen camps and programs for younger kids with their parents. The teacher is amazingly patient and really gives the kids a lot of responsibility- these were not basic kid food meals. I highly recommend it for people like us who live too far from Le Academie in Gaithersburg for those classes.

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Philip is way more adventurous than Alex. Alex tends to like rice with soy, fried chicken, pepperoni pizza and ac and cheese. Philip loves ribs, steak, singapore noodles, shrimp, crab, calamari and God bless him, scrapple. He even likes mushrooms, which I didn't eat until I was 10. My little eating machine.... :lol:
My youngest is obsessed with the kitchen too, but my oldest is the more adventurous eater.
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I've been really fortunate that Lily is a pretty good eater. She's gotten a bit more picky with some things like fish but is quite the carnivore and will try just about any kind of meat. The one exception is steak cooked beyond medium rare. She's a bit of a snob about that and rightly so.

Probably the only meal that she can prep by herself at the age of 3 is pizza. We get a big ball of dough from the Italian store, I snip off a piece and give her some parchment to work with. She's gotten pretty good with stretching it out with her fingers and the dough is resilient enough that we don't end up with holes. Her two favorite toppings are olives and pepperoni so if we're not watching, she sometimes will load up the pizza a bit too much.

Her favorite restaurant right now is probably Kotobuki where we have to be pretty quick if we want any edamame for ourselves. She's tried the california roll and eel but keeps going back to the tamago nigiri (egg omelet). She loves the little strip of seaweed around the nigiri and even more so when she found out that the green stuff under the sea in the Little Mermaid is also seaweed.

From those with the kids cookbooks, can you recommend some that would be good for the 3-5 year old range? Lily has pretend ones that she brings into the kitchen to help me with cooking and might enjoying having a real one of her own.

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Ian (4 1/2) got Pretend Soup by Molly Katzen for Christmas and loves it. Most kid cookbooks are for ages 8 and up but this one is written for preschoolers.

His sister got Honest Pretzels by the same author and was disappointed that there are no meat recipes. My little carnivore. :lol:

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Philip was over last weekend and wanted something to read, so he pulled down a couple of my cookbooks (Aquavit and the French Laundry) and kept looking at the pictures and flipping pages asking if I could make those things. Finaly he pulled down two copies of Art Culinare, looks at various pictures asking, again, if I could make those thing, to which I repied, " I don't think they can even make those things..."

My kids are also steak snobs, they like it Med Rare also, which I think is just so cute/great because I never new steak had a temperature till I was in college (Dad, "Grey is good for you, shut up and eat")

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My son "helped" in the kitchen from the time he was about 5 (no knives, but he did stir and mix stuff, as well as help decide what to eat. By the time he was 7 he was making soup and mac and cheese fom a box, as well as heating up things he wanted (he loved Beeferoni for some reason) By the time he was 10 he was making full meals and liked to experiment. I came home one day when he was about 14 to find him making sushi (including making the rice) for dinner. He is now 18 and a fairly accomplished cook, although he doesn't do much of it at school because he still doesn't like washing dishes.

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When my sons and I set up bachelor quarters in the 90s, and my weekly tab at The Palm began to resemble the national debt of Guatemala, we began cooking the basics and proceeded from there. We tried to replicate some of our restaurant meals, bought a lot of cookbooks, and gradually became competent enough to actually enjoy the results. They are out of the house now, but both cook regularly and attend Sur La Table classes as a hobby.

This is not to say that all went smoothly as we refined our culinary skills together. Some indelible moments would include the older son’s leg of lamb that was coated with grape jelly and, too, a plastic container of marinating chicken intended for the grill that the younger urchin decided to pre-cook a bit, placing it in a hot oven and promptly forgetting about it until reminded by the incessant screech of smoke detector. Such are the vicissitudes of kids in the kitchen, but glorious memories notwithstanding.

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It makes me crazy when one of the kids decides suddenly that they "don't like" something. Tonight it was my 7 year old announcing that she doesn't like macaroni and cheese. It's the same damn homemade mac & cheese (bechamel with cheddar, baked with panko on top) that she has been eating since she was old enough to chew. Grrrrrrrrr :o

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I'm interested to see what other people's kids are cooking and eating. Maybe we need a "kids in the kitchen" thread.
We've had both sons help out in the kitchen since they were old enough to trust with a knife and a cutting board, but while the younger took to it naturally, the older just had no interest. They scrubbed potatoes, chopped vegetables, mashed potatoes, minced herbs, and other relatively simple tasks.

My younger son (now 19) has been cooking all by himself since he was eleven or twelve. He bakes bread, including baguettes. Tomorrow he's making Azerbaijani chicken kebabs, he says. Wants to know what would be a good side dish. And he's planning on making Russian rye bread.

