Recently a chef friend of mine started a discussion on Facebook. He said that parents shouldn’t teach their kids to follow a recipe, but should instead simply teach them how to cook. That following a recipe isn’t cooking.
As someone who not only starting cooking and baking at as a child, but who has made a living educating kids on how to cook, as well as parents on not to be afraid to get in the kitchen and cook with their kids; I have to disagree.
Recipes for kids and adults are one of the many tools you use to learn how to cook. It is by following a recipe that you learn what flavors go well together. Or what ingredients are commonly used in Cajun, Indian or Asian cuisine. It is a recipe that explains how long things take to bake and the proper flour to milk to baking soda ratio needed for a light and fluffy cake.
Following recipe, along with learning basic cooking skills and techniques, as well as developing your palate by trying new foods, is how you gain confidence and grow in the kitchen. And then, later on, after mastering these skills and gaining some cooking and food knowledge, comes the ability to cook “off the top of your head” and simply throw things into a skillet and it come out edible.
I am totally a firm believer in getting kids into the kitchen to cook and that kids can cook more than just “cutesy” food that looks like animals or is in fun shapes. With the proper knowledge and with time and patience kids can bake cakes, make homemade pasta and even perfectly poach eggs.
But, fun and simple recipes, like the Halloween recipe I am sharing today for Spider Cheese and Cracker Bites, not only is a great way to have fun in the kitchen, but allows even the youngest of kids (like 18 months to 2 years) who are still learning their fine motor skills, to help in the kitchen, which helps them grow physically, mentally and emotionally.
Yes, these Spider Cheese and Cracker Bites (like these Mini Halloween Pizzas) are the sort of thing that really don’t require a recipe, but I hope that by sharing it, this simple Halloween recipe inspires parents to get into the kitchen with their kids. To teach even the littles how to stir and spread and measure ingredients, so that later on they feel empowered to get in the kitchen and follow a recipe to make dinner for the whole family.
Which, after all, is why we teach kids to cook! Right? 😉
- 1/4 cup blueberry or blackberry jam
- 1 8-ounce container whipped cream cheese
- 1 12-ounce package round crackers
- 1 cup chow mein noodles
- 1/3 cup dried blueberries
- In a small bowl, stir together the jam and cream cheese, stirring until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Right before serving, spread ½ to 1 tablespoon blackberry cream cheese onto approximately 20-25 crackers.
- Press four chow mein noodles on to each side of the cream cheese covered cracker.
- Place two dried blueberries on top of the cream cheese covered cracker to form the eyes.
- Arrange the spider crackers on a serving platter and serve immediately.
Inspired by My H-E-B Texas Life Magazine
Follow my Halloween/Fall Pinterest board for more fun and festive recipes and crafts!