These Cooking Boxes Teach Kids How to Cook
There isn’t really a wrong way to teach a kid to cook: If they’re in the kitchen and getting involved with preparing a meal in some way, it’s pretty much a win, right?
Children’s cookbooks, whether aimed at the chicken-nugget set, or written for a more sophisticated eater, can be great. What may be even better is ditching the cookbook, making a simple dish like scrambled eggs, and letting your 8-year-old take the reins. Developing culinary skills, understanding how ingredients work together, allowing kids to make mistakes — aside from, you know, cutting or burning themselves — these may be the best, most effective building blocks of growing a lifelong love of cooking.
That’s the thinking behind eat2explore and Little Sous, two new-ish companies with the goal of showing kids how to tap into their creativity and independence while developing their own tastes and food preferences. There are no hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or broccoli-and-cheddar sides here. Instead, think Brazilian feijoada (black bean stew), Greek lamb burgers, homemade yogurt, and sauerkraut.
“Why dumb kids’ food down?” asks Rowena Scherer, founder of eat2explore. “Their palates are just as sophisticated as ours — they just need to be developed,” she says.
The former financial exec, French Culinary Institute grad, and mom of two grew up in Malaysia and has lived all over the world; she now lives in New York. The company that Scherer started in 2017 now offers over a dozen different “explorer boxes,” from Singapore, Lebanon, India, and a range of other countries — as well as the Northern and Southern U.S. They can be purchased a box at a time, or through a monthly subscription. Each box includes shelf-stable spices and sauce mixes, three recipes (you shop for the fresh ingredients), and an array of instant-gratification collectibles, such as cooking tools, activity sheets, a flag pin and a passport with stickers to fill it.
I tried the Singapore box with my kids, ages 6 and 9, and the chicken satay was such a hit with my 6-year-old that he wanted the leftovers in…