Teaching kids how to cook
Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
It seems that for many families these days, the tradition of having regular meals around the family dinner table has long given way to today’s fast-paced lifestyle where drive-thru, frozen food and microwavable meals eaten on the go are the norm.
KIDS CAN COOK
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, July 22-25 (some spaces are still available). A second session takes place Aug. 12-15. The class is for ages 7-11.
Where: Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd.
ART & COOKING CAMP
When: July 29 through Aug. 1. A secon session will be held Aug. 12-15. The camp is for ages 5-10
Where: For the Love of Art Studio, Petaluma
Information and to register: www.angelica5988.wix.com/kidscancook or call 338-3882.
It may not be a big deal for adults, but it’s creating a generation of children who have no idea how to use anything beyond a toaster oven, let alone cook a meal from scratch. Petaluma nutritionist Angelica Martin hopes to change that through Kids Can Cook, a grassroots movement she’s started to educate children on basic cooking skills and how to create healthy meals at home.
“Families in our culture these days usually have both parents working, so they don’t always have time to make the best food choices for their children, or prepare them the most wholesome foods,” said Martin, who is teaching a four-day cooking camp for kids on July 22. “Kids are often given food that’s convenient by their parents or caregivers, and I think it’s sad that kids are completely reliant on adults to make these food choices for them. What I really want to impart to kids through the camp are the skills they need to play a role in meal preparation at home.”
Instead of the burden of meal time being on the parents, Martin hopes to get children involved in the planning and preparing process.
“Kids can get home and look at what they have and say, ‘let’s make something,’” said Martin. “A lot of kids have tuned out of the meal time process and think it’s just their parents’ responsibility to feed them. I hope that through the cooking camp kids get excited about using the new skills they learn in their homes, so they can play a role in what they’re eating.”
Martin’s own love for cooking began while she was going to college at San Francisco State University and working as a nanny. She had to cook for the family and realized she loved it so much that she wanted to do it professionally.
Martin earned a degree from SFSU in nutrition science and quickly discovered that she didn’t want to approach nutrition and cooking from a medical or clinical perspective. Instead, she wanted teach others the concept of healthy eating and how to integrate it into every day life.
“I think the only way to do that is if people know how to cook for themselves,” said Martin. “I also love working with kids. I was a teacher this past year in an after-school enrichment program with sixth through eighth graders. I love the teaching aspect of cooking because it’s hands-on.”
The Kids Can Cook camp will teach children ages 7-11 basic cooking skills, from handling food safely and cutting with a knife, to using heating elements safely and measuring properly. The goal is to build basic skills, which Martin will do through showing them how to prepare a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal.
“Over the course of the workshop and through each meal they will explore the different skills for each component of the meal,” said Martin. “For example, the fruit and yogurt parfait has a focus on cutting foods while an egg dish focuses on proper seasoning. I hope to take them through the experience of making a meal from scratch while giving them confidence in some basic skills.”
In addition to teaching cooking skills that kids will use throughout their adult lives, Martin emphasizes that preparing food together as a family and eating together is beneficial in many ways. It’s less expensive to cook at home, and food prepared from scratch is more likely to not contain the many additivies, preservatives and chemicals in prepared foods.
“From a social standpoint, there are studies that have shown that kids who sit down to eat with their families are proven to do better in school and be more adjusted in terms of general happiness in life and in their social lives,” said Martin. “Meal time with the family is a ritual that people can get back to.”
While the Kids Can Cook camp starts this week, with a few spots still open for last-minute registration, the camp will be offered again Aug. 12-15.
Martin is also partnering up with local art instrutor Jennifer Richardson for an art and cooking combination camp being held July 29 through Aug. 2 at the Love of Art Studio in Petaluma.
“It will be less cooking intensive, but have a lot of hands-on work assemlbing food in creative ways and making food inspired art,” said Martin.
For more information on Kids Can Cook and to sign up for the camps, visit www.angelica5988.wix.com/kidscancook or call 338-3882.
(Contact Yovanna Bieberich at yovanna.bieber firstname.lastname@example.org)
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