Everyone knows that teaching kids to cook is something I am passionate about. Through my Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics classes, I’m teaching my students how to cook, yes, but also life skills that will serve them well as adults.
This year, you’ll also know that for Food Revolution Day – TODAY – Jamie Oliver wants everyone to “get kids excited about food”. As a Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto, I know a lot of people want to participate but are perhaps not able to do an “in person” event so once again, I thought it might be fun to get some global participation with the the French Fridays with Dorie gang – aka The Doristas – taking part virtually, just like last year. So, I asked all FFWD members to choose a recipe from Around my French Table that they think every child should know how to make (I personally think AMFT should be required reading in high school but that’s just me!), make it and blog about it today.
When I was chatting with Dorie about this idea, I said: “Imagine a whole generation of kids growing up capable of cooking all the dishes in AMFT!” Dorie replied: “What a thought! I would love to see a generation that can cook and wants to cook for themselves and others. The world would be a better place.”
Now, I’ve made Dorie’s food before with my cooking club – last year, they made madeleines from Around my French Table for our big Food Revolution Day parent-child cooking class. These were so popular that many of the mums were out the next day purchasing madeleine pans! We’ve also made Chicken, Apples and Cream à la Normande which was a huge hit too. So I know that Dorie’s recipes are do-able with kids. As I’ve said before all you really need is a decent recipe and some organizational skills to pull off a “real food” dinner with kids!
So I took advantage of the fact that I was going to be spending last weekend with some dear friends who just happen to have kids who love cooking and asked to borrow them for parts of the afternoon so we could make an all-Dorie meal for everyone! Charlotte (11, who was a master in the kitchen making Mr Neil’s Roast Chicken and who’s written for the blog before when she guest posted from Puerto Rico) was in charge of choosing the recipes. It wasn’t… um… easy….
We had to remind Charlotte (frequently) that she wasn’t to choose dishes that she wanted to try because really she would have chosen them all! With a little parental guidance and some from me as well, we finally settled on goat’s cheese mini puffs, Gorgonzola-apple quiche and green beans with pancetta. A well rounded meal, wouldn’t you say? I like the idea of teaching basic skills like pastry that can be adapted for sweet and savory dishes (and choux is so easy but impressive = bonus!) and hey, who doesn’t love a quiche? A quiche is also a great vehicle for cleaning out the fridge – because you can add anything to the custard depending on what you have on hand. With a choux pastry and a shortcrust pastry up your sleeve, you can go far!
We started with the choux pastry…. Charlotte did an amazing job…
No, we didn’t have the plain piping tip on hand (not everyone has multiple piping tips in their house!) but that’s ok. Teaching kids how to cook is just as much about teaching them to make do with what equipment they have. These kids did a wonderful job!
We prepped the green beans and (home-cured) bacon…
And the end result?
Gosh now that’s quite a fancy meal, isn’t it? All prepped by kids 12 and under. With very minimal help, just a few pointers here and there. All the adults were very impressed with the meal that just sort of appeared on the table NOT prepped by them. It was a nice early Mothers’ Day gift, wouldn’t you say?
Kids CAN cook real food – you just have to let them try. Imagine if Around my French Table and other cookbooks were required reading in high school? For now, I know that Charlotte, Patrick, James and Sophia are well on their way to being awesome in the kitchen! Charlotte now has her own copy of Around my French Table too 🙂
Check out what the other Doristas think every kid should know how to make on the site today!
Want to get cooking with kids? Jamie Oliver’s official Food Revolution Day recipes are a great place to start! Happy Food Revolution Day 2014!
French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Go on, treat yourself then join us here!
Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca and The Book Depository are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price.
Canadians: Win a KitchenAid® 9-Speed Architect Hand Mixer and one copy of At Home with Lynn Crawford. Closes Monday May 19th 2014 at 6pm EST. Details here.