Essentials

 

Measuring Spoon
A Kid Cook measuring dry ingredients

To help your child be successful it is imperative that you consider some basics. These recipes are written for the Kid Cooks success because they have the following essentials:

 

  1. Knife skills
  2. Safety skills (e.g. fire & burn safety, where to place hot dishes when they are finished)
  3. Food safety skills (e.g. handling raw meat, handwashing, cleaning up after cracking an egg, not using a dishtowel for inappropriate things like your face, the floor, or that left over egg drip)
  4. Basics of measuring

    Measuring Liquid
    A Kid Cook measuring wet ingredients
  5. Basics of utensils (e.g. what does it mean to whisk, stir, flip)

This DOES NOT mean I am not repeating myself ad-nauseum about the same precautions. I could probably make and sell a mp.3 of those standard precautions that need to roll off my tongue throughout anytime my kids are in the kitchen:

“Roll those fingers before you cut them off!”
“Have you washed your hands?”
“Watch that knife!”
“Don’t leave the hot pad too close to the stove.”
“Should we level that off?”
“Is that a liquid or dry ingredient and which how do we measure it?”

You get the picture. But it is because I have embedded this in our work and taught them all along that now the recipe can say “chop the onion” and they know what that looks like. I didn’t choose to use terms like dice, finely chop, or slice — frankly if they get ‘er done, we don’t care. But they do know how to cut off one end, peel, slice with a smaller knife, and then cut across to get a dice without me explaining, an essential they need to know and can apply to peppers, fruit, and other items as needed without cutting their hand off.

There are probably many other things the Kid Cooks would tell you they have learned from watching me. They surprise me everyday. One of mine is a “mini-me” and tries too hard to be just like me… which means I have to watch myself and make sure I am doing everything the way I would want them to emulate. Nonetheless, one cannot forget these essentials. 

Other tools and things a kid should learn (in no particular order):

  1. How to use basic blender.
  2. How to use a can opener.
  3. If they are baking, the difference between a glass/plastic one-size fits all measuring cup and the plastic/metal separate measuring cups.
  4. That 3/4 is 3 of the 1/4 measure and 2/3 is 2 of the 1/3 measure (though I am not changing recipes to state this fact to help them).
  5. How to set the stove, oven and microwave.
  6. How to test for doneness (in muffins or similar, etc).
  7. How to use a garlic press, if you own one (which is safer than them cutting garlic really small).
  8. How to measure even scoops out with an ice cream scoop. (We use this to make even meatballs and muffins.) We have even looked up how to use a right handed scoop left handed to help our oldest!

I hope this list helps.

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