Open Phones: Kids Can Cook?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Parents & teachers, share your stories about teaching children to cook. In a recent New York Times article, one parent shares her account of getting her sons to plan and cook family dinner.  How old is old enough for boiling water, hot ovens, sharp knives?

Call 212-433-WNYC, 212-433-9692 at 11:40 and let us know.  

Comments [11]


Doctors, lawyers... No. The next step is we need to test the parents right? Evaluate the other half of the universe that determines the performance of school kids. Let's see, how would that work....objectively?

Feb. 24 2012 10:31 AM
marianne from pleasantville new york

Every Christmas following my divorce,I bought my young children kitchen cooking appliances, e.g. waffle maker (circus shapes), slow cooker, a wok accompanied by chinese wok cooking lessons, measuring cups, brownie pans, more cooking lessons they could do with their father. Honestly, it was self-serving since once a week when I worked late they would have dinner waiting for me on the table when I returned home. I really miss those waffles!

Feb. 23 2012 12:08 PM
Rob Seitz from New Rochelle, NY

On Saturday, March 3rd, at least 25 high school students who LOVE to cook will be competing for the title of "America's Best High School Chef," an annual competition sponsored by Monroe College's School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts. Two full scholarships, in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry, valued at $30,000 each, will be awareded to the top chefs in both categories. Several partial scholarships will be awarded to other participants. To get more information about this event, contact Prof. Tanya Hodges at or at 914-740-6511

Feb. 23 2012 12:04 PM
Ceily from UWS

Ernie's Upside Down Dinner here:

Feb. 23 2012 12:00 PM

I've found that when cooking with my 5 year old, I have to be really willing to give up my own tendency to want things clean and neat. To cook with kids, it seems embracing the mess is essential, or else it's not that much fun for them.

Feb. 23 2012 11:59 AM
Ron from Wall, NJ

I have friends who taught their middle-schooler how to bake their daily loaf of homemade bread. He got home hours before the rest of the family and set right to work. When the rest of the family walked through the door, imagine the smells that greeted them! And their son not only love all the tactile tasks involved but became extremely adept at the task.

Feb. 23 2012 11:57 AM
Shana from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

My 2 1/2-year-old helps with all meals. He loves to stir, add ingredients, use the hand-mixer. Actually, my husband once caught him trying to cut green beans with a paring knife once. In general, we've tried to teach him to do more and more things like helping check the mail and having other little responsibilities.

Feb. 23 2012 11:54 AM
Ceily from UWS

Sesame has some really great recipes for preschoolers and they're educational! There is one called Ernie's Upside Down Dinner which is fantastic. It's all about engineering.

Feb. 23 2012 11:54 AM
Bowildhax from New Jersey

I encourage my children to cook - my 12 year old son and 15 year old daughter help in the kitchen. Both know how to make soup from scratch, make an expanded breakfast (eggs, pancakes) and how to make dinner from what we have in the pantry. They both can use knives and understand slicing, dicing and different cuts of meat. If they don't like what we are having for dinner they are encouraged to make their own meal.

Feb. 23 2012 11:53 AM

Clean surfaces before and after using; Think through and organize material before starting, including where cooked or prepared food will go once ready to be served; inspect all food, as well as all other materials, very carefully with eyes and, if appropriate (like chicken, milk, soft fruit), nose.

These are basic starters for my 10 year old. The Sacred Rules. (Others include no knife and no cooking until an adult has verbally confirmed that it is OK.)

Curious to hear where others stand on knives and teaching knife skills.

Feb. 23 2012 11:17 AM
Grace Freedman from Brooklyn, NY

I just wanted to share a resource that I work on: Blog for Family Dinner ( We have been celebrating Kids Month all February and posting stories about "Involving Kids in Family Dinner" including videos and stories about kids cooking classes. We have had three stories this week on the topic! I will try to call in.

Feb. 23 2012 10:16 AM

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