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Homeschooling Resources: COOKING!

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Homeschooling Resources: COOKING!

cooking resources


Any kids out there who like to cook? (Of course!) And, conveniently enough, it turns out that you can learn practically everything through cooking – science, history, literature, math, art – all while whipping up something yummy to eat. How good does it get?

See below for books, recipes, projects, and a FREE cooking course from Harvard.

Cheryl Apgar’s Book Cooks (Creative Teaching Press, 2002) has a book-related recipe for each letter of the alphabet from A (Apple Smiles) to Z (Zebra Pudding), plus poems, songs, and extension activities. Featured books include such favorites as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiny Seed, Green Eggs and Ham, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Stone Soup. (No heat source required for any of the recipes.) For ages 3-7.

By Georgeanne Brennan, the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook (Random House, 2006) is a terrific collection of Dr. Seussian recipes, paired with catchy passages from the books. Readers learn to make Roast Beast, Cat in the Hat Pudding, Pink Yink Ink Drink, and, of course, Green Eggs and Ham. For ages 7-10.

Jane Yolen’s Fairy Tale Feasts (Interlink Books, 2009) is an illustrated collection of 20 fairy tales with accompanying recipes. “Cinderella,” for example, is paired with a recipe for pumpkin tarts, “Little Red Riding Hood” features recipes for picnic food (don a cape and pack a basket), and “Snow White” comes with instructions for baked apples. For ages 8-12.

By Roald Dahl and Felicity Dahl, with wonderful illustrations by the incomparable Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (Puffin, 1997) is a collection of (actually yummy) recipes from Dahl’s books, among them Snozzcumbers,  Frobscottle, Hot Frogs, Lickable Wallpaper, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, Candy-Coated Pencils for Sucking in Class, and Stickjaw for Talkative Parents. A hoot for all ages.

By Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Jensen, The Book Lover’s Cookbook (Ballantine Books, 2005) is a collection of 170 recipes for foods featured in classic books (both for children and adults), paired with literary quotations. If your kids have clamored to try the White Witch’s Turkish Delight or wondered about the Cratchit family’s carrot pudding, this is the book for you. For all ages.

Barbara Walker’s The Little House Cookbook (HarperCollins, 1989) is a collection of “Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories.” The book contains historical information about the life and food of the pioneers, quotes from the Little House books, and recipes for such Ingalls family favorites as hasty pudding, pancake men, sourdough bread, pumpkin pie, crab-apple jelly, and cucumber pickles. For ages 8-12.

See also Homeschooling Resources: Studying Squirrels

Cooking Up U.S. History: Recipes and Research to Share With Children by Suzanne I. Barchers and Patricia C. Marden (Libraries Unlimited, 1999) includes recipes for such traditional American foods as porridge, Indian pudding, and sourdough bread, and for such homemade necessities as candles, soap, and ink. Recipes are categorized by historical period, from pre-Columbian days to the Civil War. Each recipe is accompanied by background information, discussion questions, suggested research projects, and supplementary reading lists. For ages 6-12.

By Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond, The U.S. History Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) is a collection of “Delicious Recipes and Exciting Events from the Past” arranged in chronological order from “The First Thanksgiving” through “Colonial Fare,” “A Pioneer Breakfast,” “Plantation Life,” “A Victorian Tea,” “Making Do During the Great Depression,” “World War II Rations,” and “Fabulous Fifties Foods” (and more). Make your own cornmeal mush, beef jerky, depression cake, and TV dinners. For ages 9-12.

Also by D’Amico and Drummond, The United States Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2000) is a 128-page compendium of “Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts from All 50 States.” States are grouped by region: for each, there’s a map, basic background information, a short summary of state foods, and a traditional recipe. (From Massachusetts, Boston Baked Beans; from New York, Waldorf Salad; from Pennsylvania, Soft Pretzels.) Boxes of “Fun Food Facts” provide a lot of unusual information, among them the distance record for spitting watermelon seeds. For ages 9-12.

The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook (Williamson books, 2008) includes 50 different recipes grouped by world region (Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific). Included along with the recipes are catchy cultural facts, games, activities, suggestions for themed parties, and cute little illustrations. Young cooks whip up such delectables as peanut butter soup (Ghana), ox-eye eggs (Indonesia), apple pancakes (Germany), and couscous (Tunisia). For ages 8-12.

