Taking the Kids To Cooking School
Cooking School for Kids
Grilled Cactus anyone?
I am standing in a Mexican kitchen on a picturesque Ranch outside of
The rest of my gang is working equally hard -- my son Matt and husband Andy volunteered for the rice, my two daughters Reggie and Mel (chocoholics!) for the chocolate pudding dessert made with the famous chocolate from this region and I work on the little tortillas that we will cook outside on a special tortilla grill called a Comal.
Welcome to Seasons of
We had spent the morning touring the ancient ruin of
While we were touring the ruin, the other people in
"We all love to cook and be in the kitchen together," said
As kids become more sophisticated eaters (more about that in an upcoming column) there are more opportunities to learn about cooking and local cuisine on vacation, whether visiting local restaurants or farmer's markets. (I especially love
Kids can even learn to cook while cruising the high seas! Aboard the
"Family cooking classes in
Resorts are incorporating cooking lessons and demonstrations in their kids programs too -- from major all-inclusives like Beaches in the
There are plenty of options too at small hotels like
Trilling, meanwhile, herself the mom of two teens, couldn't have been more welcoming to the baby in our group, even providing a port-a-crib and a young local girl more than happy to play with him while his parents and grandparents cooked.
She explained the day's recipes: Memelas, basic Oaxacan snacks that are small tortillas smeared with bean paste, cheese and various toppings; grilled Nopaeles Salad (Cactus with avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and more to put on palm-sized tortillas; Tortilla Soup; Green salad with pears and Roquefort; a savory chicken stew with capers and olives; rice flavored with Chepil, a pre-Hispanic herb; and the piece de resistance -- a Oaxacan chocolate pudding with a strawberry tangerine sauce.
Soon the big kitchen was noisy as the 30 people chopped and stirred and kneaded and sipped Mexican beer. I spent a lot of time grinding spices with an old-fashioned mortar and pestle.
"This is right up my alley," says 22-year-old
We applaud after each one. We're proud of ourselves and eat until we can't manage another bite. Trilling presents us with the Mexican wooden tool called a Molinillo that's used to stir and froth the famous Oaxacan chocolate. She gives us some chocolate too. I leave clutching my recipes, my chocolate and my new mortar and pestle.
I use it all the time -- and smile.
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(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
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