Autumn is approaching fast and with the colder weather setting in, you may be looking for more indoor activities to do with your kids. Cooking and baking is a firm family favourite, but how do you make the most of this experience? We spoke to Stephanie Wood, Founder/CEO of the charity School Food Matters
Start with something simple … and savoury!
It doesn’t always have to be cakes and cookies. Start with something simple and savoury so that your children get used to cooking for their supper, not just for treats. Try a stir-fry or a soup as they’re excellent for getting children used to the colours, textures and tastes of different vegetables.
Step back and let them have a go
Washing, grating, peeling, cutting, mixing, sifting, whisking, measuring, pouring, stirring are all great fun for children and really useful skills to develop. It’s so tempting to take over but once you’ve shown them how to do it, step back, take a deep breath and let them have a go.
Give yourself enough time
If you’re cooking with your children for the first time, expect everything to take longer. A good rule of thumb is to double the preparation time given in the recipe.
Fear not the knife!
Sharp knives and small children don’t mix, right? Well not quite. It’s much safer to carefully show a child how to use a sharp or a serrated knife than to give them a blunt one that will slip and lead to a sore finger. Have a look at this handy peeling and chopping guide from Let’s Get Cooking so that you can help your little ones develop their knife skills.
Cooking is fun, but stress levels can rise if you don’t have your ducks in a row! If you are using a recipe, be sure to read it through before starting to cook with your children. Your little sous chef can help you measure out all the ingredients (a useful maths lesson!) so that you’ve got everything lined up and ready to go before you start cooking.
Serve with a flourish!
A sprinkling of chopped parsley will make any savoury dish look more appealing. It’s good to teach your children the art of presentation. Don’t let them present their winning dishes to the family until they’ve wiped off the splatter marks and added a garnish.
About the charity
Since 2007, School Food Matters has been teaching children and their families all about food and where it comes from. The charity’s food education programmes have reached 30,000 children across London and beyond. This year School Food Matters is celebrating its 10th Birthday with a very special fundraising dinner at The River Café on Sunday 15 October. Guests will be treated to a four course autumn dinner with wines from some of Italy’s finest producers. And they’ve gathered some wonderful prizes for a silent auction from our friends and partners including Tom Aikens, Waitrose, Leon, Bread Ahead, Borough Market and many more. Please join them and keep School Food Matters campaigning for better school meals and food education for all.
You can find out more here or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature Image Credit: Cbeebies