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Cooking for or with Children – 10 resources you need!

An Overview:

Perhaps you feel as if you can’t cook and recipes never turn out right? Or you’ve been cooking and your kid loves to help but you need help facilitating this? Either way, we have a guide that covers parents and children beginning to cook, intermediate level cooks and resources for more advanced cooking! This article is for those who are already cooking for/with children and those who want to start.

For some parents, home cooked meals are a necessity. After all, cooking at home is less expensive than continuously eating out and much more nutritious. For other parents, they may want to home cook meals but time is of the essence… they feel like they don’t have it and rely on frozen foods. For another category of parents and their children, cooking is a luxury – they have the time and the resources to do it and find it therapeutic. This is an important distinction. And, I want to acknowledge each distinctive category so that those of you reading this blog feel heard.

A case for home cooking

As i mentioned in my overview, cooking at home is less expensive and more nutritious than eating out. Home Cooking allows you to be in control of your dietary restrictions and preferences. Cooking at home allows you to maintain a balanced diet and be more aware of portions. Common excuses like “It’s too time consuming” or “I’m not a good cook” can put you off. The resources below (chefs, recipes and community cooking) will provide otherwise!

10 Resources you need 

1. Chef Nadiya Hussain’s “Time to Eat” on Netflix:

Nadiya wants to help families who are short on time cook healthy yet cost-effective meals. She says “Busy lives deserve delicious meals” and brings this same zest for food onto her BBC cooking show. The show reveals what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to prepare the food that is so readily available to us at supermarkets. Hussain shares her time-saving tricks and top cooking hacks for speedy preparation yet fresh flavour. 

2. The Food52 Community:

Food 52 is one of my favourite online cooking resources. It is a website dedicated to thousands of recipes contributed by a community of over 13 million people! The recipes are cooked by the editors and are test-kitchen approved, guaranteeing success each time (and wasting less resources!). In 2013, Food 52 launched their own shop through which members of the community can purchase top-notch kitchen utensils and homeware goods. My favourite section is the “Genius Recipes” tag which features recipes that are quick, easy to make and memorable. 

3. Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cookbooks:

Simple and Plenty are my top two picks. Ottolenghi’s restaurants are an absolute treat. His food is brilliant for the vegetarian and vegan palette but he also does a lot of local and seasonal cooking (e.g. seafood). He is a wizard in the kitchen and his introduction to the Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean palette (spices such as Zaatar) is unparalleled. 

4. Smitten Kitchen’s Blog:

Deb Perelman is the author, chef and creative mind behind Smitten Kitchen. She succinctly describes her blog as “fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City.” Deb’s recipes are neatly organised into tabs on the website. These range from ‘5 ingredients or fewer’ to ‘Thanksgiving’ and ‘Date Night’. She has it all. I love the Smitten Kitchen brownie recipes, there are so many.

5. BBC Good Food:

I’m a big fan of the BBC Good Food magazine. The food is always beautifully styled, visually appealing, exquisitely photographed and triple tested! Recipes are well explained and thus easy to follow. As a result, I like their suggestions for Kids’ cooking recipes. This list includes a simple stir-fry, easy banana pancakes and vanilla cupcakes amongst other recipes. These recipes are very easy to follow.

6. Taste of Home:

This website offers a similar taste of home: comfort. The range is extraordinary. Those who are just beginning to cook at home, cook with their kids or supervise their kids’ cooking can use these recipes. While those with a more advanced repertoire can use the ‘Best-Loved Grand Prize Winning Recipes’ found here

7. NYT Cooking:

Recipes selected throughout the week by Sam Sifton, the food editor of the New York Times. Their quarantine cooking section offers a refreshing take on how to do easy, comforting and free. Check it out here.

8. (MY favorite) Indian (pastry) chefs:

Karishma Sakhrani was on MasterChef and makes the most delectable food. As I tend to have more of a sweet tooth, I love her site for it’s blog element. My top recipes? Definitely her double-chocolate granola recipe and the heavenly avocado, strawberry, feta salad on her instagram. And, of course, Shivesh Bhatia. His website ‘Bake with Shivesh’ is inspiring because of its humble beginning and Bhatia’s lack of formal “pastry chef” training. His eggless baking tips make his content more relatable to the Indian palette. And his instagram feed is gorgeous! Think vivid colours, delicious recipes and step-by-step instructions.

9. Molly Yeh’s cooking show Girl Meets Farm:

She is hilarious, honest and innovative with her use of farm ingredients in the kitchen. Yeh is an American cookbook author, blogger and host of the popular Food Network run tv-show. She has Jewish and South-Asian roots and incorporates the cultural balance of growing up with this heritage into her Mid-Western life. Her cakes are a gift to mankind. I know that probably strikes you as an exaggeration but she’s your best bet when experimenting with a recipe that you’ve never tried before. Why? Her cakes are always sublime! I love her chocolate hazelnut cake with hazelnut buttercream (nutella just got a level up) and her classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I made both recently for family birthdays and they were a hit.

10. Massimo Bottura’s episode on Chef’s Table, Netflix:

Massimo Bottura is an exceptional Italian chef, author and humanitarian. His episode on Chef’s Table is nothing short of soulful as he explains his Italian heritage and trajectory to New York where he met his wife. He owns Osteria Francescana one of the most renowned restaurants in the world: A three-star Michelin. Bottura’s ‘Kitchen Quarantine’ series on his instagram page reveal his favourite recipes and down-to-earth sense of humour. 

Conclusion

Although I am glad that quarantine has us more proactive in the kitchen than ever before… it is important to consider food inequality. This article by Nikita Parikh, TFI alumnus, highlights the ‘Social Distance between Me and You.’ Similarly, the work by Indian Non-Profit Khaana Chahiye highlights the need for equitable food distribution. Please be conscious of minimising your food waste. A contribution to your local soup kitchen or kindness in your community can go a long way. 

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