The sizzle of a skillet, the simmering of stews, the smell of cookies wafting out of the oven — this is what I remember about being in the kitchen with my mom when I was a kid. She always had me with her in the kitchen on my little step stool, where I would help her mix up batters, peel potatoes, and make salads. But when I had my own kid, I didn’t know where to start. It can be a challenge to figure out how to introduce your child to the kitchen, no matter their age. How do you make it exciting? What are the best kid-friendly recipes? And how do you make sure the food you’re making together will actually taste good? That’s where KiwiCo’s brand-new Yummy Crate comes in handy. I recently got the chance to review the Tasty & Toasty Yummy Crate, and it’s just what parents who are interested in getting their kids cooking need, all in one box.
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Previously, I was familiar with KiwiCo and its hands-on, monthly activity kits that promote STEAM skills for kids. Yummy Crate is their newest addition. It’s a monthly kit for kids ages 6-14, and it explores the science of cooking with tasty family-friendly recipes, specialty cooking tools that kids can experiment with, and creative activities.
When I opened the kit, I was impressed with how much was inside. There was a letter to the “grown up sous chef” that outlined the recipes within, explaining the main lesson of the crate (in this case, the Maillard reaction, which is the fancy science name for cooking food until it’s browned), providing a shopping list for ingredients, and offering up ingredient substitutions for different dietary needs.
There were three recipe cards included, for making browned burgers, chicken tenders, and smashed potatoes. I was excited to see that they had options for making meatless versions of their browned burgers, gluten-free options for their breaded chicken tenders, and that each recipe was nut-free, making this kit suitable for those with allergies.
The specialty tool that came in my kit was a burger press that doubles as a potato smasher. My son is a toddler, so he’s a bit younger than the recommended age range, but he had fun helping me press our burgers. And we both got a lot of satisfaction out of smashing our potatoes, which helped them crisp up in the oven (it’s the Maillard reaction in action!). In fact, the burger press tool might have been invented for the kids, but I can see myself using it for all sorts of things in the future, especially whenever I make crispy potatoes or Brussels sprouts (smashing those results in more surface area coming into contact with your pan, meaning more Maillard reaction and crispy brown bits, too).
On the creative side, the kit included a dry-erase menu and marker that kids can use to write out descriptions of their culinary creations. But beyond the kit, the reusable menu can also be a fun activity to get kids interested in dinner every night. They can write up the menu while you cook, or you can have them create a menu and make your meal based on the dinner they dreamed up! There’s also a “Yummy Zine,” a magazine with information and activities based on each crate’s topic. This one was all about the Maillard reaction and even included a cute mystery story about toasted marshmallows.
The Yummy Crate from KiwiCo is available for pre-order now and starts shipping in November. If you’ve always wanted to get your kids excited about food and cooking but weren’t sure where to start, this is a great option. It’s fun for kids who are already interested in cooking, too — they’ll love the specialty cooking tool in each kit, and learning about the “why” behind phenomenon like foods browning will deepen their understanding of how things work in the kitchen.
Before you go, check out Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes below:
Watch: How to Make Sugar Cookie Berry Pizza