Does anyone have any suggestions for a good parent-child cooking experience - such as a class, a demonstration, etc?

I have a friend who would really like to do something fun with his culinary-inclined 12-year-old daughter. Ideas he's tossed around are things such as taking her to the taping of a food show, attending some sort of cooking class/weekend, etc. Wondering if anyone has ideas, suggestions. advice...? They live in North Carolina, but he would travel a few hours by car or plane to do something cool with his daughter.

Thanks so much!

  • Posted by: Rhonda35
  • September 4, 2011


lorigoldsby September 6, 2011
I would also suggest you start writing your "own" cookbook. Get one of the blank recipe collection books and start documenting your culinary adventures together! Include notes about how the recipe worked, date/place/people who sampled your endeavors, where you found the recipe, etc.

My daughter now uses this cookbook in her home! It has all of our family recipes and those we created together, and now she is adding her own.

When I was in NYC, we did a "Food on Foot" tour which was wonderful--you travel to several different neighborhoods and eat the quintessential NY foods. That was her intro to falafel, which she loved so much, it was the 1st thing we made when we got back!
Hank H. September 6, 2011
Whole foods offers cooking classes.

Craft stores that sell Wilton supplies often offer Wilton cake decorating classes.

Tourist areas that are famous for their cuisine often have classes which are only an
hour or two and you cook your lunch. I know I have often wanted to take a class in New Orleans that is offered to tourists.

Not sure how far away Savannah, Georgia is from your neck of the woods but I bet if you wrote in advance, you could arrange to meet Paula Deen at her restaurant.

I suspect a few phone calls could snag a kitchen tour at almost any local restaurant.
People that are proud of their profession will be very happy to show a kid a few things.

I believe North Carolina has a fine barbecue tradition. You could learn a lot just going to one of those places.

Finally, the most important thing is to cook together. A 12 year old is old enough to learn anything. When you get to something and you don't know it then you admit it and learn it together.

I like Carla's answer. Starting a small garden would do wonders for her education.

One other possibility... take her down to help cook in a soup kitchen for the poor.
latoscana September 4, 2011
The Carolinas have such great culinary traditions. Perhaps they could start by researching some of the foodways of their local region and plan a meal that includes visiting a farm or farmer's market, then preparing the foods, and inviting friends to eat it. A place to start learning more is the Southern Foodways Alliance: Also came across this post which has some intriguing links:
boulangere September 4, 2011
One of the best summers my daughter and I had while she was still living at home was the first one my son did not come home from college. I'd set a cookbook out before I left in the morning, and she would pick something for us to make together. We still love cooking together whenever we can.
amysarah September 4, 2011
I agree that cooking together at home is the best way to encourage a child's interest...and I'd bet your friend already does that. But it sounds like he wants to share an extra special, out of the ordinary experience with his daughter - maybe even make it a destination.

He might not want to travel this far from NC, but on Sat., Oct. 1st, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY has a 'Parent and Teen Day' (12 and up) - lots of classes, lunch, etc. on their campus. Looks pretty great:

Also on that day, the beautiful Stone Barns/Farm in Pontico Hills, NY (about 1-1.5 hrs south of Hyde Park) is doing their annual Harvest Fest day - lots to taste, workshops, raffle, etc:

Either would make a lovely father/daughter weekend away - if Stone Barns is open for tours, etc. the next day, they might even be able to at least visit both.

PS Stone Barns also does several other Family 'Farm to Table' cooking programs - info/calendar on their site.
usuba D. September 4, 2011
I agree with AntoniaJames . . you need not go anywhere. All three of my children would help me cook dinner most every night. We would go through cook books together to decide on the dinner and then create. This was one of the most favourite family activities in our house. Today, my three are grown up and excellent cooks, though they still call dear old Da when they need help on the finer points of a recipe. Every holiday, we all get together and cook, even the grand children, who cook at home with their parents. There is nothing better to bring a family together than food.
CarlaCooks September 4, 2011
A lot of small farms offer farm tours, which can include picking fresh vegetables/fruits to take home. It would be a great way for the child (and adult!) to learn where their food comes from, how much time, effort, knowledge, and work it takes to produce good food, and will give them a special connection to their food. They might also start a great relationship with a local farmer! They could then bring their fresh bounty home and create a fun meal together. Whatever your friend chooses to do, it's great that he's taking such an active and supportive role in developing his child's appreciation of food!
SKK September 4, 2011
Encourage your friend to support his daughter in setting the menu and cooking a meal for supportive friends. What better way to learn? What better way to bond with a supportive parent?
someonewhobakes September 4, 2011
since i'm on the west coast i can't really help you particularly specifically, but my friendly neighborhood cake supply shop offers cake decorating classes both for adults and children. they also have children's and teen's cupcake classes and cookie classes and seasonal things. try checking around at your local supply shops and see if anyone offers classes
AntoniaJames September 4, 2011
The most fun we had in the kitchen when my son was that age did not involve going anywhere at all. My younger son and two friends developed and produced their own instructional cooking video. They took turns filming, cooking and assisting. They realized for the first time in their lives how well you need to know a subject matter before you can teach it, plus in order for it to work, they had to collaborate in ways that were new to them. I was their "consultant," answering questions about technique, helping with judgment calls where a bit of experience made a difference, etc.. It was great fun and one of the most interesting experiential learning experiences any of them had had, up to that point in their lives.;o)
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