We are teaching the older (21) to cook since he's going away to law school in August, and will need to feed himself. He also has a girlfriend, whom he wishes to impress with his culinary prowess. The Valentine's day "fudge" made an excellent icing for the fall-back brownies, and I think she really did appreciate the effort. And he's actually getting quite good at brioche.

One thing I think which has provoked their interest is watching Alton Brown.

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I've had good luck getting my interested in trying new things through some of the kid websites. The Sprout Diner, on the PBSKids Sprout website is particularly good about publishig healthy recipes with a nominal connection to Thomas the Tank Engine, or Noddy.

Some of Nick Jr.'s recipes are also pretty good, but they feature too many sweets on the main page. You have to dig a little to find healthier stuff.

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Like all 2.5 year olds, Peanut wants to imitate her parents. I do stir-fries of various types about once a week. It's her favorite to watch because it only takes a couple of minutes and involves constant activity. Thus it fits within her attention span. For Easter last year she got a little windup bunny that hops around and a little wind up chick that does the same. Recently she has been taking her Easter basket and pretending it's a wok. She pretends to throw some stuff in and stirs it around. Then she grabs the chick, throws it in and says, "I want some chicken in it". Then she grabs the little bunny and tosses it in while saying, "I want some bunny, too."

I'm so proud of her. :blink:

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We love the look on people's faces when our 3 yr old informs them that baby animals are the best because they're so tender and juicy. This came out of a discussion one night when she asked us what animal lamb was. She of course wanted to then know why we don't see grown up sheep meat for sale at the grocery store.

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Like all 2.5 year olds, Peanut wants to imitate her parents. I do stir-fries of various types about once a week. It's her favorite to watch because it only takes a couple of minutes and involves constant activity. Thus it fits within her attention span. For Easter last year she got a little windup bunny that hops around and a little wind up chick that does the same. Recently she has been taking her Easter basket and pretending it's a wok. She pretends to throw some stuff in and stirs it around. Then she grabs the chick, throws it in and says, "I want some chicken in it". Then she grabs the little bunny and tosses it in while saying, "I want some bunny, too."

I'm so proud of her. :blink:

Good grief, Joe. Don't take her anywhere near those grasshopper tacos at Oyamel!

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It was a good day for popcorn and cocoa. Ian, when asked if his popcorn was good: "It's too good."

We pop corn on the stove, and put real butter on it, or sometimes grated parmesan. My goal is to render microwave popcorn forever unacceptable to them. :blink:

Last night we had steaks cut from our Ray's the Steaks demo chunk. They each ate an entire inch-thick boneless rib-eye steak. ;) I sense a growth spurt coming on.

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It was a good day for popcorn and cocoa. Ian, when asked if his popcorn was good: "It's too good."

We pop corn on the stove, and put real butter on it, or sometimes grated parmesan. My goal is to render microwave popcorn forever unacceptable to them. :blink:

I've stopped making microwave popcorn and gone back to making it on the stove too. In part this was because it was so easy to make microwave popcorn that I made it way too often, and it has tons of calories, fat, sodium, and god knows what else. I'd rather make it on the stove from good popping corn and make it less often. (The splatter and cleanup always pose a nice obstacle. Do I really want to make this?)

This is one of those "it reminds me" things. I don't know if I've posted this here before. When I was a kid, our neighbor across the street used to make awesome popcorn. I frequently went over there with my dad on weekend afternoons to join him to watch football, golf, or whatever sports were on tv. One day when I was well into my teens, I happened to be in the kitchen as he was finishing making the popcorn. The secret to his popcorn? One stick of melted butter per bowl ;):) . Whoa, was that good popcorn. No wonder the popcorn I made wasn't as good as his! :P .

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A whole stick? Wow. I usually start with a half cup of popping corn, and use 2-3 T. of butter. Enough to taste it, but not cause greasy fingerprints to appear all over my house.
Yeah. It was a revelation for me to find out how much he used. He seemed to think it was totally normal when I asked him about it. 2-3 TBSP is about what I would use too. Funny thing is that it didn't taste overly greasy. It was very good. Maybe he mixed it up really well. I'm talking about a medium-large sized metal mixing bowl, which is what he typically put it in. To me, half a stick would have been a lot, and I was stunned when I realized how much butter he used. Plus, it was salted butter and he added salt. Maybe it's just a nostalgic childhood memory, but that's the best popcorn I've ever had in my life.
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Score one for the Pretend Soup cookbook!

Lately, any sort of herb or leaf garnish has Ian paralyzed with horror, yelling "I don't want that on! Take it off! I don't want leaves!"...as he picks off the basil flecks, or parsley, or whatever the offending item is. So I was more than a little skeptical about his obsession with the Green Spaghetti (it's basically pesto) recipe from his cookbook. But, we encourage new things, and he loves to cook, so he and I went to Whole Foods yesterday to buy basil. He was very proud of himself and told everyone there what he was going to make and what the 'gredients were.

