Wednesday, October 21, 2009


by Ellen McGlynn

This week I am busy planning a Harry Potter themed cooking class for nine neighborhood children, ages 5 to 11. I’m always excited at the prospect of entertaining kids in this fashion for one sole reason: they seem to love it! There is one comment I always hear from the parents whenever I post pictures of my cooking classes, and that is how focused and interested the children look. I used to think it was just my child with the inordinate interest in food, but it turns out I am surrounded by food-inspired children. Could it just be the neighborhood I’m living in? That’s a strong possibility, but I don’t think so.

All around the nation, a movement has been brewing for years, and its foundation lies in not just talking about children eating better but actually involving children in more hands-on food activities to help drive them away from processed foods and make them more discriminating eaters with a genuine appreciation for  food sources and food history. Cooking is but one way of accomplishing that task.

In our neck of the woods, there is not much available in the way of hands-on children’s cooking classes, which is why I have taken it upon myself to help fill in the gaps. If you are interested in cooking classes for your child, check out the following great websites. You may actually get lucky and find a class near you.
One of my personal favorite websites, and not only because it’s a product of one of the best cooking schools in America, is This is a great website for homeschoolers and it also provides links to children’s classes that are available at the Culinary Institute of America. Take a look!

If you are a business or program that currently offers regularly-scheduled classroom-style children’s cooking classes, and you have a great website you’d like to share, we would love to hear from you. Just click on the light orange Comments link below this post. Your website’s link may get posted on our sidebar under Children’s Cooking Classes.

Use any packaged pie crust mix, roll out thin and cut large enough to line 4" tart pan. Sprinkle 1 level Tablespoon rolled oats in bottom of tart shell. Add a pinch of ginger and a pinch of lemon zest. Pour 1/4 cup golden syrup over oats (I was able to find mine in the United Kingdom section of Wegmans International Foods department). Add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on top of the syrup. Sprinkle one more level Tablespoon of oats over the syrup and lemon. Add another pinch of ginger and another pinch of lemon zest. To give it that real Harry Potter feel, add moon and star cutouts on top. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 minutes. One box of pie crust mix can make four to five tarts.

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