Sunday, September 20, 2015

Science! In the kitchen!

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Before I start this post, you should know I'm not cool enough (yet) to have earned any swag in exchange for a review, so not only is this review my 100% honest opinion, but I paid for the subscription. 

My kids love to cook. Some of my earliest memories are of helping my dad or stepmom in the kitchen, on this ancient green stove and oven contraption that looked more like a robot than a kitchen appliance. When I nannied, I had beautiful kitchens to teach my little loves how to whisk and fold. I started my own girls in the kitchen incredibly young, and mostly out of necessity. I wore them as I cooked, set them in highchairs at the counter as I baked, gave them tastes of ingredients and talked at them about the processes and products until they were old enough to narrate themselves. These days, it is rare when I don't have a kid in the kitchen helping. That's how I like it. 

When V. was three, my friend told me about a monthly cooking club for kids. I took a chance on one box and our first Raddish box arrived two weeks later. Inside were three recipe cards, a paper chef hat (which caused many arguments, even though J. was only one) and a badge for an apron we didn't have.  V. loved it. The cooking technique featured was knife safety, which lead to us purchasing a very sharp and purple paring knife small enough for a preschooler's hands. (V. had been cutting with butter knives and lettuce knives for a while. Nearing her fourth birthday, she had almost two solid years of chopping stuff up before we handed her an actual knife.) 

Although we really enjoyed that box, and one other box we ordered with a holiday theme, I wasn't quite certain the girls were old enough to appreciate this on a monthly basis, especially given the cost. 

Last month, the theme was chemistry. That was enough to sell me. I had watched too many great monthly themes go by without ordering, and the STEM tie-in was just too cool to pass up. 

Our box arrived Friday. 

I ordered the sibling kit to avoid drama, and good thing. I can't imagine what would happen if only one pair of goggles were available. Wars have been waged over less. 

These recipes and the language involved are really designed for older kids, but the pictures are clear enough that reading isn't necessary. The cards are laminated, so when J. dumped milk on them, they cleaned right off.

Because of the goggles and Odd Squad, the girls were pretty sure the chemical reaction was going to be dramatic in an explosion sense. Sorry, kids. 

Although her prediction of what would happen to the milk was off, and the slightly disappointing lack of explosions, V. was pretty pleased with the end result: ricotta cheese. 

While everyone taste-tested the experiment, we had a great talk about proteins and acid.

Obviously this is something you could do without a box showing up at the door. However, the box provides sophisticated language in kid-friendly format, which isn't innate for many parents. Each kit contains a skill used in all three recipes, adding structure and reinforcement. There is also the fact that now it is all packaged and paid for, so I feel I should make good use of what we got.

I'd recommend this for any family, but particularly those looking for a non-intimidating way to introduce cooking to their kids, homeschoolers who would benefit from the structured lessons, and anyone looking to boost math skills.

We all had a good deal of fun making cheese. I'm glad we went for a subscription this time because, even though they are usually cooking with me, it was nice to have a recipe that was kid-directed and, had we completely burned it, would have been of little consequence if ruined. We'll make good use of each monthly kit, I'm sure.

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