We helped him put it together last night, and he ate some with no drama. So he will eat pesto. Yeah!

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Both of my kids are obsessed with the movie Ratatouille, and now every time our backs are turned they are in the kitchen creating recipes. Here is Emma's first recipe:

Mushroom carrot soup:

1. chop the mushroom caps

2. boil the carrots

3. add the mushroom caps and boil

4. mash and season

She seasoned with salt and cumin. I was impressed that she came up with the spice I would have used all on her own.

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I have given up all hope of feeding my kid. She eats to her own drummer. It's all about texture for her, and tangy savoury as opposed to sweet. Pickle peanut butter sandwiches? Ok, kid, have at it. Lemons diped in yoghurt? Ok kid, pucker on. At six, she in finally able to put together her own terrible combinations of food, and she dictates to me, the short order cookie, how she wants her things cooked. Since she is mostly about crispy veggies dipped in just about anything, incudling stuff that makes *my* mouth hurt, I've let her have at it.

She's healthy and growing normally, too bright for her own good.

She knows how to make sandwiches, scrambled eggs, warm tinned soup, make toast, and popcorn in the air popper, with supervision.

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I have given up all hope of feeding my kid. She eats to her own drummer. It's all about texture for her, and tangy savoury as opposed to sweet. Pickle peanut butter sandwiches? Ok, kid, have at it. Lemons diped in yoghurt? Ok kid, pucker on. At six, she in finally able to put together her own terrible combinations of food, and she dictates to me, the short order cookie, how she wants her things cooked. Since she is mostly about crispy veggies dipped in just about anything, incudling stuff that makes *my* mouth hurt, I've let her have at it.

She's healthy and growing normally, too bright for her own good.

She knows how to make sandwiches, scrambled eggs, warm tinned soup, make toast, and popcorn in the air popper, with supervision.

She sounds like an adventurous eater, which is a very good thing. You may have less pressure in the future to buy "Lunchables" or whatever equivalent abomination all of the kids want to bring to school. My daughter also loved very sour things when she was little. Now, at seventeen, she carries around a bottle of hot sauce in her purse.

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When my son came home from college for the Thanksgiving holiday, the first place he wanted to go was Prenzy's for spices. It will be interesting now that he is home for a month for winter break, we'll have him do most of the cooking for dinner. You never know what you are going to get for dinner that way. Last I heard, he was planning to make Chicken Masala for dinner tomorrow night.

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Ian, this morning: "Can I have some baguette with butter and sea salt sprinkled on it?"

We have created a monster. ;)

I wouldn't worry about it until he asks for French breakfast radishes to accompany above. And cafe au lait. With a little square of 70% chocolate.

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Ian, this morning: "Can I have some baguette with butter and sea salt sprinkled on it?"

We have created a monster. ;)

Wait untill he calls you from his freshman dorm, miserable, because he won't eat the crap in the food hall and is starving for real food. Then you'll feel the guilt. :)
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Wait untill he calls you from his freshman dorm, miserable, because he won't eat the crap in the food hall and is starving for real food. Then you'll feel the guilt. ;)

Then she'll feel the pain in her pocketbook. I went off the food plan to "save money" and eat better my sophmore year. I think I had to ask for more money for food by November....

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Wait untill he calls you from his freshman dorm, miserable, because he won't eat the crap in the food hall and is starving for real food. Then you'll feel the guilt. :lol:

Yeah, but for whatver it's worth, my son's "freshamn 15" was the 15 pounds he lost while stuck with dining hall food. He looks like a freakin' vegan on a hunger strike.

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To resurrect this thread after nearly ten years (meep), my 3yo insists on helping in the kitchen. She mostly too short even on a stool, and I only give her the child-size butter knife, but she’s devoted. My 5yo is actually pretty handy and also likes to cook, but the younger one is the one I think will be the cook down the line. 

They both eat pretty well at this point. The little one would subsist in fruit if allowed, but I’m still bigger, so I win that battle. 😂

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My 3 1/2 year old also insists on helping us out in the kitchen and in the past few months has become quite vocal in which restaurants he wants to eat at outside the house. Last month we ended up at Bindaas and we're surprised that he was able to make it almost thru the entire meal there before one of us having to take him for a walk...which ended up being to Vace for a slice of cheese! 

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Our five-month-old (whose first nickname, incidentally, was "the burrito" because of his tortilla-print swaddling blanket) isn't old enough to help, obviously. But I have worn him while working in the orchard and making various jams and liqueurs, and he's started eating some soft things: okayu (Japanese rice porridge), pumpkin pie filling, roasted sweet potato, pureed pears from the orchard.

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