Kids in the Kitchen: Expanding Horizons

Kids in the Kitchen: Expanding Horizons

Part Two of a Three-part Series on Cooking with Kids

After years of teaching kids to cook for themselves and their families, I’ve learned that there are those who are happy with omelets, and chicken breasts, and mashed potatoes, but there are others who, once mastering the basics, quickly become bored with “regular food”, and need to branch out into new culinary adventures to keep their interest.

If you’ve got one of those budding chefs in your home, even as young as age 5, try these steps to take them to the next level, all of which I’ve done with my own daughter (AKA Pickle). With a little flexibility and patience, it can be a fun exercise in life skills and making memories.

Before we get started . . .

Chef’s Note: when it stops being fun, stop!

You’re not teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, so tell your inner Iron Chef to lighten up! Forcing a kid to cook will only get you the opposite of what you’re shooting for—a lifetime peanut butter and ramen eater. Give them a little time to forget those burned brownies, or soggy rice, and their natural curiosity will bring them back to the kitchen.

Also, don’t let your own bias become theirs! If they pick a recipe that calls for an ingredient that doesn’t appeal to you . . . suck it up! The whole idea here is to broaden their horizons (and it might not hurt to stretch ours a wee bit, as well!).

So, place your tongue firmly in your teeth, accept that the kitchen is going to be a mess, and have some fun!

Here we go . . .

To read more, pick up a copy of the September 2019 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy here.

Find Kids in the Kitchen: Part One here.

Perry P. Perkins is a third-generation chef, award-winning writer, and culinary instructor. He lives with his family in Longview, and operates the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, for at-risk and under-served youth. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including sixteen “Chicken Soup for the Soul” anthologies. He is also a reoccurring guest-chef on AM Northwest. More of Perry’s work can be found on Amazon at, and his cooking blog at

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