My 5-year old love, love, loves MasterChef (Graham is his favorite!). Which makes it one of the few shows we can watch together as a family that doesn’t make me want to tear my eyeballs out. As we watched together, my normally picky eater who hates protein began asking me to make things like beef wellington or glazed duck breast. When a friend gave him a junior cooking set for his birthday he began making his own creations which of course he devoured with zest.
Cooking is a phenomenal way to encourage your children to to try new foods! When they make a dish from scratch using fresh ingredients it empowers them to make healthy choices later on. I’m crossing my fingers that our time together in the kitchen will mean he cooks meals at home as an adult when he’s hungry instead of reaching for a bag of chips.
That being said, when kids “help” in the kitchen it’s a definite exercise in patience. Sadly, patience is often in short supply. In exasperation I sought to outsource some of our cooking education. Kids cooking classes can be expensive and between karate, swimming, preschool, and gymnastics our time and money is spread thin. Luckily, I found the perfect solution!
Each month Whole Foods Deerfield offers a monthly calendar full of great workshops and events. The schedule varies but there is always at least one or two children’s cooking classes available. At only $5 per child it’s a wonderful and affordable way to get kids excited about cooking. Registration is required but a quick phone call does the job. You pick and choose when to go so there’s no commitment.
Classes always begin with a little free time for coloring and drawing while guests filter in and last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you have a skittish child, parents are free to stay but must sit in the back of the class. Can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen after all! Otherwise feel free to do a little grocery shopping or sit in their cafe area while you wait. Since classes are in the evening, I drop off my 5-year old while the 3-year old and I share a treat or early dinner from the salad bar in the cafe.
Each class features easy recipes you can replicate at home and don’t involve any knives. Ovens are sometimes used but the adult facilitators handle the hot stuff. My son has wrapped hot dogs (nitrite-free!) in pizza dough to make pigs in a blanket, dipped strawberries in chocolate, and assembled yogurt parfaits. Since the recipes are very simplistic, I would say the class is best suited for preschoolers to young elementary school age. Kids who know how to use a stove or chop vegetables will be bored.
The best part of the class is the kids get to enjoy what they made right there and bring home recipes to share with the family. It’s wonderful to see how eager they are to share what they’ve learned.
As I mentioned the event calendar varies, but for the month of April 2014, Whole Foods Deerfield next Kids Cooking Class will revolve around Earth Month.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Deerfield, $5 per child call 847.444.1900 to register.
From their event calendar page: Celebrate Earth Month with a kid’s class devoted to yummy earth-inspired treats! Get your hands dirty by making dirt cups with gummy animals and raisin ants. Then we will make delicious ladybugs on sticks – who knew bugs could be so much fun (and tasty too!)
While you’re there, sign your children up for the Kids Club Punch Card. On Wednesdays, kids ages 3-12 a get a free apple or banana at the Deerfield location only. Once you get 10 punches you and your child will be entered to win a kids fun box.
Image from Whole Foods Market Deerfield on Facebook