Okay, so we did it. For some of us the school year is over and for the rest of us, we’re are just about there. So, now what? Whether your state is easing restrictions or not, you and the kiddos are still going to be spending a lot of time together. Now that we don’t have school, what are we going to do? Why not use the time to
train teach the kiddos how to cook? There’s a lot for everyone to learn and it can be a great bonding experience.
How to Start: As a family, come up with some ideas of what you would like to cook. Consider picking one day a week where you and your family make something new. You can research recipes that use favorite foods, look at a world map and pick a country, or just flip through a cook book and see what page you land on.
What to do next: While you are cooking, think about the different ingredients and how they taste. Are they sour, bitter, sweet? Why are certain ingredients combined together? Why are other ingredients not combined together? How do these combinations change the flavor of the food? How do the flavors of foods change when you prepare them differently?
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
You can go in many STEAM directions with this activity based on interest and age.
- Science: Investigate the science of taste: How do you taste? What makes a pleasant vs. an unpleasant taste? Investigate the chemistry of cooking: How do the different ingredients react?
- Technology: What did you use to cook your meal? Was it effective? How did people cook in the past? How has cooking technology changed? How would you improve cooking technology and why?
- Engineering: Can you build something better? How would you do it? Make a design and propose materials.
- Arts: Why do people consider cooking an art? What makes top chef’s so successful, other than just a good recipe?
- Math: For the little’s, you can practice measurements. For older kiddos, you can discuss different measurement units and practice converting. You can also practice decreasing or increasing recipes and see if it tastes the same.
- Raddish provides free kid-friendly resources: https://www.raddishkids.com/pages/summer
- PowWows.com has some yummy native recipes: https://www.powwows.com/25-favorite-native-american-recipes/
- Here are a bunch of kid-friendly recipes from the USDA: https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/recipes-healthy-kids-cookbook-homes
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the National Institutes of Health, talk about the science behind taste: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279408/
- The American Chemical Society provides cool chemistry-related resources and experiments: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/students/highschool/chemistryclubs/activities/food-and-chemistry.html
- Interesting engineering provides, you guessed it, and interesting look at kitchen appliances: https://interestingengineering.com/the-history-behind-the-15-kitchen-appliances-that-changed-the-way-we-live.
- Math is fun provides a great reference for common cooking measurements: https://www.mathsisfun.com/measure/cooking-measurements.html