The holidays are fast-approaching and they are, as usual, filled with both joy and stress, for all of us! So to help our kids remain full of more joy and less stress during their November and December breaks, I've created an event that I know a lot of them will love: an honest-to-goodness, Show-Us-What-You've Got Cook-Off!
Here are some de-mystifying deets for you:
What?Friendly Culinary Competition (meaning: no elimination, just rewards for excellence in each daily challenge)
How? Five rotating teams of Two Chefs
Daily Challenges using Mystery Ingredients: Interesting, Seasonal items
Why? ‘Cuz Games ROCK! And Cooking is COOL!!
Benefits: Fun & Educational, Healthy & Practical, Creative & Engaging
Now that I've got those bits out of the way, let me tell you why I'm really hosting this Creative Kid Cooking Competition...
It seems like a no-brainer to me: Food. Play. Imagination. YES! Edible Brilliance can shine if given the opportunity, while Basic Life Skills are being learned in a fun setting. The process and excitement of cooking is "planted" without being an unpleasant-yet-necessary task or the expected drudgery it has become for an entire (overwhelmed) generation who didn’t grow-up with (realistic) culinary inspiration or the good fortune of any kind of Eating Education.
It’s no small wonder that the Frozen and Prepared Product sectors have experienced unprecedented growth in the Food Industry compared to other components; our culture has created the Perfect Storm for modern-day malnutrition with nutrient-deficient, “quick ‘n easy” "food products” designed for instant gratification and time-deficient lifestyles. Bottom-line-driven corporations have graciously given us short-term solutions which are killing us, as a Nation, with preventable nutrition-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and, research is showing, autismand myriad physical and, I believe, psychological and developmental ailments. It’s all around us and just looks so hopeless and bleak at times… Oy!
So here's my attempt at one remedy for this distressing and puzzling predicament:
Although my camps and cooking competitions may appear to be just Fun & Games, there are some Real Life Lessons being taught. It is my hope and intention to shift the unfortunate perception of Food As Fill or mere entertainment.
Do you know that Americans spend more on dining-out than any other culture in the world? While I, too, appreciate someone else doing the dishes, it’s just Part of the Deal when cooking and it ain’t so bad! Any real chef will attest: Cleaning-up is an important life skill and develops self-esteem and self-reliance. And let’s face it: whether alone or with friends/family, eating is FUN, ideally, and cooking is a great way to spend your time, especially when it’s something we have to do anyway, eh? It’s all about mindset, as with everything. Even washing the dishes.
Ultimately, the focus needs to be on slowing-down the pace long enough to prepare, sit and chew, commune, breathe…and not always en route to the next extra-curricular activity. Seriously, I see this all the time and over-extended kids are stressed-out and under-sized or gaining unnecessary weight if the activity isn’t physical. I’ve had adult clients who told me that they were raised this way, on the road, subsisting on burgers and fries and now have “no idea how to actually cook”, concerned about feeding their own children, dressing for soccer practice in the car… The tragic result is, actually, despite participation in team or groups, an isolated way of living, something at which we Americans excel, stoically independent (read: disconnected) and starving, literally.
It is my goal through this upcoming event (and my other instructional camps) to give kids the opportunity to play, eat and live consciously and to make good, important choices for themselves and our precious planet.
I hope that your kids come out to play with me and other Totally Intuitive Kids and learn with The Intuitive Kitchen throughout the holidays and all year 'round!