Posts Tagged ‘cooking for teenagers’
With all of us being so aware with just how much it costs to feed a family, giving your children an appreciation of the cost of food is essential.
Usually, but not always, it is cheaper to eat at home, and I thought it is worth sharing how I got Claire to figure that out for herself…
While Claire was making bacon and egg pie – I was in the kitchen and we were just chatting away when I commented I thought it might be interesting to see how much it cost to make. Not being at all interested in the cost of anything that I paid for, I was surprised when she agreed. Together we chatted away and divided the cost of the pastry by two, halved the egg carton cost, worked out the proportion of the pack of bacon she had used, and made a calculated guess of how much the potatoes and tomatoes cost. She mentally added it all up and divided it by how many hungry kids she thought it would feed. She came to the conclusion that it was a pretty fair price and when she is living in a flat that would be an economical meal to make for dinner. We left it at that.
A few days later she burst through the front door hardly able to contain herself… “Mum I was in a café in town and I saw a scungy piece of bacon and egg pie for sale. It cost MORE for one piece than it cost for me to make it for six people – and it looked all dry like it had been made a few days ago”.
She got it. By herself. Sow the seed and they will work it out.
If you read Claire’s latest newsletter Kids just wanna have fun you will see she finds it entertaining but gets turned off by high pressure, high stress cooking. Whilst not having done any formal research, I suggest this is a typical response from many kids.
In the UK they call it ‘food porn’ – Brits love to watch it, but few take action. Undoubtedly all these food programs bring a heightened awareness of food – and that is a good thing – but the subliminal messages to kids is ‘cooking is scary’. We need a reassuring approach for 99% of kids who don’t aspire to be chefs but need encouraged to whip up a meal.
How can we help your teen?
Claire’s teen-to-teen newsletter and her blog builds trust with teens to inspire and engage. We are not just about recipes and cooking. We offer the whole package – an ordinary teen role model (not a chef) to inspire, encourage and kids to take responsibility for what they eat. Who’s Cooking Tonight? is a key resource.
How can we help you?
Check out the work we did with groups of teens to discover what parents could do to make kids want to cook. It’s advice you can’t afford to ignore.
A BIG thanks to all of you who voted, or encouraged kids to vote, for Who’s Cooking Tonight? in the Readers Choice section of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. Voting closed yesterday and we are thrilled to say that we had 41% of the vote – the closest rival was on 20% – so looking good – BUT they still have to count all the votes from booksellers and libraries so fingers crossed we can hold that lead!!!
The results are announced at the Awards ceremony on the 18 May – so will find out how we got on in the non-fiction section then too…
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT – I REMAIN VERY EXCITED AT THE POTENTIAL IMPACT WE CAN MAKE IF WE CAN MANAGE TO WIN AN AWARD – BUT NO SMALL FEAT GETTING THIS FAR!!!!
We now clearly have two lines of strategy and communication…
- adult to adult (www.TeachChildrenToCook.com – you are here!!)
- teen to teen (www.ItsMyTurnToCookTonight.com)
These both work in tandem to support each other. I think the easiest way to share what we are doing is to show you diagrammatically… (if the font is too small for you to read , just click on them to enlarge)
So off each site we have two blogs, two newsletters, some specific resources and also a lot that are in common – like the cookbooks, YouTubes.
Vision : to help parents and teachers teach kids to cook
Vision : to inspire teenagers to cook
I really value the feedback and suggestions, so please ‘ keep your ideas coming’ … This is such a big and important area to tackle, I can use all the help you can offer!!
As I reflect back on 2010 I realize just how far this teenage cooking project has come. It has been a very steep learning curve for Claire and I – in fact at times I think it is so steep I have needed a rope – and sometimes even crampons!?
Of all the research and focus groups, the most poignant was the work we did to find out what teens think parents had to do if they wanted their kids to cook. We discovered eight key points… (I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were!?!) These points could verge on being precocious – but it certainly helps us as parents if we know what they are thinking!
