Gifts (or Ideas) for Kids who like to Cook / by J White

Here are a smattering of ideas for Kids who Love to Cook beyond the usual kid’s cooking & child chef's kits. You can further customize the ideas to make them Holiday Gifts by adding a candy canes to the hot chocolate kit or make the baking kit a sugar cookie or gingerbread one, etc.

A children’s-sized Chef jacket

(with or without the name embroidered) - Rather than a traditional apron this jacket is made of the same materials which real chef’s wear in commercial kitchens and is up to the harsh treatment of spot treating and multiple washings. They are roomy and comfortable and provide good coverage. Trent's jackets have come from and have washed beautifully.

Make a baking kit:

Take your favorite baking recipe, package up the dry ingredients in a plastic jar, bag or glass canning jar. Print the instructions (include a shopping list of perishable ingredients). For muffins you could include paper muffin cups or the colorful silicone ones or a mini-muffin pan. For cookies, include cutters, or chocolate chips, or other decorations. For a holiday idea include the ingredients for gingerbread or sugar cookies and a set of graduated star cutters to make a “tree” when the cookies are piled.

Make a kit for Hot chocolate - cocoa powder, sugar, gourmet marshmallows, and a mug and special spoon – add candy canes, candy sticks or cinnamon sticks. Print the recipe and the instructions and wrap it up!

Make a kit for Kid-made Dinner: Spaghetti Night or Lasagna Night (dry pasta - no-boil noodles for Lasagna, a jar of sauce or can of tomatoes, pasta spoon, spices, jar of roasted peppers or olives or other add-ins).

Or take a different road and send a recipe for Pasta with a Tonnato Sauce (and send high grade wild tuna packed in oil, bottarga and capers packed in salt and instructions of how to handle each item).

Make a Guacamole kit (perishable & seasonal) – Send Organic Avocadoes grown in the USA, limes, salt, onions and chiles (if applicable – we make Guacamole with no chiles and adults or older kids with experience should really only handle them). Send a lava bowl and pestle to mash them in or a nice fork – and a bag of organic corn tortilla chips. Local Harvest has Avocados available to ship. Que Pasa chips are currently our organic chips of choice.

Make a recipe box: Take some of your favorite recipes and make them little-chef friendly printing them clearly and making the steps simple. Add a photo if you have one (a digital camera and a color printer will work). If there's a story, add it on the reverse side of the card. You can provide a little recipe box to go along with it, with blank recipe cards and room for more! You can even buy a plain box and decorate it or paint it! Or you can buy a pre-built box and add some custom recipes like the A-to-Z recipe box.

Find a cooking school in the child’s community which has classes for kids and send a gift certificate for a class or make them a reservation. Some town/city recreation departments offer cooking classes for kids. Some of the cooking store chains like Sur La Table offer classes for kids (often seasonal).

If you sew, make an apron and embroider the child’s name or sew on a fabric square with the name printed on it. If you quilt, make up some hot pads or a special placemat!

If you don’t sew or bake, assemble some great pint-sized cooking items like small tongs, small measuring cups or spoons, mixing bowl, baking pan and package in a tray or box which they could easily be stored in.

For a special little chef, consider a special children's Chef Knife and cutting board (to be used under adult supervision, of course). A small cutting board from Epicurean is what Trent uses. Korin offers a Misono blunt ended little chef's knife that Trent has had for a few years. New this year is a less-expensive kid's kitchen lines from KuhnRikon called Kinderkitchen which included both straight edge and serrated knives with animal figure handles.

Build a better lunchbox. Either a BPA-free one like the ones from Crocodile Creek or a little laptop style or a Bento box jar style. A new water bottle with a custom made label or design like one from Sigg might elicit a smile. I like the Oots lunch idea too! Add a bamboo fork or spoon, some fancy chopsticks, or a lovely set of cloth napkins, for a fun flourish!

A Learning Tower! IYou will need a bit of room in your kitchen but this was an essential in ours. Our son used it for 5 years almost daily! They come in colors and a variety of finishes. They are made of real wood, adjustable and hold two kids. It is incredibly sturdy..

If you don't have time to make your own: Send a Pre-made kit. Most kits have simple instructions which translate well for kids. Baker’s Catalog offers ones that I’ve sent – but beware premade kits often hide PHOs or HFC, if that’s a concern.