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February 2012: More on Cooking With Kids

In the February 2012 issue of School Nutrition, the article “Kids’ Cooking Takes Center Stage” by Cecily Walters offered a look at the knowledge and lifelong skills that children gain by learning useful cooking techniques, as well as detailed the experiences and advice of a number of school nutrition professionals who provide opportunities for students to learn to cook.

Following are some additional advice and resources to help you develop activities to teach kids how to cook—or to offer to parents for family activities conducted at home.

Recipes for Success
When it comes to imparting basic kitchen guidelines to young chefs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Nibbles for Health newsletter recommends that all children be instructed to fasten long hair back, taste with a clean spoon, keep raw and cooked food separate, cook food to the proper temperature and refrigerate perishable food immediately.

During the food preparation stage, students of various ages will do well with working as part of a production line process where each child performs a task, such as adding an ingredient to a salad, describes Sal Valenza, foodservice director for West New York (N.J.) Schools.

Above all, school nutrition professionals or parents conducting kid-friendly hands-on cooking activities should remember to “keep it simple and be patient,” says Coleen Donnelly, a chef consultant and K-12 specialist for Indian Harvest, who volunteers at Oceana High School in Pacifica, Calif., as part of the Chefs Move to Schools initiative. According to Donnelly, the results are worth it when working with student chefs. “Every time I cook with a kid, I see a sense of accomplishment, regardless of what they have cooked. What is even more encouraging to me is the fact that kids will at least try a dish they have made themselves,” she explains.

Cooking With Kids Resources

General

Recipes

Cooking With Specific Ingredients

Safety/Sanitation