The first fully illustrated kids’ cookbook—over 150,000 copies sold
Cooking with children—at home or in the classroom—is a messy, awkward, time-consuming venture…and worth EVERY minute of it!
Hi! My name is Cindy Ulshafer. I was flattered when Nellie asked me to be a guest blogger. We work together in her office and swap stories of kids and grandkids in between the intense, exacting work of developing the best for teachers. Write about our family’s fun with her cookbook, Kids in the Kitchen? Happy to share!
“Nenna, what can we cook today?” That’s a frequent query of my granddaughter, Emory, when we get together. Yes, grandmothers and grandfathers have more time than parents with their 24/7 responsibilities of raising busy children. But today, I’d like to tell you what inspired my emphatic “Yes!” to the requests of our own kids to “help” in the kitchen.
"I sent this home with parents during distance learning! It was so much fun!... Families loved it!"
Please know that I was NOT a super mom but a normal parent with the normal challenges. So, when my sister gave me a copy of Nellie Edge’s Kids in the Kitchen (well, back then it was called Kindergarten Cooks), my first impulse was to put it aside with “Another day when there’s less going on” type of thinking. Thankfully, I let it sit on the counter because along came our book-loving children and started thumbing through the pages. “What’s this, Mom?” “It’s a cookbook for kids.” “Can we use it?” “Uh, sure. Maybe tomorrow.” “What does this say?” “Let me see. Chewy Yum-Yums.” “What’s this picture of?” “Hm. Looks like…” And before I knew it, I was poring over the pages with first one and then all four of our youngsters hanging off the chair, trying to see. With all their enthusiasm and motivation, how could I say no? We made a definite plan for the next day.
"I am sending this to my parents as an end of year gift."
"I used this with my 3rd graders during our measurement unit. It was great!"
Every parent and teacher values fresh ways to support children’s education. Cooking in the classroom or in the kitchen offers oodles of opportunities. When our kids saw the picture symbols in Nellie’s book (e.g., measuring cups and ingredients), they could begin to confidently “read” the recipe. After seeing the word “cup” or “stir” several times, they began to connect word to symbol. They searched for the recipes that had the word “marshmallows” or yelled “yuck!” when the playdough recipe called for ½ cup of salt. The cookbook offered chances to practice counting, measuring, adding, and even multiplying when we doubled a recipe. They learned about fractions when I asked them to “turn the bowl a quarter turn” or “fill the muffin pan two-thirds full.” Reading and math simply became useful tools at their disposal to reach a goal.
"Creating family memories is important to me. I love using this with my grandchildren."
"I received this book as a gift when I was about 6 years old. I have been using it ever since! Please know you have established a foundation for my LOVE of cooking/ baking and your cookbook has been a foundation to many of my favorite and most requested items!" –Samantha H.
Nellie developed and tested her most favorite recipes right in the kindergarten where she taught on the Makah Indian Reservation, so they come with young learners’ stamp of approval. Pierr Morgan (now an award-winning artist) started her career when she illustrated Kids in the Kitchen, complete with Northwest Indian motifs. A second generation of kindergarten teachers now use it to engage their students, in the classroom and through distance learning. A hands-on resource, this fully illustrated kids’ cookbook helps teach math concepts and reinforces early reading skills. Cooking can develop language and life skills, especially for special needs students and English learners: It builds community, teaches cooperation, gives hand coordination practice, and introduces new concepts. Yes, cooking and learning go together: Who knew learning could be so delicious?
"These are great. They are a perfect way for building kitchen skills with my life skills students." –Marjorie H.
"It's great because recipes deal with measurements and it's something parents can do with their child during the summer." –Betty K.
Eventually, I did have to get another copy when Nellie’s well-known playdough recipe got smeared enough to make it difficult to read. And I have now downloaded my own Kids in the Kitchen from Teachers Pay Teachers. (It is a perfect gift for families or teachers!) To save money, I printed it at home and had it bound at the print shop, and it’s ready for when our newest grandson asks his Nenna, “Can we make Chewy Yum-Yums today?”
"So many fun recipes! " –Tim M.
Most of the quotes scattered about this blog come from PreK-1 educators on TpT. Photos are used with permission.