When boys and girls enter the middle-school years, their horizons expand in many ways, including the foods they are willing to try.
You can encourage your kids and their friends to become adventurous eaters by offering to facilitate an after-school cooking club in your home, in their school or in partnership with the parents of your child’s friends.
For the past three years I directed the Stallion Cooking Club, an after-school program for middle-school youth in Silver Spring, Maryland. The group pictured, called Team Banana, gathered once a week for six weeks to learn basic home cooking skills and to explore new and exciting taste sensations.
Whole Foods’ Green Pea Guacamole was a favorite snack. It’s an interesting twist on classic guacamole, served with toasted pita chips. Peas keep the dip a luscious green color, and you can taste the creamy avocado, too.
The program was funded by a grant through the local management board, the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families. Pictured here are members of Team Banana. Teams Apple and International met on other weekdays to learn how to work with a variety of foods. Each team prepared a dinner party for their families on the club’s final meeting day.
Whole-wheat pasta primavera with turkey meatballs, roasted green chili, and white bean dip, and fresh pear slices with cinnamon creme chantilly are just a few of the dishes the groups prepared to treat their families.
What snacks do your kids and their friends like to make?
About the author: Sheila Crye is a Principal at Young Chefs, Inc. A graduate of Columbia University, she spent 14 years in registered nursing and 13 years in youth culinary education. When she served as chair of the Kids in the Kitchen committee of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, she organized an heirloom recipe and story writing contest for 700 New Orleans schoolchildren.