Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recipe testing with a kid

When it comes to the tasting of chocolate and/or peanut butter, it’s hard for a kid to be completely objective. Case in point: Subjecting my 3 ½ year old to a taste-test of one chocolate peanut butter dip compared to a second chocolate peanut butter dip will probably yield results like, “I like them both, they’re both my favorite!” Not surprising.

In my most recent recipe development endeavor, the final result needed to be kid-friendly. And although I can’t share the final recipe since it’s for a client, I can tell you it contains super secret ingredients like low-fat plain yogurt, chocolate and peanut butter. But get creative; really, you can’t go wrong. Most kids I know will eat any vegetable dipped into any of the just-mentioned dippables – even if they are not combined into a super secret dip recipe.

Now I am a very strong advocate of cooking with your kids. And although it always takes longer to make a recipe with kids than without, it’s almost always worth the effort. There’s a million reasons this is so, but a few include: The kid will eat the final product – even if it’s just a taste and even if the food is healthy, it teaches math and reading skills, and cooking with kids teaches a life-long skill that could make them live more healthfully. However, don’t do any sort of recipe testing with your kids. On the 4th batch of chocolate peanut butter dip, it gets frustrating to hear, “Can I have a taste of (fill in ingredient currently being weighed and measured for the forth time.)” And yes, she’d already tasted peanut butter, chocolate and yogurt three other times earlier in the day, not to mention the fact that she eats peanut butter on her sandwich practically every day for lunch. But it’s my fault. Every time I pull out a recipe book or turn on the stove to make dinner, my daughter pulls her step stool out of the closet and climbs up to look over my shoulder and ‘help’ measure. She can already identify each measuring cup size. Maybe that’s because her tongue has licked over the top of the “1 cup”, “½ cup”, “1/3 cup” and “¼ cup” on the bottom of the cups so many times.

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