Get ready…at least once a month, we will be sharing tips and tricks from our curriculum that can be applied to cooking at home with your kids.
Our first topic: Cleanliness! While this might seem obvious, it is where we start each and every one of our classes and for good reason. Humans are breeding grounds for all sorts of microorganisms, and we want to minimize contact with the ones that make us sick.
Germs are a workplace hazard when it comes to teaching young ones, especially when that involves handling food. This is why in all of our classes we repeat the same routines: clean hands, tidying up after ourselves, clean hands, try everything, CLEAN HANDS.
Young ones will inevitably forget and start playing with their hair or scratching their faces. Cooking with children, your own or at work, requires patience and constant gentle reminders.
Happy Birthday Hands
We wet our hands before lathering them with soap and scrubbing between fingers, under nails, along the back of our palms, for about the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.” Or for that matter, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The ABCs will even do the trick. This can be a good opportunity to practice singing (or counting) in another language, or inversely reminding kids that they don’t need to voice everything that’s in their heads (I often ask my students to “sing” silently in their heads as practice for the good listening that the rest of class will require.
After washing your hands, make sure you dry them with a clean dish cloth or paper towel and avoid touching hair, eyes, ears, nose, armpits, etc. or picking anything up from the floor or table. If you forget, that’s ok, you just need to wash your hands again. Good thing you’re an expert at hand washing!
Keep ‘Em Clean
Tie Hair Back
Keeping hair out of your face prevents it from getting in food.
Cover Your Cough
If you have to sneeze or cough, use your elbow-—not your hands because then you’ll have to rewash them!
Roll up Your Sleeves
Avoid getting damp water and food residue on your cuffs.
Wash Your Ingredients
Fruits and Vegetables come with all sorts of residue. Of these, dirt is the most benign. If you are not able to buy all organic, steer away from the “Dirty Dozen” most pesticide contaminated produce items. Make sure that you wash your fruits and vegetables before using (with cold water to avoid damaging them).
Wash Your Dishes
Clean up as you go, wash dishes with soapy water and dry thoroughly. Teaching kids that cleaning is an essential part of the cooking process builds good habits. Washing dishes can even be fun! Just be sure to monitor to make sure that they’re not simply creating a bubble mountain in the sink, or spilling water on the floor.
Wash Your Surfaces
Find a good cleaning spray and wipe down your tables before eating. Use a clean, dry towel and keep your dish drying towels separate.
Meal Planning to come
Stay tuned for more kitchen tips for involving kids in the cooking process, as well as shopping lists and meals plans.