The ABC's of Cooking with Lynn Fredericks
author of Cooking Time Is Family Time

Lynn Fredericks
gives new meaning to our ABC's.
Each installment will focus on a new ingredient beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. H is for herbs features recipes, fun and family activities with herbs.



 H  is for Herbs

There’s no denying it - kids have a problem with ’green things’ in their food. Yet, as all good cooks know, the essential oils in herbs can elevate an ordinary dish into an incredibly aromatic and delicious one. So what’s a parent to do? The answer is to tackle the problem as a family project. This is not the time to get sneaky. Rather, a direct approach is ultimately successful in helping kids to identify at lease one herb they really like and to tolerate the very idea of herbs — green things — added to their meals.

If you can grow an herb garden where you and your children can each be involved in caring for a particular type, this is by far the best way to begin. If this is not feasible for your living space, then the following activity is a tried and true one that I’ve used over and over with kids with sometimes very surprising results.

Additionally, I’ve provided some herb-delicious recipes from my book Cooking Time Is Family Time, which should offer more enjoyment.

Multi-Sensory Herb

Adventure Herbs are fabulous cooking tools that kids can learn to love. In this exercise, you’ll help your children discover their own preferences. Take a trip to a greenmarket or the produce section of a supermarket and let your kids choose 4-6 different types of herbs. Then purchase a couple bags of carrots. Back at home, gather the following supplies:

  • Paper and pencil
  • A bowl for each herb
  • Chopping boards and knife (plastic/table knives for kids under eight)
  • Room temperature butter
  • Large pot
  • Vegetable peeler

1) Gather your family around the kitchen table with a piece of paper and pencil for each person.

2) Pass the herbs around, one at a time. Ask the kids to take a sprig, write down the name, and examine it using the 4 senses: sight, touch, smell and taste. Ask them to use some interesting vocabulary and write down their impressions on all four senses for each herb. (I’ve heard some very interesting descriptions over the years!!)

3) Now have the family chop some of each herb individually, placing one type of chopped herb in each empty bowl.

4) Next everyone can help to peel and slice the carrots into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot, set some water to boil and cook the carrots until tender.

5) Drain the cooked carrots, divide them into the separate bowls of herbs. Add a pad of butter and a pinch of salt to each bowl of carrots and herbs and have the kids stir each one to blend.

6) On a clean area, have the kids taste the different flavored carrots one at a time. Ask them to compare and contrast what they’ve tasted and to reveal their preferences in descending order.

In the many years I’ve conducted this exercise with kids, I’ve never met one yet who did not find at least one herb they really liked. They invested so much time in exploring them and trying them, they would feel they had failed if they could not find one that tastes good!


Let's Cook!

Check out other recipes that bring the whole family together:

>>> Buy This Book

Cooking Time is Family Time: Cooking Together,
Eating Together, and Spending Time Together

by Lynn Fredericks, William Morrow & Co., August, 1999

In COOKING TIME IS FAMILY TIME, Lynn Fredericks shows people how they can improve the time they spend with kids by inviting them into the kitchen to help prepare meals.

Included are 125 recipes emphasizing a variety of fresh, healthful ingredients and strategies to get kids to gobble them down. Each recipe offers directions that specify which steps are right for younger kids and which are more challenging for their older siblings.


Cooking with Kids Home
The ABC's of Cooking ::: Aa |Bb |Cc |Dd |Ee |Ff |Gg |Hh |Ii |Jj |Kk |Ll
Kid's Meals | Lynn's Thoughts on Feeding Her Children | Recipes | Book