November 15, 2016

Safe Food Prep When Kids Cook

This article is reprinted from an article I wrote for the parenting group on in 2010.

Food comes to mind when I think about the holidays. Casseroles. Roasts. Ham. Appetizers and finger foods. Cookies and cakes. Now that I have children, my appreciation for family traditions and the food we eat around the holidays has deepened as I try to impart our traditional recipes to my children for their lifetime of memories.
I enjoy cooking and have been teaching my children about the joys of cooking at home. Step by step, I have guided them through many a meal, treat or snack. I suppose that’s why I was impressed with the homework project that was sent home with my son this week. It ties in nicely to the holiday season and helps me to deepen my son’s culinary experiences while teaching him a new lesson.
The directions given to us were that we needed to allow our first grader to write the recipe for his choice of holiday food from a list he created. I think we lucked out, because the two foods on my son’s list that were circled were “pizzas” and “jalow.” Assuming that jalow is JELL-O, we’re in business. Now all I have to do is to allow him to write, in his own words, the step by step process of preparing his dishes.
I have been working in the kitchen with my kids since they were old enough to hold a spoon, even if that meant only smearing peanut butter on bread or frosting cookies. I even signed them up for a cooking class at the community center last year, although I suspect that was due to the fact that the two-hour session allowed me some much needed down-time while they were in class.
What I haven’t harped on them about, though, is thorough surface prep. Yes I’ve talked about washing their hands and cleaning their work area, but I haven’t focused on a thorough cleaning. This might be due to the fact that I am not as likely to actually consume the wonderful gourmet selections they have prepared, but it is still something I need to teach them as much as I have harped on proper hand-washing or tooth-brushing skills!
Did you know that one single bacteria cell can become more than 8 million cells in less than 24 hours and that the number of bacteria it takes to make people sick can range from as few as 10 up to millions. It’ll be easy to teach my children more about this important step, making our holiday eating much safer. It’s really not much more challenging that using hot soapy water followed by disinfectant!
Thankfully adding an additional step to his recipe prep is easier than figuring out what "hadrg" or "bagin" is on my son's list! Thankfully neither of those items was circled, although I suspect that bagin is actually bacon!
Here are some great resources for getting your kids into the kitchen this holiday season:
To get your kids cooking, check out the kids cooking classes available at Sprouting Chefs or even your local recreation center. My children took their Little Crumbs Cooking Class through the Ypsilanti Township Recreation Department.
For great recipes for children, I often turn to the recipes I read about in Family Fun Magazine. Their magazine and online reference offers kid-friendly recipes, easy how-to directions and simple recipes for kids of all ages.
Information on proper cleaning of food prep surfaces is available at Disinfect for Health. Parents can also get a free refrigerator magnet featuring simple directions for disinfecting kitchen surfaces to remind young budding chefs.

No comments:

Post a Comment