How about cooking in the backyard? Linda White’s Cooking on a Stick (Gibbs Smith, 2000) is a collection of campfire recipes for kids, variously to be cooked on sticks, in pouches, or on grills or grates. Included are safety tips and instructions for building a campfire. (Try Moose Kebobs, S’mores, Hop Toad Popcorn, and Squirrel Nibbles.)

Kate White’s Cooking in a Can (Gibbs Smith, 2006) has instructions and recipes for even more cooking adventures in the open air: cooking in cans, with hot rocks, in a pit, on a grill, and more. Included are directions for building your own tin-can grill and solar oven. Both books are recommended for ages 6 and up.

By Liz Plaster and Rick Krustchinsky, Incredible Edible Science (Redleaf Press, 2010) is a collection of 160 food-based science activities for preschoolers and early elementary students, categorized under observation (via the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound), classification, communication, measurement, inference, prediction, and language and literacy. (Under this last, for example, kids make alphabet pretzels and Three Bears’ Porridge, and grow Jack’s beanstalk.)

Vicki Cobb’s Science Experiments You Can Eat (HarperCollins, 1984) pairs interesting recipes with equally interesting scientific discussions: for example, kids make rock candy, grape jelly, and popcorn while learning about crystallization, polymerization, and steam pressure. Cobb is brilliant at making science accessible for a wide range of ages. Highly recommended.

Ann McCallum’s Eat Your Math Homework (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011) pairs food and math concepts (with a couple of wacky bunnies). Kids learn about probability with trail mix and pi with pizza, bake batches of tessellating two-color brownies and tangram cookies, and make Fibonacci snack sticks. Informative and fun for ages 7-12.

Larry Fagin’s The List Poem (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2000), a book of poetry exercises and projects for aspiring writers, includes an exercise in which students write “recipe poems” based on recipe-style lists of ingredients. Samples  include “Recipe for Martin Luther King, Jr.” (“7 gallons of love/10 cups of courage/10 cups of caring…”) and a recipe for “King Midas Touch” (“1 pound egg shells/2 pounds of mosquitoes (bones removed)/1 purple duck with polka dots…”). For all ages.

By Maryann F. Kohl and Jean Potter, Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children (Gryphon House, 1997) is a fat collection of artistic cooking projects for kids aged 4-10. Projects are grouped under such subheadings as “Shapes and Forms,” “Colors and Design,” “Flowers and Trees,” and “Animals and Creatures.” There’s also a month-by-month list of special seasonal projects for around the year. Sample projects: kids make potato ghosts, number pretzels, cucumber airplanes, a flowerpot salad, and “Mush and Jelly Paint” for making pictures on bowls of breakfast oatmeal.  For ages 3 and up.

The Let’s Cook! Class Curriculum is a detailed multi-lesson cooking unit at two levels (Beginner and Advanced). Each session covers basic cooking techniques and features a different food with recipe – for example, apples, bell peppers, dried beans, potatoes, and tomatoes. Generally aimed at ages 9-13.

From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Science of Cooking has cool information, creative projects and activities, virtual labs, webcasts, and book lists on many aspects of cooking. Featured sections cover eggs, pickles, candy, bread, seasoning, and meat. A great resource.

This looks terrific! EdX is a non-profit organization of universities – among them MIT, Harvard, and UC Berkeley – that now offers free (FREE) online courses in a wide range of subjects, all designed to be “interesting, fun, and rigorous,” and taught by top professors. (Check out the list.) Among these, beginning in the fall of 2013, is  Science & Cooking, collaboratively taught by Harvard research scientists and famous chefs by means of video lectures and virtual labs. Classes can be audited or taken to obtain a Certificate of Mastery, which involves homework and exams. (Did I say that these classes are FREE?)

The Food Timeline is an annotated timeline of food and cooking from prehistory (17,000 BCE) to the present, packed with quotes from historians, excerpts from period cookbooks, general information, historical recipes, and more. A terrific and wide-ranging resource.

For even more – including kitchen chemistry, an annotated list of books about cooks, edible play doughs, and a means of determining the speed of light with marshmallows – see COOKING at Rebecca Rupp Resources.


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