In their words, this is what parents should do…
1. Let me choose what I cook
2. Get me a recipe that works
3. Have all the ingredients
4. Stay out of the kitchen
5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments
6. Be impressed
7. Don’t nag
8. Cut me a deal!
I thought the points were so vital that Claire made a video clip to share with you…
I am really excited about 2011. There are so many kids eager to get into the kitchen and cook a decent meal. And from the feedback we are continually getting, so many parents keen to encourage kids take charge. Part of it is about ‘letting go and letting our kids get on with it…
We have been overwhelmed at the positive feedback we have been getting from everywhere ( media, teens, parents and teachers) about the new book. Seems we have ‘hit the nerve’ on an issue that has been bothering many of us for a while – ‘how do I ensure my children get basic food skills’??? I am delighted we are able to play a part in getting your child into the kitchen.
We have done so much research and testing for this project that we knew we were on target with teens but an unexpected bonus of the book is the number of men who ‘like the basic food and instructions’ and huge following of younger kids who are using the book too… I especially like this message…
“My 10yr old daughter loves the book and we have made two of the recipes so far, the 7yr son isn’t keen to cook yet but happy to eat it as it comes from the “cool” book” Jane, Christchurch
I love it – to me that sort of unexpected success and feedback is what it is all about!!
Success teaching cooking with children is much more likely if you start off with foods that they really like. In my experience I have found that it is ideal to start with easy kids recipes using familiar foods, like potatoes, which have a wealth of redeeming features. The vast majority of teenagers love the taste of potatoes so you are pitching to a receptive audience.
Taste, ease, nutrition and budget may be high on an adult’s radar of what influences a decision to cook. However, issues like being able impress friends, being able to make yourself look good by having healthy skin, being at a healthy weight, choosing foods which are sustainable, even having recipes electronically rather than on paper – are likely to be jamming the radar of a teenager.
Potatoes have many positive features, being the worlds third biggest food crop their availability and acceptance is well entrenched. The huge advantage of potatoes is that no matter where you live you will always be able to buy locally grown – a feature which has much appeal for our environmentally savvy teens.
From an international perspective potatoes really shine out on a whole raft of environmental issues. The potato plant produces more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Potatoes also require significantly less water to grow than other carbohydrates. On average, it takes 3,000 litres of water to grow 1kg of rice, 500 litres to grow 1kg of wheat and 75 litres for 1kg of potatoes. Plant utilisation is efficient as up to 85% of the potato plant is edible human food, compared to around 50% in cereals.
So when you consider production capability, sustainability and use of world resources it is little wonder that teaching teenagers to cook by using this remarkable food is so effective. For those keen to do their bit for the planet, eating locally grown potatoes is a step in the right direction.
Perhaps of more relevance to adults who want to teach healthy meals for kids is their nutritional status. If you had to write a nutritional CV for potatoes you’d have a rather bulging document. The assets of this rather plain-looking vegetable which is sometimes referred to as humble, show clearly that in nutrition terms they are clearly anything but.
Put succinctly, potatoes are amazingly nutrient and phytonutrients rich, bursting with vitamins and minerals, are virtually fat free, contain no cholesterol and when served in their skins are a great source of fibre. Potatoes have a high satiety index which means they have a key role to play in weight control as they make you feel full for longer.
Versatility also stands out. Whilst a child likes familiarity of foods, they do not want to be bored. Many dishes have potatoes in them, from awesome filled baked potatoes, scrummy soup, to-die-for wedges, to a huge range of salads. Additionally there is the universal attraction that children have for roast, boiled and mashed potatoes.
So why should you start teaching easy kids recipes with potatoes? It’s simple really.
- They like the taste.
- No matter where you live, they are readily available at affordable prices.
- They are great for the planet.
- They are great for them.
- They are familiar and able to be cooked in many ways.
The most important thing is that once a child gains confidence with a food that they like, they will venture on to other foods. Let’s get these kids having some fun, enjoying what they cook, feeling the benefits of eating healthy food and racking up a few successes!
After months of waiting Who’s Cooking Tonight? is finally here! Check this out to see why Claire thinks all these easy kids recipes are a total must have!
Pop over to Claire’s site if you want to have a look at some sample pages and I am sure you will agree – she does not ‘do complicated’ and she has a lot of fun cooking!
Please share this with all your friends with teenage children … you will be doing them a HUGE favor!
From my perspective, as a parent I want to give my kids as many advantages in life as I can. I want my kids to be able to cook because success in any skill builds self esteem and cooking is absolutely no exception. I believe that imparting food skills also fosters personal responsibility so I feel confident that they will be better equipped to look after themselves.
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The last School Holiday Program was a crammed with fun and learning as kids got more food savvy!