Lasang Pinoy 8 – Cooking with Kids


I have a 10 year old daughter who prefers dessert to her main courses, though she eats a surprisingly wide variety of dishes when compared to her peers. She is also on the cusp of a major growth spurt so she is eating like a horse at the moment. She is not afraid to try new dishes and has on occasion surprised us in restaurants around the globe by ordering octopus, frog’s legs, sushi, etc. She still considers most green things to be “evil” but eats asparagus, kangkong and broccoli when it’s part of the meal on the table. She has spent hours and hours with me in the kitchen, watching me cook, helping me photograph produce and dishes, and occasionally attempts to cook and or prepare something to eat for herself. She can actually cook spaghetti sauce and her secret is to add a touch of sugar to the tomato sauce as well as several cloves of garlic that once cooked and soft, she crushes and mixes in with the sauce. We have successfully prevented a preference for Jollibee or McDonald’s sweet spaghetti by frequently serving good old fashioned spaghetti a la pomodoro with a hint of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

She is one of those kids that will hopefully have warm memories of the kitchen. kid2She sometimes ate in the kitchen as a toddler, watched me make the first gingerbread houses while safely ensconced in her high chair, she has decorated cookies, cupcakes, etc. with my stash of 30+ types of sprinkles. I have sometimes tried to include math tips while she fooled around with measuring cups for flour, sugar and other ingredients. She has a preference for all things sweet/dessert-like and is particularly discerning when it comes to chocolate…some La Maison du Chocolat, 1 pound assorted selection of Godiva or some Royce never fails to perk up this 10 year old. As a wizened adult, she will probably recall the time a generous guest sent a dozen humongous and spectacularly FRESH lobsters and when I tried to cook them, they got loose, crawling everywhere in the kitchen and were literally fighting back when I tried to plunge them into boiling water. She was mortified that I was murdering the creatures who were clinging to the pots rim with incredible strength. I wonder if that will be as memorable as the time I walked in on my mom cooking dinuguan just as she was pouring in the pig’s blood…I have never eaten dinuguan since then…

My daughter and I discussed what we might post for the LP8 on cooking with kids and decided on a panini or grilled sandwich and fruit based dessert. First up, the panini… we got some whole wheat bread and some foccacia. Raided the fridge and found some jamon Serrano, regular deli ham, provolone, “square” American cheese, tomatoes, etc. My daughter made a panini by buttering the outside panels of the sandwich, placing cheese on either interior side of the bread and a thin layer of jamon seranno. Grilled for just 3-4 minutes on a hot grill or panini contraption and voila, grilled sandwich perfection…down to the dark grill marks on the sandwich. Sliced in two, it had this wonderful crunch to the bread and encased the just melting cheese and salty jamon Serrano. She had friends over that day and we tried regular ham with square cheese, tomatoes and cheese, provolone and Serrano and frankly, all were delicious. The key is the right amount of butter on good substantial bread and just enough cheese inside with a well-spread out amount of meat if you are using it. Yum. Seriously good stuff and except for handling the panini grill itself, almost completely child friendly.

For dessert, my daughter would opt for a nice big bowl of ice cream or kid3a nice box of chocolates, but she knows that some balance is required so she attempts to find ways to incorporate fruit into her chocolate. First up is a classic pairing of strawberries and chocolate. She breaks off a few triangles of toblerone chocolate and sticks it in a bowl and zaps it in the microwave for a few seconds until melted. She then puts it on top of ripe strawberries and for added drama a sprinkling of powdered confectioners sugar. She put it on a small mother of pearl plate and she has a totally self-made dessert that is delicious, nutritious and attractive to look at. Finally, devoid of things to keep her and a bunch of friends busy at the beach one day, I gave them some food to work with and come up with a plated dessert in less than 10 minutes…the result, a mango and orange salad with broas and chocolate shards. On top of these went some mango ice cream and the kitchen was an absolute disaster area after 5 girls spent 10 minutes frantically trying to come up with something a la Iron Chef Childeren’s Edition… Other things we make together include home made-frapuccinos (those PHP100 versions at Starbucks are OUTRAGEOUS), cupcakes, cookies, etc.


22 Responses

  1. I just love reading your blog and the comments made by all your readers. This is a great article on how to spend quality time with your kids. I love to cook. My two year old son sits on the kitchen counter with a mixing bowl and spoon, while I prepare dinner. I put the garlic/ onion peel in the bowl and he pretends to “mix-mix dinner”. I hope to inspire him to cook or even better – be self suffient in the kitchen, not completely relying on others to prepare stuff. I never cooked when I was back in Manila, but because I love to eat Filipino food, I learned by using Nora Daza’s cookbook. I guess you could say its the bible to a lot of starting cooks here in the US. Ang tanong na madalas: “May Nora Daza ka ba?

    My husband, myself and my 2 year old were home over the holidays to spend time with both our families. I made a list of things to do and see based on some of your postings. But being a balikbayan – I never got to see anything, didnt get to Salcedo Market either – bummer! I got dragged to a ton of parties and did a lot of shopping (not that either one was bad) Hanggang SidCor na lang kami ng Mommy ko – na hindi na pala SidCor, nasa may lung(?) center na.

    Anyway, I digress, thank you for got the great tips and recipes! Love it, love it, love it!! I miss the Philippines! Mabuhay Pilipinas!

