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Jan 27, 2014 03:36 PM

Cooking demo for kids

I volunteered to give an interactive cooking demo for grade school kids and their parents. Need some fantastic ideas, because if all goes well, it.l turn into a part time job

There can be anywhere from 10-30 participants. So whatever I teach needs to able to be split up.

There's limitations....
- equipment available: microwave, blender, hand mixer, toaster
- kosher, dairy (no meat)
- healthy & easy to recreate at home

I definitely want to make smoothies. Figured the kids would work in groups cutting/peeling fruit, and as a class come up with different fruit combinations. Lots of blending and tasting going on.

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  1. I would toast slices of storebought pound cake, make whipped cream with the hand mixer, puree fresh fruit, then warm the puree a little in the microwave. Spoon over pound cake, dollop of whipped cream.

    Want healthier? Summer pudding. Puree some of the fruit, dip trimmed slices of buttered bread into it, line a mold, pour in fruit mixed with the puree, top with more dipped bread, weight down. Explain that chilling for several hours is needed. Unmold a premade one, make whipped cream to top wedges of it.

    Cheese fondue with toasts and lightly microwave-steamed vegetables like baby carrots, broccoli florets.

    Personally, I would not consider blending smoothies to be "cooking".

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I think smoothies would be a good idea only because I have NO idea how old/how many kids are showing up. The littlest kids can peel bananas and pick thru berries.

    2. I think what you demo to a group of 1st graders should be completely different than what you demo for a group of 5th graders.

      For younger kids, smoothies are fine. Maybe a BLT, where you microwave the bacon, and they help prep and assemle the sandwich? For young and old, salad works. My 8yo did a cooking class last summer and they made sugar cookies, english style trifle, taco salad (the ground meat was cooked before they got there), fruit skewers, and pizza quesadillas. they had access to an oven though.

      You could do quesadillas or mini english muffin pizzas and just heat them in the microwave.

      3 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        Uh.....OP specifically says kosher, no meat

        1. re: greygarious

          Ignore the BLT suggestion then. You can make quesadillas and pizzas without meat.

      2. wow not much to work with.
        If I were you I might try to tie it into a kids story so that it it is more of a using food as way of connecting with your child thing.. depending on the age....
        you could do an easy hummus or tappianad .My hunch is these kids come fromsmoothie making houses ,

        1 Reply
        1. re: girloftheworld

          They're definitely not smoothie making kids. Most of the kids go to school/after school programs and are used to takeout.

          For a future class was planning on:
          Pita chips
          Israeli salad
          Pickles (assemble and take home)

        2. i did this for about 30 weeks with 25 kids (a school year). we were a vegan classroom. we did foods from around the world. i remember vegan sushi as the biggest hit - especially with the kids who LOVED rolling the rolls. we also did a bunch of things with grains the kids didn't eat often - polenta and quinoa being among them. Oh! and spring rolls with rice paper. THAT was quite a hoot - everyone got stuck! one thing we did that really worked well for us: we made it for only ourselves the first week.. then we recreated the meal the second week and invited others to join us. That gave the kids some confidence with skills, allowed us to tweek recipes/flavors, and i only had to come up with half the number of recipes. it also helped with the budgeting and shopping since we were recreating things twice.

          it was fun! hope it goes well for you!

          4 Replies
          1. re: rmarisco

            Love the idea of summer rolls!

            Was thinking also to do quesadillas, guacamole, fresh salsa, mango/jicama salad.

            1. re: cheesecake17

              question: what's a summer roll? we only have spring rolls around here..

                1. re: rmarisco

                  Rice paper wrapped around thinly sliced vegetables, slivers of tofu. Sometimes they have rice noodles. (Non kosher versions may have shrimp)

            2. Going ethnic is a great idea. Don't just stick to "kid" food and don't underestimate the skills of the kids. A few years ago we made a full Chinese New Year's meal with a group of 1st - 3rd graders and it worked beautifully. The kids CAN use real knives, not silly little plastic knives. They CAN saute and they CAN measure and mix ingredients for baked goods.

              I know you don't have a full kitchen available to you, but my point is not to underestimate the abilities of the kids. Supervision may be necessary but don't limit yourself unnecessarily.

              7 Replies
              1. re: rockycat

                The ethnic theme is what I'm sort of planning, if a series of classes works out. At this point I don't know what to expect- I could have a room full of 4 year olds and only 15 minutes.

                I used to do baking classes with kids. One of the BEST tips someone gave me was to split up the measurements . (Use 12 1/4c scoops instead of 3 cup size scoops)

                1. re: rockycat

                  +1 on not underestimating kids and food, and don't assume they're all drive-through derelicts.

                  I used to be a teacher's assistant at the elementary school, and we worked food into a lot of lessons -- after the segment on counting and graphing that involved sorting and counting beans, I brought in 13-bean soup (and left with an empty crockpot)....we studied Thanksgiving and what the Pilgrims might have had (empty dishes again)

                  I also worked as an instructor at a Young Chef's Academy -- the kids help prepare bits of everything, and it's real food. My favorite was a curried pumpkin soup - it was delicious (and I lost the recipe, darnit) -- and I was utterly floored when a 3rd grader took a bite, took another bite, and thoughtfully said "you know, this needs crab meat". Crabmeat would have ROCKED in that soup.

                  They're a lot more savvy, and a lot less picky, than you think they are...have fun with it!

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    I LOVE that story. My daughter took a cooking class at around 2. They helped chop veggies with plastic knives, clean, mix etc. it was simple stuff but great fun. I remember that thy made hummus, veggie lo mien, smoothies of course, quiche, cookies of various kinds, among others. She's now 5 and quite a helper. Your kids will be older so I definitely encourage you not to dumb down too much.

                    In addition to some of the ideas you have, consider pancakes with fruit compote, frittata, different kinds of pasta-- with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, lasagna, pizza starting with making fresh dough, bread-- focaccia with a range of toppings. Obviously you'd have a few batches of dough to show the progression with some already proofed and baked.

                    1. re: MAH

                      I may be getting a space with a real kitchen!
                      In addition to the school age kids, I'm going to be doing a mommy & me cooking class. (Moms and toddlers)

                      If we do something that'll take a while to bake (quiche etc) the moms can take it home unbaked

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        probably not a good idea to try to move an unbaked quiche -- that's an invitation to having scrambled eggs all over the back end of the car....

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I pour the mixture into a ziplock bag. Transport it that way. Works for me!

                    2. re: sunshine842

                      Oops, just realized the limited equipment will be a problem. I like the summer roll idea. Maybe also a veggie banh mi sandwich. What about making dumplings and steaming in the microwave?