Kids and food – creativity and empowerment

Cooking with children is always messy and that is something you must accept comes with the territory.  Mostly, I find children are more than comfortable with flour decorating bench tops, with crunching under foot and with smears of melted butter on the base of the microwave.  With their prepared dish in the oven, they tend to feel that the event is complete and disappear off to play until it’s time to taste test.  Washing up and cleaning rarely has the same appeal as creating something delicious!


DSCN1377On Tuesday, however, I had the opportunity to cook with some children at King’s School in Remuera, where we were making rum balls for a function to be held on Friday night.  The boys who came were wide eyed with wonder to discover they got to prepare food instead of complete their literacy lesson.  Even more astonishing was their ability to help clean up.  The boys asked for brooms, and dustpans.  Another plunged his hands into a hot water tub ready to wash up the grotty bowls, whilst another grabbed a tea towel.  Every time I suggested it must be time to return to class the boys were adamant that I wasn’t to clean up alone!


Among the benefits of kids themselves assisting in the kitchen and of adults continuing to create lovely meals to present to their children, is the likelihood that children will try and appreciate new flavours.  I put it to the test in my own home last night by creating a luscious salmon dish with some Marlborough Sounds’ Salmon (on special at PaknSave!) and including pureed peas.  I knew I was taking a risk as Christopher has recently been claiming that he doesn’t like salmon.  I never give up with the kids, and think about re-presenting the offending item in a new way to see if I can overcome the hurdle.  As Chris has also declared recently that he hates peas I thought I would do double trouble and combine them in one dish.  The risk for him was that there was no alternative – but with a tween type hunger brewing I decided it was worth the experiment.


So I wrapped the salmon in puff pastry and I mixed the pea puree with creme fraiche and gorgeous fresh herbs and seasoned it with garlic salt.  The resulting parcel was bursting with flavour and colour and it well and truly passed the taste test from young to old.  It was so delicious that the recipe is going to have to be written up.  It gave us a taste of Spring, and a hint of gorgeous sunny days to come.  And it hit the spot with a tween, who could potentially have been off salmon for years, but who has once again concluded that he loves it 🙂


I only wish he had helped with the washing up!!

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