Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lifeskills Lessons

Too often, education focuses on traditional school subjects. Life skills don't always receive the attention they deserve. Our children may be able to function quite well in the world without having spent a year learning algebra, but they will not do well if they aren't able to prepare food.

Ree Drummond, better known as "Pioneer Woman" is a homeschool mom and a multi-talented, fascinating woman. Her website is filled with tons of useful, interesting information about her life on a ranch, her fascinating family, their homeschool experiences, her talent for photography AND her amazing culinary skills!

Ree has added a new area on her site, called Tasty Kitchen, Favorite Recipes from Real Kitchens! The Tasty Kitchen is filled with a wide range of recipes, from various contributors.

A recent post, by Erika, was titled The Theme Is … Homemade Ingredients! In the post, Erika shared links to numerous recipes on the Tasty Kitchen blog. Included were recipes for homemade baking mix, homemade brown sugar, homemade vanilla extract, and many other mainstay ingredients.

I immediately thought that this is something that young cooks should learn. So little attention is given these days to creating your own ingredients when your cupboard is lacking. I remember the surprised look on a group of teens faces, when I explained that I had to use applesauce in my brownies, because I had no vegetable oil in my cupboard. They had just been discussing how tasty the brownies were, but now they stopped mid-bite, and stared at the brownies in their hands. "You mean there's applesauce in these?" Total shock!

I reminded them that they had just been saying how good they were, and that applesauce can easily be used to replace oil if no oil is available, or just to make the brownies a little healthier.

Knowing how to create these homemade ingredients can, also, inspire young chefs to be a bit more creative. They will start to notice food textures and tastes, and may begin to experiment with making some substitutions of their own. It's a great learning experience!
Photo by Kylia Radney, used with permission.
Salad created by Chef Katie

No comments: