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Kids Cook Real Food Online Course Review by Emma Filbrun

Katie Kimball

Kids Cook Real Food Online Course is a wonderful resource to help you teach your children to cook. Mrs. Kimball has done an excellent job of breaking down kitchen skills and finding ways for even young children to safely work in the kitchen. I knew I didn't get my children in the kitchen as much as I should, but I thought the older ones, at least, knew their way around pretty well. As we worked through this course, I found out that they know a fair amount—but there were major gaps that we were able to fill in! The course was most valuable, though, for the younger children. Because we did these lessons, my three- and six-year-olds are now regularly peeling carrots when needed, and they now know how to mix things for me.

Each lesson has several videos to watch and a PDF for each video. There is a video for the teacher, and a PDF that contains all the information that is in it. I struggle to take time to watch videos by myself, so the PDF was great, as I could just skim through it and see what we were doing. Then, start the lesson by watching the All-Kids video—the introductory PDF goes along with this, too. This video talks about skills that will go along with what the children in each class will be learning. Class One gives an introduction to the kitchen, followed by knife safety and skills in Class Two. Class Three is an exploration of spices, and in Class Four you have time to watch the Foundations videos about measuring. After that, you'll learn about soaking beans, then using spatulas to flip things, washing produce and finally making dough.

The Beginner classes give children a very basic introduction to working in the kitchen. Here, jobs are taught that even a 2-3-year-old can do! My three-year-old has been thrilled to get to help with these things. The first lesson covers peeling and spreading, followed by two lessons using dull knives to cut soft foods. Then, they learn how to soak dry beans, and then how to pour liquids. The fun part of that lesson was making gelatin! After that, they will make a salad, and then work with dough. Each lesson has a 5-10minute video to introduce the skill, and a PDF that gives the adult guide tips to teach it, more information, and suggestions for expanding on the skill learned. I liked some of the recipes that were linked to in this section; they were practical and tasty.

The Intermediate classes are for children who have had some experience in the kitchen already. My 6-year-old is doing the activities for both this level and the beginner level, since he has had some experience but needs more practice with the beginner tasks as well. I also had my 8-year-old working on these skills. In this level, children learn to follow a recipe, use sharp knives, and crack eggs. Then, in the fourth lesson, they make a recipe by themselves and the next week they get to cook rice. After that, they learn to flip pancakes, then roll dough, and the last lesson introduces them to browning ground meat.

The Advanced level, which my 8-year-old and 12-year-old worked through, begins with sharp knife skills. The second, third and fourth weeks took their knife skills to new levels, and they also learned how to use garlic and sauté vegetables. Then, they cooked beans and made refried beans, and after that they learned how to cook eggs, use a small appliance, and finally, they get to make a white sauce and steam vegetables. My children have used sharp knives since they were fairly young, so I thought this lesson was not needed—but after watching the videos for it, my 12-year-old, who was very reluctant to do the lessons at all volunteered to help me make carrots sticks. He needed to “practice his sharp knife skills,” he told me. There are videos and PDFs to go with each of the lessons in the Intermediate and Advanced levels as well as the Beginner.

These lessons give any family a good foundation in cooking with real food. I really appreciate the recipes and techniques that are used. So many children's cookbooks use a lot of convenience foods, but every one of the recipes in here starts from scratch. The only canned item I've seen so far is pumpkin, to go in muffins and pancakes. Children who do all these lessons will be confident in the kitchen and will have meals they can safely make for the family when Mom needs a break! And, Mom might learn something as she helps her children do these lessons, as well—I did, and I've been cooking for over 20 years! The lessons are easy to use, too; everything you need for a week is together on one page. You just have to go down through it and print a few things, watch the videos (they are Vimeo, which is challenging with one of our laptops but works on the other), and get started!

Besides the videos and the PDFs that directly teach each lesson, there are printable flashcards if you need them to help children learn the concepts that are taught. You also get the 51-page Recipes for Kids Cook Real Food ebook, which I really like. I printed the whole book, rather than print each recipe when we need it. I keep it in the kitchen, and we have used it several times when we aren't actually doing a lesson. There are some good recipes in there! You also get shopping lists, which were very helpful as we were getting started. We had everything on hand already for the later lessons, but in the first few there were some things I needed to get for the course, so it was good to have it all listed for me. One last thing I appreciate—we have lifetime access to the course with the VIP membership.

Would I buy this course if I didn’t already have it? Yes, it’s that good. I am not one to spend money on things like this; but seeing how valuable it has already been to my family, I consider it worthwhile. This course makes it very easy to teach children to cook, and even made unwilling children willing to help out in the kitchen.

-Product review by Emma Filbrun, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2018