What is The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children?
I first found the cookbook Nourishing Traditions in 2011 and it flipped my food world upside-down. You can read a little more about it here, but essentially it completely changed the way I looked at food as well as what we were eating in our home. Over the last ten years, I have used many of the ideas and principles found in this book to keep our family eating healthy, nourishing foods.
Because these ideas of healthier living through food have been such a huge part of our family life, I want to instill these values in our kids as well. I remember when my son was small, each day when we sat down together for lunch, I’d pull out my battered copy of Nourishing Traditions and we’d see what “Sally” said about whatever it was we were eating that day. When I found out several years later that a kid’s version of the cookbook was being released, I was ecstatic!
While Nourishing Traditions itself is excellent reading material for older students (AmblesideOnline first mentions it as a guide for studying nutrition in Year 9), The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children summarizes many of the ideas found in that book in a much simpler way. This allows younger kids to also take in these ideas and understand why the quality and types of food we eat are important for our overall health.
With this in mind, I knew I wanted to go through this book with my kids, but didn’t have a good opportunity until this last year. For the last several years, all of the handicraft plans for our homeschool were made by one of the other capable moms in our co-op. Because of this, I had very little to do in this area other than making sure we completed our “homework” assignments. This last year, however, as various families moved away or chose to not participate in the co-op, we decided to eliminate a few communal subjects and handicrafts was one of them.
I’ll admit that I was intimidated by this at first. Handicrafts was the one subject that I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in actually being able to pull off regularly at home. I know myself all too well and unless something is all laid out for me with supply lists and weekly plans, chances are it won’t be done. But along with this was also a little excitement at the idea that if I could pull it off, it might be fun for me to be the one to choose what we learned. I decided I would take this opportunity to incorporate The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children into our homeschool. I’m so glad we did as it ended up being a huge success!
Teaching Cooking with The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children
The book is made up of 13 sections, each covering a different part of real food cooking including why sourcing high-quality ingredients is important as well as why it’s important to include various types of foods in our diet. The first two sections, “Kitchen Tools” and “Measuring Guide,” were similar enough that I felt we could combine them and spread the remaining sections out with one per week for the rest of the term.
I appreciate that each section covers a different aspect of eating healthier foods and also includes recipes specific to that topic. My younger daughter, who wasn’t quite yet reading when we started using this book, loved that each ingredient and piece of equipment needed for the recipes was drawn as well as written so she could participate in the cooking as well.
The first week was sort of an introduction as we had no recipes scheduled that week. During our morning lesson time, I brought the kids into the kitchen and we pulled out all of the equipment and tools mentioned in both sections so they could see what they were, where they were located, and how to use them while I read about them.
For the remaining weeks, I scheduled time during our morning lessons each week for us to read the section overview together which I also had the kids narrate. Then they’d pick out which recipe they wanted to make and we’d schedule a time later in the week for them to make it. They chose simpler recipes toward the beginning of the book that worked well to be made as snacks in the afternoon. Later, when they began choosing slightly more complicated recipes like baked beans and beef stew, we planned for them to make that as a meal.
When it was time for them to cook, I propped the cookbook up on our stand on the kitchen island and stepped aside as they took over. Because the book lays out everything needed for each recipe, including ingredients, they started by gathering everything. Then my son read through the entire recipe out loud before going back to the beginning to go through each step. They were pretty good about delegating and taking turns on certain tasks like measuring and dumping. There were other things that only my son did as he is the oldest, like chopping and slicing. The recipes they chose mostly did not have much stove-top cooking, but when it was necessary, I stepped in to do that.
|1||Kitchen Tools & Measuring Guide||none|
|2||Incredible Eggs!||Egg Yolk Smoothie|
|3||Mighty Milk!||Spiced Milk|
|4||Butter is Better||Butter|
|5||Super Snacks!||Buttered Blueberries|
|6||Vibrant Vegetables!||Sweet Potato Wedges|
|7||The Secret’s in the Soup!||Chicken and Rice Soup|
|8||Friendly Ferments||Pickled Cucumbers|
|9||Soak, Sour and Sprout!||Baked Beans|
|10||Meet Your Meat||Beef Stew|
|11||My Healthy Lunch||Chicken Salad|
|12||What’s for Dessert?||Whipped Cream|
The table above lists all of the recipes my kids chose as we made our way through the book. All of these were very simple and mostly hands-off for me. I stayed in the kitchen in case I was needed but otherwise let them do all of the work. It was not only nice to not have to cook a meal or prepare a snack or two, but it was also gratifying to see them doing something like this for themselves. They worked together well and learned skills that will serve them throughout their lives. If you haven’t considered teaching cooking as a handicraft, I highly recommend adding it to your homeschool!
If you’re wanting to try teaching cooking as a handicraft with The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children in your own homeschool, I’ve got a free printable for you! Enter your email address below to receive the guide that includes the schedule above as well as an overview of the weekly routine!