Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Days of Culinary Adventures for Boys: Kitchen Boot Camp

Just a little note: The handsome boys in the above picture are Josiah and his cousin, Cade.

Welcome to Day 1 of my 5 Days of Culinary Adventures for Boys.

All week long I will be providing resources and tips for fun in the kitchen. I've also created a few printables on the way you can download.

Kitchen Basics can mean different things to different people. Maybe your “kitchen basics” include teaching your son to roll out a perfect pie crust or season a pot of chili. I am going to start with some of the simple stuff everyone needs to know when working in a kitchen.  

Kitchen Safety
Let’s face it. The kitchen can be a dangerous playground. There has to be rules. Whether you present those rules formally (which I’ve done) or talk about them informally while cooking (which I do) it matters not. 

1.      You can print off a copy of our own personal Kitchen Safety Rules.

2.      This is a nice copy of general kitchen safety rules (along with some food safety guidelines)
3.      Here is a coloring page that also encourages the “coloree” to find things that could be harmful.

Food Safety
You don’t necessarily want to add salmonella to your list of spelling words this week. There are some important rules when working with food. I have found it most effective to talk about food safety while we are preparing a dish. However, there are some really terrific resources that would be great to use as supplemental resources or even in a nutrition unit.
1. (which a nice site) has this great page on food safety. There is a little bit of something here for grades PreK-5.
2.      This is an interactive quiz that teaches food safety. Good times.
3.      Here are a bunch of downloadable materials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety department. Scroll down just a bit for the good stuff. The downloads are also available in Spanish…perfect to practice those foreign language skills!
4.      This site is a gem. Click Music up at the time and choose your medium (listen or watch). I have to say that Stomache Tonight left me rolling. Josiah is ready to make his own parody.

 Below is a video from Jaime Oliver's Youtube channel. See if your young cook can spot all of the food safety "no-no's"  this girl makes while cooking.


This is a fun video concerning the 5 second rule.

So what kinds of basic dishes or skills are important for you to pass on? There were a few things I made sure Josiah could manage early on. Making a peanut butter sandwich was high on my list.
No matter what age your fella might be...there is always something in the kitchen he can help with.

 Take a look-see at the list below. If you don’t already, start incorporating these things into your meal preparation.
1.      Clean Machine. I think learning to wipe off counters and the table is a wonderful skill to start with. Give that baby a wet rag. He might eat it, but we all have to start with something.
2.      Lettuce Lubber. You really can’t mess up lettuce. Tearing lettuce is wonderful for little hands.
3.      Scrub-A-Dub. My Mom-in-law got me a wonderful vegetable scrubber. It makes scrubbing those potatoes quick work for Josiah. Washing and rinsing fruits and veggies is easy stuff for any age.
4.      Peel Away. The vegetable peeler is our friend. It’s amazing.
5.      Pouring and Mixing. They don’t need to know how to read to be able to stir a spoon or pour a cup of flour into a bowl. It will make them feel like big stuff.
6.      Juice Like a Man. Juicing is the big time. The electric ones are snazzy, but get an old fashioned one. They will feel quite accomplished.
7.      Spread that Bread! I’m telling you! This one was high on my list! Peanut butter, butter, jelly…it’s all good.
8.      Rolling in the dough. This was another early conquest. Josiah loves biscuits. He’s become an expert dough roller.
9.      What’s on the Menu? Josiah planned all the recipe challenges for this week. He feels really accomplished when he can help plan a meal.
10.   Here are few others: kneading dough, gathering ingredients, washing dishes (you betcha), measuring out ingredients…and whatever else fits into your life.

Fixin' the Favorites
Some of the easiest lessons have come from teaching Josiah how to cook some of his favorite dishes.
Think of some of your son's most favorite dishes. How can he help in preparing it?
Now my son would be perfectly happy with Poptarts for breakfast for the rest of his life. He’s got a sweet tooth that just won’t quit. This is not on the plan. Most mornings, I make him scrambled eggs and bacon. Mornings that we have more time, I make pancakes. Not only that, but I’ve taught him how to make scrambled eggs and pancakes. He can’t do it without some supervision, but we’re working on total breakfast autonomy. One of these days the boy will be a man. And he will know how to make his family breakfast.

Pancakes are one Josiah’s favorite foods. For years, I have been sneaky with them. Josiah has just assumed that this is how everyone make’s pancakes. For the purpose of this recipe, I will leave the baby food alone and give you the real deal.  Even when he was little he could help measure ingredients and stir. Now he's moved on to the griddle.

Please ignore my kitchen table. In my defense it was a deep cleaning day. However, I do have to admit that the white skirt you see on the far left hand side has been there for a while. It's some mending I have to do for my Mom.

 You can click below for the old Betty Crocker recipe we use for perfect pancakes or use your family favorite. This biscuit recipe is also a favorite in our house.

Now aren't these pretty pancakes? 

Stay tuned tomorrow when I discuss The Tools of the Trade. Here is the pancake recipe as promised.

I am joining fellow bloggers for the 5 Day Blog Hop! Please take time to check out:

 Beth @ Acorn Hill Academy ~ Nature Study
Aurie @ Our Good Life ~ Photography Tips and Tricks
Dinah @ The Traveling Classroom ~  Tips for Learning a Second Language
Julie @ Nurturing Learning ~ Art Resources
Tara @ This Sweet Life ~ Preparing for a New School Year
Sara @ Embracing Destiny ~ Purposeful Living
Beth @ Ozark Ramblings ~  Photoshop Elements for Homeschool
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio ~ Fitting in the Extras

You can find even more bloggers here...

April Blog Hop


  1. I'm the mother of an 11 year old boy. He knows how to scramble eggs and make pizza (that is load the breadmaker and then roll out and top the finished dough).

  2. These are great tips, Rebekah! My son loves to help in the kitchen, but I'm not as good about letting him as I could be. I will have to remember these and turn him loose!


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