Remember the old TV commercial where the little southern girl beams broadly as she says “It’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped”? If you want to see that kind of pride and satisfaction on your grandchild’s face, bring them into the kitchen and allow them to help prepare a meal. Better yet, let them in on planning the meal and guide them through shopping for the ingredients.
There are quite a few kid-friendly kitchen gadgets that children seem to find fascinating and yet are fairly safe to use. Some good ones to start with are:
- Measuring cups and spoons cups
- Apple slicers
- Egg slicers
- Cookie cutters
- Kitchen timer
Measuring ingredients also lets you sneak in a practical math lesson or two
Even the smallest child can help make egg salad. And it’s a quick nutritious meal they can fall back on later in life too. Once the eggs are boiled and cooled, show the child how to tap the narrowest end (where air has pocketed) to make it easier to peel. If everything is done right, the shell should come away easily.
If you have an egg slicer, let the child can easily learn to julienne the egg in one direction, then turn the egg carefully to cross-cut it into tiny pieces. Add a bit of vinegar (½ teaspoon for 3 eggs), mayonnaise and perhaps mustard or pickle relish to taste, sprinkle a bit of salt and your egg salad is done. Some kids like sliced black olives instead of pickle relish. Once the filling is put between two slices of bread, let the child cut out shapes with a big cookie cutter. (You can eat the healthy trimmings)
Apple slices make a nice accompaniment for an egg-salad sandwich. If the kids go along with you to the produce stand, you can let them choose a variety to try: Granny Smith apples tart and green, Fuji’s sweet yellow with a blush of red, Braeburn’s a bit tart and with a juicy satisfying crunch, Rome apples for the reddest skin and whitest flesh ever. Each variety has its own distinctive texture and flavor.
The bigger kids will enjoy the satisfying “schlock” noise made by the apple slicer as it neatly cores the apples and slices out eight perfectly even slices. Younger kids can dip the slices in orange or lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown.
You could chop the apples a bit finer and make a wonderful Waldorf salad by adding celery, walnuts, and some like to add raisins or grapes to the mixture.That was a favorite summer-time treat on the hottest Orlando days.
All that is left to do is stir chocolate syrup into the milk (Hershey’s makes a great sugar-free version now) and lunch is ready. For adults, (or true southern children) make a big pitcher of sweet iced tea to go along with your feast.
Enjoy your meal!