My Pulse News

Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

What Your Budding Chef Needs to Know in the Kitchen


Budding chefs are preparing their lunches and snacks this summer and many times it is more than heating something up in the microwave.  Kids and cooking go hand-in-hand; it’s like creating their own edible craft project.  Cooking can be fun, as well as help develop self-esteem and can turn those picky eaters into new adventurers.

These chefs need to know that good food starts with safety and sanitary habits.  Proper hand washing with soap and warm water before beginning to cook, and keeping work areas clean by washing down all surfaces with a clean dish cloth and warm water before and after cooking will keep food borne illnesses away.

Just like in school, children need to have rules in the kitchen for both their safety and cleanliness.  Regardless of how simple these may seem, discuss them with your budding chefs.

Keep electrical appliances away from water to avoid shock.  Stay away from electrical appliances and sockets, especially if your hands are wet.  Always turn pot handles toward the back of the range top.

To avoid fire, keep paper towels, dish towels and pot holders away from the range top.  Never put water on a cooking fire, instead cover with baking soda or flour.

Don’t put anything sharp, such as a knife, in the sink when washing dishes.  Instead, wash and rinse them separately.

Never lick your fingers or put them in your mouth while cooking, especially with foods that contain raw foods, such as cookie doughs and cake batters that contain raw eggs.

Always return items from the refrigerator back to the refrigerator as soon as you are finished with them.

While all these rules are important, kids of all ages can be in the kitchen. No bake recipes are great for those just learning to cook. These include smoothies, peanut butter and banana dogs, or lemonade.

Cooking not only builds self-confidence, it also reinforces reading skills, and introduces abbreviations and measurements, including fractions.  Teach your child to read the recipe through completely and retrieve ingredients and measuring devices before cooking.

Also teach them to clean up after cooking. This is just as important as cooking. Don’t worry that it may not be to your standards. It’s the process they are learning.

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