Can you guess what is pictured here? Not an inkblot from Rorschach, but rather a sketch of the delicious dish whipped up by our family’s youngest chef. Our seven year old grandson, Akira, got out his new cookbook and together we tackled Emeril’s version of the French favorite, Shrimp Scampi. In my world passing on the love of cooking to the younger generation needn’t be limited to the girls. It’s time to get the boys interested.
This culinary adventure started when I found a copy of “There’s a Chef in My World” a children’s cookbook by Food Network star Emeril Lagasse, on the sale rack at Barnes and Noble. The recipes are arranged by country and illustrated with colorful depictions of the dishes. Geared to the budding school age chef, the steps are simple enough for children to follow with the aid of an adult sous chef. Quality ingredients yield results that adults will enjoy and that encourage skeptical younger eaters to expand their palate.
The cooking experience itself produces so much more than a meal. Reading, measuring and following directions are all ways to incorporate academic skills into a hands-on activity. Cutting, stirring and prepping use motor skills. The finished product brings a sense of accomplishment and the praise received is a great confidence builder. Best of all, creating something in tandem is fun and memorable. In short, cooking is love.
Even if you don’t have your own little shrimp chef to cook with, the recipe is simple and delicious enough to make for yourself. I confess to preferring white wine in the sauce over the chicken broth so you may want to make that change when cooking for adults. (Remember the wine cooks out but children sometimes do not care for the taste.) If you want to encourage a child you know to try cooking, I recommend you locate a copy of this cookbook. It has loads of fun and interesting recipes to catch the interest of any young chef. Who knows, you might even get an invite for an international delight of your own.
Recipe for Shrimp Scampi
from Emeril Lagasse’s “There’s a Chef in My World”