My almost 5-year-old granddaughter Nicole and I decided it was time to clean out “her” drawer in the kitchen. For the last five years it has been filled with all kinds of fun things. Until this past year, she has looked forward to checking it out for new stuff on each visit to Grammy’s house. My plan was that we would fill it with child-size safe cooking tools. Nicky would have her own tool kit, just like I did at the Culinary Institute of America. She would keep all these tools in her drawer and an adjoining lower cabinet at my house. This was our plan: on Saturday my daughter would drop Nicky off in the afternoon, and we would go to Bed Bath and Beyond loaded with discount coupons. I would allow her to select items, but I will guide her towards appropriate safe choices. While we’re there I would begin updating my worn-out tools, and look around for some work-around safe tools to add to my small appliance collection. I have an electric Cuisinart Egg Central in mind. Work-around tools, like the Egg Central, avoid the hazards of heat and sharps, but still get the job done. Most work-around tools still need adult supervision. For example: removing the hot tray of cooked eggs from the Egg Central at the end of the cooking cycle.
First I made up my proposed shopping list divided in two sections: Nicky and Grammy. I checked out suggested tool lists from other resources on the Internet. A Montessori website actually markets child-size tools for: preparing food, baking, serving and clean up, and snack time. Another resource, Sassafras, markets a simple collection of kid’s kitchen tool kit. Another choice for child-size safe cooking tools is HeartSong. I wanted to include at least one cookbook to start off her collection. My first choice was, Kids In The Kitchen. This cookbook also has a suggested list for a starter tool kit. Both Nicky and I love the photos of little Caspar demonstrating the basic skills and cooking in an electric fry pan. Co-author mom, Kylie D’Alton, suggests a kid’s drawer just like Nicky’s, and a lower kitchen cabinet with shelves for easy access. These resources gave me ideas, but I wanted to create my own list. We will add to the tools as her skills progress, and we progress to simple recipes.
I decided that for this first shopping trip we would look for:
1. plastic measuring cups (for dry ingredients)
2. plastic measuring spoons
3. small silicone spatula (one piece)
4. non-slip plastic mixing bowl with a handle
5. small wire whisk
6. “safe” vegetable peeler
7. 2 stainless steel sifters: 3 cup and 5 cup
I already have:
8. small and large colander
9. apple cutter
10. small turner/spatula
11. “safe” electric can opener
12. child’s apron
13. small wooden spoon
14. small and large flexible plastic cutting board
15. egg beater
16. child-size spreader
17. dull butter knife
As they say, “the best laid plans….” Although I was hoping to depart earlier for our shopping adventure Nicky didn’t arrive until 5:00 pm. Myself, Grampy and Nicky immediately went to Bed Bath and Beyond.
At Bed Bath and Beyond all the small kitchen utensils are hung on the walls in one corner of the store. I allowed Nicky to choose the colors and designs that she liked. She loaded them into our cart. You could go crazy in there, but despite temptation, I tried to stick to the list. The sales staff is so helpful; it took about an hour. We found the work-around tool the Cuisinart Egg Central as well. Be sure to bring along your Bed Bath and Beyond discounts. They even allow expired coupons. Since I’m looking forward to kitchen organization I suggest purchasing a drawer organizer and spice rack as well. This will be a future shopping trip.
Needless to say besides the benefits of learning more about safe tools Nicky, Grampy and I shared some quality bonding time. We laughed a lot. She also learned to be patient and accept a change in plans for the family goals.