Great Gifts For The Emerging Chef

Great Gifts For The Emerging Chef

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My daughter is 6 years old, which means she is at the age to show interest in cooking and baking with her momma. She is already asking to help whenever I’m cooking dinner, and it is so much fun to have her by my side in the kitchen. I admit, I still get anxious whenever we are working with knives or hot water or oil. Not wanting to have to run her to the ER whenever we cook dinner, but also not wanting to stifle her creativity, I often wish I knew more kid friendly recipes that she could take the lead in preparing.

Now we have the American Girl Cookbook from Williams Sonoma! It is packed with simple, tasty recipes for everything from snacks and side dishes, soups, salads, and main dishes perfect for young girls and tweens.

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As I looked through the book, I was especially delighted to find tips for heat and knife safety and a bold “helping hand” symbol on any recipe that needs assistance from an adult, but that there was also encouragement to learn to use the tools properly and continue to build skill in the kitchen. The recipe instructions are meant for those who are learning to cook, and even provide explanations of various techniques for cutting, mixing, and otherwise preparing the ingredients.

My daughter and I went through the book and found a recipe we wanted to try. Spaghetti is a favorite in our house, so we chose Spaghetti & Meatballs. I usually cook a meat sauce instead of making meatballs. This recipe is simple, but very hands-on, which was a big plus. My daughter was able to use her hands to combine ingredients for the meatballs and then shape the mixture into balls. After she placed them onto a baking sheet, I put them into the oven.

Normally, when I cook on my own, I’m doing multiple things at once. For example, if I had cooked this recipe without my daughter, I would have been making the sauce and the meatballs and the pasta simultaneously. However, that is a skill that took a long time to build. For the purpose of allowing my daughter to participate in each part of the recipe, we followed the directions step-by-step, which meant making each part of the recipe separately instead of all at once. It forced me to slow down and really enjoy this time with my daughter, and she loved that she was in charge of cooking the meal from start to finish! We can’t wait to try every recipe in this book!

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Another thing that makes cooking enjoyable is having the right tools. I usually go for utilitarian kitchen gadgets, and my polyethylene cutting boards are my tried and true. Quality materials are a must, but sometimes it helps to just have fun tools and gadgets as well. We are all fans of Marvel comics in this family, so I thought a Captain America cutting board would be fun for my daughter to use as she is learning how to be a little chef. The tempered glass cutting board looks just like Cap’s shield. My daughter thought it was pretty cool.

I’ve never owned a glass cutting board before. One thing I like about tempered glass is that it is quite sturdy and it is easy to clean and sanitize. I wasn’t prepared for how loud it was each time the knife made a cut. Thwap-thwap-thwap! Luckily, no one in this family has sensitive hearing. The other thing about glass – I read that it causes knife blades to become dull much more quickly than wood, bamboo, or poly cutting boards. Overall, this cutting board is a fun addition to our kitchen arsenal, but in the future I will likely use it as a serving platter for cold meats and cheeses.

You can find the American Girl Cookbook at Williams Sonoma.  You can find the Captain America cutting board at Amazon.

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