Monday, September 14, 2015

Cooking and Curriculum Connections

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Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!

My kids are not little any more, and I'd hoped that maybe by this age one of them would have developed such a love for all things kitchen that they'd actually want to take over meal prep or menu planning from me. Sadly, I've not been successful (so far) in my bid to get myself out of the kitchen. At least not to that degree. They do almost all the dishes, which is a huge bonus, so who am I to complain? My realistic goal is that each of them will be comfortable with at least the basics of meal planning, cooking, and food shopping and storage by the time they move out. I did a little bit of Home Ec with my daughter when she was younger, and definitely capitalized on her interest in baking, but other than that I haven't done much in the way of formal education with cooking. Even though I'm not a great cook myself, or truly adventurous in my own food choices, here's what we have done to get the kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards and fridge.

Basics - one little perk of homeschooling is that we eat most of our meals at home and kids are more often around during the meal prep times, which means they are available to help out. My kids started getting (or helping to get) their own breakfasts and lunches when they were little. I don't believe that I gave it a second thought, but one time when relatives were visiting years ago, they commented on the fact that my boys were making their own sandwiches and toast, and using the microwave starting at 4 and 5 years old. Turns out that kids who need to go to school and take along a bag lunch don't get nearly as much opportunity to build their own ham and cheese sammiches. Huh. As the years have gone by, my kids naturally graduated to fixing their own lunches when needed, helping with all kinds of baking and meal prep, and getting a response like, "well, go make some yourself" if they wanted brownies or cookies or quesadillas or whatever.

Food for thought - many years ago when my kids were little, I took to heart the suggestions of including food as part of education. Meaning we tried things like making and eating our own hardtack during history studies (easy, but not tasty), and constructing a "volcano" out of ice cream during geology class (so much fun, and extremely tasty!), or making our own soda during chemistry class.
Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!   Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!
Our culinary efforts related to our studies have become slightly more sophisticated over the years, with things like our peaceful Tea Party and Route 66 Diner night during the year we did America the Beautiful from Notgrass.

Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!

Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!   Cooking and Curriculum Connections on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - getting big kids into the kitchen for more than just raiding the cupboards has been a challenge since we have picky eaters and a general lack of enthusiasm for cooking. Here's some ideas that are working!

A couple years ago we studied the History and Cultures of the Americas, and we decided to make an effort to include the foods of many of the countries we studied. The result was Eating the Americas, and we challenged ourselves to try some new dishes and some twists on familiar foods. We had some winners and some losers, and a lot in between, but it made for some interesting meals and snacks!

Eating the Americas | Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Last year, Kennady wanted to focus on the cultural geography of Europe, so it made sense to embark on another dinner-plate tour as well. We didn't try nearly as many recipes as we read and discussed (and saved on Pinterest boards), but we made a decent effort. You can see what we did by checking out my  "A Taste of Europe" posts. Once again, some new favorites and some things that were just "meh" but hey, at least we tried some new things!
A Taste of Europe | Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Early in the year, I realized that we could probably make an entire study of breads from different parts of the world, and since I do like baking bread (and especially like eating bread!), we chose recipes for our European Bread Basket too. Again, not as many as I would have liked!

Homeschool Coffee Break: European Bread Basket @ http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/search/label/European%20Bread%20Basket

 All this geographical recipe-hunting and food research turned out to be a big help to me - even when the kids didn't actively help with making the foods - because I am not otherwise very creative with meal planning. Or very good at it. Actually, if it wasn't for some of these school-inspired attempts, I'd probably make the same dozen dinners over and over again. Plus I'm a picky eater, as are two of my kids, so my default would be to stay with what's pretty safe. But the effort of setting a good example when it comes to good meals and being willing to try new things encourages me to step out of my comfort zone at least a little and put on a brave face as we try to figure out a new recipe. It's the perfect impetus to put something new on our menu every now and again, and force me to think ahead a bit when meal planning. I can get some input from the kids on what they'd like to try, and what they're willing to try; and I can entice them to help out in the kitchen with the promise that "Yes, this counts as school."

So what's on the menu for this school year? Well... Kennady is doing the remainder of that Cultural Geography course, which means we'll have a chance to explore foods from Africa, Asia, and Oceania; and we'll take another look at foods from North and South America. Since we didn't try nearly everything from Europe that looked interesting, we can do a few more recipes from there as well. I'm gathering ideas that Kennady and I will look at on our Pinterest boards; and I'm starting to see that simply trying tea or coffee as it's preferred in different parts of the world would be an interesting project - and how perfect for us, coffee lovers that we are! Check out our Pinterest boards and keep an eye on my blog as we go through the school year - I will be sure to share what we learn about different parts of the world and the foods they enjoy!

Our collection of ideas on Pinterest - always changing!
A Taste of Europe
Eating the Americas
Oceania - Food and Fun
Asia - Food
Africa - Food and Fun

You'll see that a lot of my pins are from a favorite resource of mine, the blog Global Table Adventure. Other favorite recipe books include: Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students; International Cookbook for Kids; The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids; Emeril's There's a Chef in My World; Eat Your Way Around the World; Passport on a Plate; and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I stick with cookbooks geared for kids, even though my kids are old enough to use a 'regular' recipe book, and even when I'm doing the cooking, because the recipes are well-explained and there's lots of background information.





 



Some of my related coffee breaks:
Tasting History
Science Class = Delicious!
1930s Family Game Night

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for an entire collection of ideas for Cooking with Kids in this month's Crew Round-up, which will be live on Wednesday, September 16th.

Cooking with Kids

This post is also linked at the Coffee & Conversation Link Party at PatAndCandy.com
Mom's Morning Coffee

Hearts for Home Blog Hop


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3 comments:

Annette said...

we're drawing around europe this year. Going to add a cooking element to it as well. :)

I am annette @ a net in time

Gena at ichoosejoy.org said...

These cooking ideas are so fun! I'm not very good in the kitchen, though.

3gigglygirlsathome said...

What a great set of ideas and resources. Pinning this to keep handy when I need some ideas. Thanks!! - Lori

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