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Cooking with your Child in a Small, NYC Kitchen

Tips for cooking when you have a child and a small nyc apartmentLife in New York City has a lot of perks for modern professionals with children: an abundance of family-friendly activities, access to great private preschools (River School, for example), and exposure to some of the most culturally rich experiences a parent could hope for. One of the most common tradeoffs for living here, however, is the notoriously small NYC apartment. Small apartments mean small kitchens, and that means realistically being able to cook with a preschooler is off the table… Right? Only if you say so!

Okay, okay… I can tell you’re rolling your eyes. Before you decide I’m off of my rocker, dear reader, consider this; For three years, I taught cooking classes to children, ages 2-5 years, in a small, multi-purpose art room. My classes had up to thirteen children at a time. We cooked with a portable electric burner, a toaster oven, and a microwave. The kids loved every minute of it and I am so grateful I got to teach those classes, in spite of the small space!

Okay, but then how do you realistically cook with a young child in a small, NYC kitchen?:

  • Utilize what you’ve got: You may see a dorm-style kitchen decked out with a small table and a microwave, but I see potential table counterspace and the ability to make microwaveable mug cakes. And don’t forget… Your child’s play table and chairs provide the perfect prep space for your little one while he/she smashes avocado or snaps green beans!
  • Organization is your best tool: Combine your three bags of AP flour and two bags of sugar into individual, sealed and labeled tupperware containers. They’ll take up less space and create less waste… This will free up more space for, you guessed it, cooking with your preschooler!
  • Clean house: Time to get rid of the “Hello, Kitty” toaster and dusty breadmaker you bought five years ago and never use… Single-use (or no-use) gadgets take up valuable counter real-estate!
  • Keep recipes simple: The simpler the recipe, the less space it’ll take up and the more likely it is that your child will be able to help you make it. Leave the extravagant meals for times when your little one isn’t pitching in.
  • Safety first: When the ingredients have been prepared for cooking and it’s time to use the stove/oven, have your child sit at the table or step out of the kitchen. Whether or not they cook with their parents, children must learn kitchen safety. This means hot things, sharp things, and raw meats are to be avoided unless you are a grown-up.

This week, try out this small apartment-friendly recipe for microwaveable mug cakes. This one isn’t mine, but it’s too good not to share!

Mixed Berry Microwave Cobbler

Mixed berry microwave cobbler

 

(This recipe comes directly from www.MommyPoppins.com)

 You can use any berries you like for this, fresh or defrosted frozen. Fill mug about halfway with chopped berries and sprinkle with a tablespoons sugar or to taste. In a bowl mix 1/3 cup self-rising flour, a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of milk to form crust. Top the berries with your crust, sprinkle a little sugar on top and microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Let cool before eating. Add ice cream or whipped cream for extra yumminess.

 

Do you have a question for Katie, or something you’d like to share with the River School community on the blog? Feel free to email her at kidslearn@theriverschool.com!

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