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Cooking Gift for 8-year old budding chef

We have a fabulous 8-year old friend (her parents are our BFFs) who spends a lot of time at our house and has learned to love cooking (thank you, no applause needed). When she's here, we have the Cooking Channel on and she really soaks it up. She loves Unique Sweets, G. Garvin, the Fabulous Beekman Boys (especially the episode with THE Martha Stewart and the goats) and the cocktail girls.

I would love to get our budding chef something for the holidays to reinforce her interest in cooking. I know there are kid-size tools but was wondering if anyone out there has any more creative ideas, like buying a "pasta making kit" or something like that. Her appetite is fairly broad (from sardines to sauerkraut) and we're just praying peer pressure doesn't change that :-)

Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. Some years ago, a friend gave me a lovely certificate to her Pie School. She included a pie tin and a great pie book (The Perfect Pie by Susan Purdy). Pie School curriculum was me spending a morning with her turning out some damn good pies under her tutelage. I learned a lot, and had a blast. We both still laugh about it. I'm a long way from eight, and it sounds like the kid is around your kitchen a lot, but this might spark an idea.

    2 Replies
      1. re: monfrancisco

        Love this idea. It has obviously stayed with you throughout your life!

      2. For the Conscientious: A good chef's knife (8"?), doesn't need to be great...

        For the Adventurous: Icecream Maker ($50 for the Kitchenaid attachment). No need for knives, and tons of fun!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chowrin

          She does use a chef's knife when the adults are supervising--they are not timid parents but are watchful--so this could work for her.

          1. re: sandiasingh

            What about a set like this? http://www.amazon.com/Kai-Komachi-6-P... They would very clearly be "her" knives, versus her parents.

              1. re: sandiasingh

                I have a Komachi knife (not a set just one). It is a serviceable knife. I have read that people complained that Komachi knives look too colorful and too much like toys when in fact they are real knives. They do have a point about this. So, just to make sure the 8-year old knows these are real knives.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Excellent "point", chemical. I will keep that in mind.

        2. What about an assortment of small pots and herbs to grow? My nephew (who is 7) loved watching the tomatoes grow all summer at my parents and finally decided he did like to eat them after that... Maybe an herb growing kit? It would be fun to watch them grow and then later enjoy cooking with them.
          Amazon sells a variety of indoor herb growing kits, your local nursery probably has some too.
          Or, look at your local whole foods- they often has very reasonable cooking classes and events for kids, and either sign up to take her to one or you, her mom and the girl all go together.....

          5 Replies
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            I LOVE this idea.

            Baker Creek would be an excellent source. The budding chef can get a number of really unique veggies or herbs.

            1. re: Westy

              Baker's Creek is all we do and she would love the packaging.

              1. re: sandiasingh

                Maybe branch out a bit? I know you said you only do Baker xcreek, but I really like this one as well:
                http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

                1. re: Westy

                  Did not know about these guys. We exclusively buy non-GMO seeds, so will give them a try.

                  Thank you!

            2. re: Ttrockwood

              They have a large garden in their backyard where they grow tomatoes, basil, figs, etc. but I think the idea of culinary herbs specifically is excellent. That's was a great hook for me as an adult learning to garden. I also love the cooking class idea. Santa Fe has a fantastic program for kids and I will look into that. We can make it a girls day out.

            3. I love kitchen knives like no others, and think a kitchen knife is probably one of the most defining tool in a personal kitchen. However, it may be better for her parents to get her the knife. (if it is not obvious already).

              I would probably get her a simple cook book for an 8-year old, or a set of utensils like turners, spoons,

              http://www.amazon.com/Totally-Bamboo-...

              http://www.amazon.com/Core-Bamboo-Cla...

              An electric pot like this can be good too. It allows the kid to cook without forcing her to use a stove. It can be used for gentle and simple hotpot (shabu-shabu) cooking. Her parents can enjoy it too.

              http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-EP-PB...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                To have her own tools in her own CONTAINER, now that's right up her alley. Great idea!

              2. I have a now 10yo and 8yo and they both enjoy cooking and watching cooking shows. Last year, I got them both kid aprons from Wlliams Sonoma (Star Wars for him, pink cupcake for her).

                I think cupcake/cookie decorating stuff could be fun - piping bags, fun cupcake wrappers, a baking theme cookbook, etc. my kids love decorating their own cupcakes, cakes and cookies.