How many kitchen gadgets have you bought with good cooking intentions only to forget about them as soon as they were pushed to the back of the drawer? Pam Abrams, author of Now I Eat my ABC’s, has found many kid-friendly creative uses for those rarely used kitchen tools and shares them in her new book Gadgetology. Part cookbook, part craft book, Gadgetology shows you how to make the most of 35 kitchen gadgets, with recipes, crafts, experiments and other playtime activities for each.
Abrams says there are few greater pleasures than baking cookies with kids, and cookie cutters greatly enhance the fun. But you can use cookie cutters for other cooking applications and, as a bonus, non-edible crafts, too.
Recipe: Eggs in Bread
Place two bread slices on a cutting board and, using a cookie cutter, cut out a shape — any size is fine as long as the bread still has a solid frame. Set a frying pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fry bread for 30 seconds. Flip bread and crack each egg directly into the hole of the bread slice; cook for about 2-1/2 minutes or until the egg sets. Fry the cutouts, too, and serve them on the side.
Craft: Cookie cutter mobile
Use cookie cutters in the shapes of a crescent moon, multi-size stars, and a variety of circles (for planets) to trace shapes onto cardboard or balsa wood. Cut out the shapes and paint them on both sides with neon paints. When dry, push a hole in the top of each shape with a tapestry needle. Thread lanyard string through each shape and hang from a painted dowel rod. Tie two lengths of string to the ends of the rod and tie at the top. Hang and admire.
Pasta spoons, sometimes called pasta forks, make stirring, sampling and serving pasta fun and easy. (Especially if your kids like to make-believe the long noodles are worms.) In addition, the tines of the pasta fork can be decorated with yarn, ribbons, buttons, and other miniature doo-dads to turn the utensil into pasta spoon puppets.
Recipe: Fettuccini Alfredo with Peas
Cook 1 pound fettuccini according to package directions. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cups heavy cream and 1 teaspoon salt; raise heat to bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove pan from heat and add fettuccini, 1 cup grated Parmesan and 1 cup cooked peas. Toss with the pasta spoon to combine. Serve.
Craft: Pasta spoon puppets
To make puppet people, use strands of colored yarn or curling ribbon for hair, attaching it to the pasta spoon with wire or glue. Add facial features with stick-on scrapbooking charms, beads and rhinestones, and top off with a party favor hat. Then set up a puppet show for the whole family to enjoy.
Get your children’s curiosity cooking
Teaching your kids how to use kitchen tools gives them a sense of accomplishment and cooking confidence. By using those same gadgets for crafts, you nourish your children’s creativity and give them readily accessible means to make a wide range of art-like masterpieces, self-designed games and experiments that may just win them the top spot at the school science fair.Abrams book Gadgetology gives you a tasty and fun array of recipes and activities that she tested with her own kids. But this is just a start. Follow her lead to introduce your children to your collection of kitchen gadgets and then come up with some of your own kid-friendly recipes, art projects and experiments. You just may find yourself picking up a few more kitchen gadgets to add to your collection.