Cooking with kids is a great way to expose them to new flavors and cultures. It teaches them math andscience in a way that they don’t even realize. It brings families closer and having family dinners has shown to reduce depression and drug use, and make for happier, healthier kids.
There is a wonderful not-so-new concept that is catching on like the latest cute cat video on YouTube. This experience is bringing communities together and helping families bond.
Once a week, multi-generational families from a community come together and cook with local foods from their Farmer’s Market to make wonderfully nutritious meals. There are conversations over chopping carrots about the community, families, and cooking. Then everyone sits down and has a fantastic meal together and have lively discussions about anything. At then end, everyone cleans up, and takes home leftovers to freeze for easier and healthier meals during the week.
Parents just don’t have much time in the evening to prepare such time intensive dishes, after work and between homework, laundry, dishes, and bedtime. Home Economics and Cooking classes have been cut from most school districts’ budgets, so where do our kids learn to prepare barley, or homemade apple pie?
Swedish’s Ballard Teen Health Center, The Ballard Farmer’s Market, and Seattle-King County Public Health have created a Community Kitchen for Teens at Ballard High School. There is a local chef guiding the 15 to 20 teenagers in the kitchen. While they have the recipes and find their way around the kitchen, he guides them with ideas and tips. The meal of Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Barley with Collard Greens and Caramelized Onions, and Homemade Apple Pie was fantastic.
There are resources on the Community Kitchens Northwest website on getting a community kitchen started in your area. I will be working to get one started at my son’s high school.
If you are interested in donating items to help the Ballard High School Community Kitchen, they are in need of a few items. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is their wish list:
- Chef & Paring Knives
- Food Processor
- Baking Dishes
- Flat Roasting Pans
- Wooden Spoons
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Serving Utensils
- Waffle Maker
- Electric Skillet
- Pot Holders
- Japanese Mandolins
Food is Our Common Ground, a Universal Experience.
- James Beard