Some people love to follow a recipe. They love to have a roadmap of sorts, to know where they’re headed and exactly how to get there. One of the perks of being a recipe follower is that over time, having followed lots of recipes, you absorb a ton of cooking knowledge. You learn that searing meat before braising it enhances the taste, that citrus brightens any dish, and that salt brings out the flavors in a dish. And over time, you acquire the culinary confidence and proficiency to improvise – being able to consult a recipe as a starting point and then riff off it to create something new.
Our chef instructors at Sticky Fingers Cooking use our recipes in our classes because we know that recipes provide valuable opportunities for young kids to practice focus, self-direction, and independence – all of which are essential skills for children to learn. But we've got another way to foster kids’ kitchen confidence and cooking knowledge:
Think of an un-recipe as a template. (For example, a salad dressing – two parts oil, one part acid, a dash of salt and pepper). Instead of working from a precise list of ingredients and instructions, kids learn the basic structure of a dish, then mix, match, and create using ingredients they already love or happen to have on hand. Sticky Fingers Cooking’s Basic Training Baking Boot Camp Cookbook includes numerous un-recipes for your youngest chefs! Here are a few:
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