In 2001, the well known Australian chef, Stephanie Alexander, initiated a garden and cooking programme in a large inner-city Melbourne school. The programme allows school children to plant, grow, harvest, prepare, cook and eat their own produce. Brilliant idea!
In 2006, Stephanie told the story of 'how she did it' in her book Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids, and gathered together 120 recipes of her fantastic recipes all written especially for children. The recipes have simple instructions and a colourful layout, and are written for an eight-year-old to complete with a minimum of supervision.
These are not normal kids' recipes. You won't find nuggets, hamburgers or hotdogs in this book. What you do find is sophisticated, classy food designed for kids to cook - and for kids to eat! (There is a burger recipe too - it's called Chargrilled Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers with Pita Breads, and it looks delicious!)
Charlotte Mason says of of Handwork in her first book, Home Education:
The points to be borne in mind in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they
should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper
mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what
they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that,
therefore, the children's work should be kept well within their compass.
I think that she is saying that kids shouldn't spend their time doing twaddly crafts in the same way that they shouldn't waste their time reading twaddly books.
We do our Kitchen Garden subject as part of handicraft one afternoon per week, outside of normal school. The subject is divided into one hour of garden maintenance, followed by about an hour for the cooking. It's great, and we love it...especially me - I get a night off from the cooking, and the food is delicious!
Here is last night's menu - all made by Jemimah:
Potato, tomato and silverbeet curry with homemade flatbreads
Banana and cinnamon muffins
From our garden: parsley, silverbeet, coriander