1. Consisting of members or elements of different kinds; of mixed character: a book of miscellaneous essays on American history.

2. Having various qualities, aspects, or subjects: a miscellaneous discussion.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No KIDding about these cooking classes

In the August 17th edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the FOOD section had an article, “Finding fun in food.”  The story was about cooking schools for children.  Nancy Kopperud who operates Petite Chef, a cooking school for kids in Oconomowoc, tells her students, “You’ve got to eat three times a day.  You’d better figure out something besides a chicken nugget and a french fry.”  Similar words of wisdom come from Carol Burkert, owner of Kids Can Cook school in Elm Grove:  “It’s a life skill.  If kids learn to cook, they’re going to survive.”

I’m a strong supporter of local businesses and I am always happy to read about successful ventures.  (Wisconsin does not have a very small-business-friendly climate but hopefully our current governor, Scott Walker, will change that.)  I think it is wonderful that these women are teaching important skills AND making it fun for the kids.

Public television has hosted cooking shows since Julia Child came on the scene.  But it was the Food Network who inspired the masses to elevate their skills & knowledge in the kitchen.  Since kids watch what their parents do, it’s only natural that even the under-12 set wants to grow up to be famous chefs.  Or at least know how to make an omelet and frost a pretty cake.

I think it is admirable that Nancy Kopperud and Carol Burkert are helping kids learn their way around a pie dish and stock pot.  What I found disturbing was a part of the article talking about how cooking is a great way to reinforce school-learned concepts such as math, reading and chemistry.  “But, to the dismay of many parents, it’s also messy and time-consuming.  And that may deter parents from making meal preparation a family activity.”

So basically kids’ cooking schools can find a niche because parents are impatient and lazy?  You can’t tell me that even a 9 to 5 mom or dad can’t find a few minutes on a weekend showing their children how to do more in the kitchen than open an Oscar Mayer Lunchable.  What’s next?  A school that teaches your kids how to get dressed, brush their teeth and wash their faces?  Perhaps one that teaches them how to ride a bike?  (Insert the sound of a forehead slap here.)

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