I've been asked to teach 18, 8 year olds some sort of cooking class. I have no microwave, no oven, no stove. I was thinking I might be able to get a blender or a camping stove. I want to do something healthy and if possible teach them a skill that gives them some autonomy in the kitchen.



Greenstuff February 1, 2011
I just tried summer rolls for a French Indo-Chinese party that included young people. It turned out they had no interest, so the 40 to 60-year olds made the summer rolls, while the kids were totally into the shredding involved in making a green papaya salad.
innoabrd February 1, 2011
I think iuzzini has the best idea so far. the challenge of assembling the ingredients and rolling will be good and they'll have fun with that.
Sam1148 January 31, 2011
That's going to be a tough call. Plastic knives, 8 year olds, no heat or microwave.

Vegies and dips. Cold sandwiches. You'd be surprised how many kids are clueless about making a sandwich---as it's something normally served to them.

Maybe some introduction to some basic seasonings. Salt and pepper on the sandwich, a touch of oil vinegar. Basic 'toppings' for sandwiches. Including premade Humus.

Italian seasonings with pita bread, and pepperoni slices for a cold pizza type thing.

Going to the camp store to get some little squeeze bottles to fill with oil/vinegar. For suggestions to the parents to keep for kid friendly oil/vinegar sandwich topping.

Oh, and an english cucumber sandwich. With mayo, a touch of the oil vinegar.(optional) ..watercress, lettuce (maybe). With crust cut off. Served with bottled green tea for a kid friendly lunch.

iuzzini January 31, 2011
Oh! and we used plastic knives to cut everything btw!
iuzzini January 31, 2011
Vietnamese summer rolls! We made these with kids in NYC public schools and it worked great! No cooking needed and you can make them vegetarian too. Maybe do chopped salads also. Delicious and healthy and they can be made with whatever ingredients you have handy.
betteirene January 31, 2011
I'm not a fan of autonomy in the kitchen for anyone whose elbows are shorter than the height of the counter and the stove, usually about 4th grade or 9-10 years old. It's easier and very much less painful to repair a cut than a burn.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy. Or fruit kebabs. You could give each child a fruit to prep, or divide them into groups of two or three. The fruits could include bananas, cantaloupe, pomegranate, watermelon, strawberries, navel oranges or seedless grapes, apples, papaya, mango. With prompting from you, they would learn (if they don't already know) which peels are edible, which peels do a better job of protecting the flesh, where the seeds are, how big or little the seeds are, how you get more navel oranges when they don't have seeds, which seeds are edible, why there aren't bottles of banana juice in the supermarket, etc. You could do some kitchen magic by showing how lemon juice stops a banana from blackening or an apple from browning. You could also prepare an oil and sweetened vinegar dressing (like a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette) for the fruit mixture and show them how oil floats and breaks into tiny blobs when it's shaken, and how it all comes back together after it rests.

Blissful B. January 30, 2011
Julia Child believed children could be introduced to knife skills at the age of 4. It surprised me when I read that, but she often had visiting children help her cook & loved introducing them to the wonder of cooking.
JenniferF January 30, 2011
Veggies and dip are great. Prepping veggies teaches some nice basic knife safety and knife skills. Hollow out a red pepper for a serving "dish" all the other veggies can go inside. Then, move on to yogurt dips. What I like about a dip is that it show that if you know some basic proportions, you can make a lot of different variations on a theme.
Nora January 30, 2011
Is this a Top Chef challenge, like when they had to cook without utensils?

You've gotten great ideas in response. Hope you'll let us know what you do and how it works out.
Anitalectric January 30, 2011
When I was that age, I was a huge fan of no-bake cookies, the ones made with oats, cocoa powder, peanut butter (you could substitute almond butter, too) and some other stuff. Here is a one version I found: http://heavenbakedsweets.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-bake-chocolate-cookies.html. It could be made dairy-free by substituting coconut oil for butter and coconut milk for milk.
hardlikearmour January 30, 2011
I'd think about going a no-cook route, and making some sort of after school snack. It would be awesome if the kids could make the snack w/o adult help (or very minimal adult help.) Some sort of fruit or veggie dip; a variation on "ants on a log" with whipped cream cheese, mixed with some sugar free fruit spread, put on celery and topped with dried fruit bits; tortilla roll ups; etc... Good luck!
Sadassa_Ulna January 30, 2011
Guacamole! If you can bring in an electric griddle you could make quesadillas...
Blissful B. January 30, 2011
I love the smoothie idea. Another idea that popped into my head is Pita Pizzas. I loved making those as a kid. You just split the pitas in half, spoon a little jarred spaghetti sauce on each half, along with a little cheese & pop them in the toaster oven on broil. (If you can get a toaster oven, they're very portable).
mrslarkin January 30, 2011
Where are you teaching the class? In a classroom or in your home?

You'll also have to find out about any children with food allergies, and if there are any, you'll need to check with the parents on what the kids can/can't eat.

Fruit smoothies are fun and healthy. Use frozen fruit that doesn't require a lot of cutting, like berries. Some yogurt, a little honey and that's one tasty healthy treat.
Soozll January 30, 2011
Are you sure that in asking you to do this without providing any of those pieces of equipment, they want you to teach them to cook using them? Maybe the point is to teach them some food possibilities that don't require the equipment. Kids can get pretty cocky when they think they know how to do something and try it without their parents presence or permission, then not know how to deal with an emergency, if it occurs. I'd find out the intention of the course and if it is okay, start with a safety plan first
nutcakes January 30, 2011
There are no cook pasta sauces that just require chopping and marinating ingredients. The pasta needs only to be boiled and drained (I don't think an 8 year old should do that alone, though--perhaps a small pan with an individual serving. Or if you have precooked it, you can put it in a wire basket and dunk it. You can do good old (but unseasonal) tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic and olive oil. Or tuna, capers or olives, onion, lemon, parsley, olive oil.
Queen O. January 30, 2011
Maybe a healthy salad in a pita? Make some kind of lettuce roll, using lettuce instead of tortilla in a wrap?
Verdigris January 30, 2011
My mind went to breakfast. With a camping stove and NO blender. You could show them how to make pancakes. Teaches mixing skills and stovetop griddle skills. You could also teach them to make scrambled eggs.

So you have taught them how to make a basic bread and protein dishes. Along with a glass of juice it's a pretty balanced meal. And reasonably simple for that aged child to do by themselves.

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