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Your input needed

As many of the regulars know i am floor manager in a independent cookware and gourmet foods shop. I also write the monthly news letter. That is where I need your help. I am thinking about an edition devoted to kids and cooking. I've been to the web to sniff out some recipes and suggestions and frankly I am appalled. Most of the sites are run buy the big corporations who hire, I am ashamed to say home economists, of which I am one, to develop recipes. I find lots of sugar and very little nutritional value in those recipes. The one exception I found is a website called Kaboose. Granted many of the recipes are a bit more difficult than Rice Krispy Squares but certainly achievable by children tall enough to reach the cook top and may need a little adult help.

What were your childhood favorites that you could make by yourself or with a little help? You certainly did not become Chowhounds by eating and making back of the box recipes.

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  1. I started with things like ratatouille, spagetti sauce, inari rice, sandwiches, crisps & crumbles, cookies, tamale pie, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, shabu shabu, miso soup, rice, pizza, salad dressings and salads, scrambled eggs and omelettes, and one pot dinners (e.g., sauerkraut and spareribs, oyako domburi).

    1. First one that comes to mind is the tuna sandwich baked in a brown paper bag. It’s just drained tuna, chopped onion and celery, cubed American cheese with salt & pepper and just enough mayonnaise to hold it together. Spread on white bread, place sandwich in brown paper bag then into a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. I remember them being something special when I was just starting to experiment in the kitchen as a child. Now I would change the type of cheese and the type of bread and maybe add some water chestnuts, parsley, cilantro… the list goes on. It’s a start I think.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TimCarroll

        This reminds me of what our mom called Tasty Tuna Burgers. Tuna salad on half of a burger roll, shredded cheddar on top, and under the broiler it went until the cheese was bubbly. We loved them with tomato soup. Never heard of the bag method, sounds like something fun to try.

      2. The things we made often as young children included

        quiches,
        chili con carne,
        cornbread,
        oatmeal raisin cookies from the Betty Crocker cookbook,
        bran muffins,
        apple crisp,
        beef stew,
        pancakes,
        baked fish,
        scrambled eggs.

        All very simple but they tasted good and the success did, too.

        Good for you for teaching the kids.
        By the way, Candy, I was thinking you must either have remarkable restraint or outbuildings to house your purchases working in a place like that. Dangerous!

        1. I recall making stuff like egg salad, no bake cookies, french toast, cheesy scrambled eggs, quesadillas, hamburg bbq (sloppy joes), grilled cheese sandwiches, corn on the cob, steamed veggies, etc.

          1. Candy: Although I'm not sure what age range you're talking about, here are some thoughts for 3-5-year-olds that I researched recently for a friend of mine. It's geared toward getting the little ones in the kitchen, learning basic techniques, and being involved in food prep.

            Thre's a lot of good buzz for Mollie Katzen's two books -- Pretend Soup and Salad People. You may want to check them out on-line or at Amazon for a peek at her recipes.

            English muffin pizzas (spread sauce, put on toppings), mozzarella cut with scissors, * see below.

            Cinnamon rolls (butter the pan with clean hands, butter the dough with clean hands, sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar, put rolls in pan)
            Adult probably needs to roll and cut. Child can drizzle with glaze.

            Pinwheel bites (spread flour tortillas with flavored cream cheese, place thin slice of deli chicken or ham, or both for color, maybe herbs)
            Adult probably needs to roll, wrap in plastic wrap, chill, cut into pinwheels. Easier to spread cream cheese with an offset spatula, kid or adult.

            Rice Krispy treats (butter pan, push into pan with buttered hands) I realize you said something more sophisticated than this, but this is aimed at the really little kids.

            Instant pudding (learn to measure milk, pour milk, help stir, add bananas or crumbled cookies, spoon into individual cups, top with whipped cream when set).

            Jell-O parfaits (help stir Jell-O to dissolve, when set, cut into cubes with plastic knife, layer in tall glasses with whipped cream and/or fruit between layers)
            Use whole blueberries or raspberries, or cut strawberries or bananas with plastic knife, * see below.

            Bread pudding, sweet or savory (butter pan, tear bread into pieces, learn to crack eggs, help make custard, pour over). Learn importance of staying clear of a hot oven.

            Meatballs (rolling and rolling and rolling and....) mini ones might be easier for little hands. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out blobs, then the kids can wet their hands and roll. Adult should probably brown them. Put in soup or in sauce over small pasta.

            Cookies, cookies, cookies! From cutting out Christmas shapes to rolling snickerdoodle balls in cinnamon sugar to peanut butter with the traditional fork grid marks.

            Monkey bread. Lots of recipes on the Web. Kids can roll the balls, dip in butter and/or herbs, spices, or sugar, put in tube pan.

            * Some suggestions I found were to use plastic safety scissors to cut everything from herbs to cheese slices to mushrooms.
            Plastic serrated knives are good. Learn the importance of frequent hand-washing. Learn to clean up. Someone said just have lots of dishcloths and sponges around. Someone else said I wish I had a dog to eat everything that fell on the floor! Some posters remembered wearing an apron as being a big deal when they were little.