It is comical when a school calls me and asks about our after-school cooking program, but then follows up with the question, “Do you require a kitchen for your class?” You would think that a “cooking class” would need a kitchen, but I have come up with a variety of solutions that allow What’s Cooking to keep running our after-school classes…even without a kitchen!
Of course, it is ideal when my teachers and I get to teach in a real kitchen. But over the years, we have gotten more and more creative – and can now teach almost anywhere (even at a farm festival, on top of hay bales!). It certainly helps when we have access to a few electrical outlets. Electricity allows us to use nifty tools like an electric skillet, rice cooker, blender, cuisinart, hot plate and waffle iron.
Here are a few examples of how you can cook with kids, even without a proper kitchen:
- Thai Spring Rolls don’t require any electricity at all – just a bowl of hot water to soften the rice paper wrappers. With a recipe like this, kids get to use a variety of tools to prepare ingredients and a dipping sauce, and then assemble the fruits of their labor in a pliable rice paper wrapper.
- Devilled Eggs, pictured above, are a fantastic example of something you can make anywhere…provided you hard boil the eggs before you start!
- Rice cookers can do more than just cook rice! You can saute onions and other vegetables inside the pot or can use them to boil water to cook pasta or make soup. Most rice cookers have a sensor that will switch from “cook” mode to “warm” mode, making them ideal for use in a college dorm room, where safety is an issue.
- Electric skillets are perfect for frying foods, simmering home-made ravioli or making home-made tortillas.
After 5 years of teaching cooking classes with children, I am bursting with ideas for cooking activities and projects with kids. If you need additional ideas or want some help coming up with fun and safe cooking projects to do with your kids over the summer, set up an appointment with me and I’d be happy to help!