Kids CAN cook!
When a child sees those around him cook, when he is taught by parents and grandparents, when healthy food is encouraged and he is allowed to experiment with it, he not only learns the basics of cooking and eating well, but gains confidence that he, indeed, can cook.
This is my observation as I have taught many children to cook through my cooking classes.
Case in point, recently, my student was a 9 year old boy. He received my cooking class as a birthday present from his grandmother. This was not your average present. His grandmother had cooked with him, and knew of his interest and desire to learn more. When we scheduled the lesson he said he wanted to make Shrimp Stir Fry. I thought, “OK, this boy is very adventurous!” (I did not like shrimp until I was an adult!)
When he arrived, he was able to “graduate” from just mixing things — we also made an apple cake — to cutting the veggies for the Stir Fry with a small knife. He clearly had the skills as I watched him carefully, giving him a few knife tips and marveling at his confidence. He also was happy to peel and clean the shrimp that we used. He did not shy away from what some would consider a gross job.
As we started putting all the ingredients together in the fry pan, he said that he really liked spinach, and could we add more than the recipe called for to the pan? ABSOLUTELY!
So, not only a cooking phenom, but a veggie eater too!
The future is bright!
Shrimp Lo Mein
(this is called Lo Mein since noodles were added to the stir fry)
For the Lo Mein:
1/4 pound shrimp (about 15 shrimp), fresh or frozen (if frozen, follow package instructions for thawing)
8 ounces Lo Mein egg noodles (or you can substitute spaghetti)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
3 cups baby spinach
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Clean the shrimp; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha sauce; set aside.
Clean the shrimp by removing the legs, shell and the back vein. Instructions here.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the Lo Mein noodles according to package instructions; drain well.
Saute the shrimp in a large skillet or wok in the olive oil over medium high heat until each side is pink. Remove from the pan into a bowl, and set aside.
Add the bell pepper and carrots to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic and let them heat up to cook the veggies. Stir in the shrimp. Stir in the spinach and let it “wilt” (cook down), about 2 – 3 minutes.
Stir in the soy sauce mixture and gently toss to combine. Add the Lo Mein noodles and stir to combine.
Serves 4 people.