When my son (who I've affectionately nicknamed Sparky) turned seven years old, I decided to start teaching him a few kitchen tricks. At the time my only objective was to raise a young man who could feed himself inexpensively and well by the time he's on his own - but I found our cooking project had many other benefits. We've used food to learn about history, geography, chemistry, writing...but most importantly, math. Coming from a literary background, I tend to focus on the language of food. I forget how math-heavy the kitchen is - but what he learned came out at conferences, where my son's teacher pointed out that he's the "best measur-er in the classroom."
It was a bit difficult to get him interested at first, but I bribed him by saying he could choose which food he wanted to cook (you will note our recipe index is a bit dessert-heavy.) Not surprisingly, Mac and Cheese came to the top of the list: yes, it's not exactly health food - but there are a lot of cooking fundamentals involved in this simple meal. In that one lesson, Sparky learned how to cook dry pasta, how to make a roux, and how to keep a cheese sauce from breaking. The dish turned out to be so wildly successful that we later entered a culinary competition and made a video of the process:
Sparky's Phenomenami Mac and Cheese from Michele Hays on Vimeo.
Recipe Index for Sundays with Sparky
The Kitchen Classroom Series