December in Review
Bad weather, sickness and special events caused some of the children to miss their regularly scheduled cooking class in December, but hopefully, the winter vacation days permitted many of you to try December’s recipes at home. I enjoyed a lovely holiday and hope you all did as well. One of my cooking adventures was making three types of tamales with my daughter, my son’s girlfriend, and her mother for New Year’s Eve. Four women spent five hours chopping, shredding, mixing, patting, folding, tying. The end product was outstanding but I don’t plan on making them again until I have more helpers and more counter space. Once upon a time I had thought about making tamales with the children. This was before I had ever made them myself. Next time a neighbor comes to your door offering to sell tamales for $2.00 a piece, think, “What a bargain! I’ll take a dozen.”
January Cooking Projects
January 5–9 Hot Fruity Turnovers
January 12–16 Gingerbread Boys and Girls
January 20–23 Potato Soup
January 26–30 Roasted Vegetables
The Hot Fruity Turnovers are a simple way to make a breakfast treat with the ingredients on hand. I have never tried this recipe with the preschoolers before, but I predict it is going to be a hit with the children. The possiblities are only limited by your own imagination.
We will be reading the Gingerbread Man folktale during the second week in January. The repetition in this story provides a wonderful opportunity for preschool families to retell the story together around the table. While eating your gingerbread cookies, you might try recounting this classic tale with your child. I would be interested to know if any children are able to repeat the story in part or in whole.
The potato soup and the roasted root vegetables will be consumed in class by the children, but if this year’s children are anything like the children in previous years, you will probably be surprised by requests to make these recipes at home. Yes, vegetables, as in potato, carrot, turnip, and yam! Many children are surprised to find they like these foods. It is amazing what a child will try after they have spent the time to prepare it. Children will also get to vote on their favorite roasted vegetable. Results will be post by the south entry.
Cooking With Children Tip
When allowing you child to help you by measuring ingredients, I have found giving the child a small, heavy cup or bowl to rest the measuring spoon on while measuring vanilla or other extracts greatly reduces the stress of parent and child by providing two things. One, a firm surface for the spoon to rest on gives the child greater ease in holding the spoon steady and therefore reduces spills. Two, the parent is at ease knowing that if there is a spill the extra extract can be salvaged from the cup and returned to the bottle. I also inform the child that the vanilla will come out fast so pour it slowly. Furthermore, keep an old empty bottle around that can be filled with only a small amount of extract. I never give a preschool child a full bottle of vanilla extract. This is part of the “prepared environment” Maria Montessori is famous for. By preparing the environment for success the parent is reducing the stress involved in learning. Reducing stress generally makes for happier experiences and happier experiences make for more interest in cooking and working together. Happy meals to you.