  2. I loved reading about you and your daughter in the kitchen together! The “Iron Chef” style dessert making activity you cooked up for her and her friends was both sweet and very entertaining (especially when I try to picture it in my head…oh boy!). I have no kids of my own and have hardly ever cooked with kids or for kids (ok, I do sound like an ogre now!) so this round of LP has stumped me…although I do want to think of something by way of an entry…

    Your daughter’s desserts look and sound really yummy :)

  3. I agree with Joey there… it’s sweet. The fact that you played ‘kitchen’ with not 1 but 5 kids! Reading entries for few days now and LP8 has really become something of a revelation. Thank you MM and Kid for joining LP8!

    Hey Kid, I wonder what you saw on your dad’s face when you took out your desserts… :)

  4. Moments specially parent and child cooking moments are very wonderful. . . it really gives good memories that really stay ’til you really really get old, just even teaching your kid how to cook the simple boiled rice or scrambled egg gives you great bonding. . .

  5. MM,

    Your panini ooks like a fancier version of my hubby’s tomato and cheese grilled sandwich. =)
    I’m at the point of enjoying having my son around the kitchen. Hopefully when he gets older he will remember helping me out in the kitchen and have fond memories of it. Can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolates!

  6. MM and Kid, your panino sounds super-yummy. i also like the looks of your panini grill – where did you get that and what brand/make is it? Have been looking all over but all I can find are the huge ones fit for “eye-talian” cafes. can’t wait to make a grilled vegetable panini (the best is at Tinder Box, at the smoking section of the pre-departure area of the Centennial Terminal. It’s worth wading through all the smoke and smokers…..

  7. I love this post – brought back a lot of memories. My cousins and I would spend part of summer learning how to bake and prepare dishes with my aunts and uncles. Sweating and slaving in a hot kitchen may not be the best way to spend summer as a kid but these became treasured moments that we would always recall and talk about.

    No matter how messy your kitchen will be – even when trying to prepare a simple dish, it’s all worth it.

    And Kid… even if your dad made his now famous wah-wah face when he entered the kitchen, deep inside him is joy and pride that you share his fondess of cooking.

  8. hi MM!

    i recently got the 10th Anniversay Edition of the George Foreman Grill, the Lean, Mean, Grilling Machine!

    it’s almost twice the size and
    only half the price of the original grill.

    at less than $50, it’s the kitchen gadget buy of the year!

    it can easily fit 4 large steaks,
    and cook them to fat-free perfection in around 5minutes.
    complete with gorgeous grill marks to boot!

    my inner Bobby Flay is enraptured.

  9. Puts a smile on my face. ;)

    Whenever I make sushi my daughter loves to get her hands into the sushi rice to make Tekkamaki.

    This also reminds me of the time my oldest son was about 5ish and decided to help me make Tuscan bread. His loaf turned rock hard… Should’ve kept it.

  10. There nothing better than to teach the children how to eat a good foods and make them learned to cook too. My children who are now 18,16,and 14 love home cooking and often invites friends in our house and prepared food for themselves. When my 18 left the nest to go to university the first thing he pack is this step-by-step cook book I gave to him when he was 10. He apparently quite a chef in their dorm.

  11. It’s great that Lasang Pinoy would think of cooking with kids as their theme this time. Children should be educated early on about proper food. A lot of parents complain to me that their children never eat anything other than fast food (or hotdog, fried chicken, etc.)! Uhmmm, could it be because that’s all they know? Parents often underestimate a child’s capacity to appreciate ‘real’ food.

    Ironically, processed foods that are marketed directly towards children are some of the worst things you could feed them. Fresh, unadulterated food that you cook yourself is always best.

    I remember one day in culinary school, I was surprised to see the premises full of energetic six year olds. The chef-instructor must have seen my puzzled expression and explained to me that it was semaine du gout! Loosely translated, week of taste. It was a program to educate the youngster’s palate about different tastes and cuisines. What a wonderful sight it was- young children invading the kitchens of the Ritz to learn about food. How haughty can you get, huh? hehehe. Only in Paris!

    The closest thing we have in local schools is a field trip to (where else?)a fast food restaurant kitchen or a soda factory.

  12. hi! i’m very happy to learn that such a site exists… and i’m glad that there are people willing to teach and eager to learn about cooking and baking. i’ve just opened a baking supplies shop in pasig city (address: #363 Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue cor. Liwayway St., Caniogan, Pasig City; call us at 6412561) and we will be conducting some free (or a minimum charge) baking seminars to primarily help those who would like to establish their own business :) hope that some of your readers will be able to visit our shop and join in our baking demonstrations :) goodluck!

  13. I just had to laugh when you said that the kitchen was a complet disaster area. That certainly is familiar to me. ;)
    Good to know that your daughter is learning a lot from you just from seeing you cook and bake. Teaching by example is truly the best way to make them learn. :)

  14. I missed that part of my childhood, parent and child cooking together. Great post to read. I hope to raise my kids with enough time in the kitchen.

  15. Cooking is really a bonding time for parents and their children.

    We also learn many things from our kids. They are really creative.

  16. LOL! our kitchen is a constant explosion everytime the girls and I get in there too :) My hubby is the clean up person, and he hates it!

    I agree with you about the sweet spaghetti, we have those here in the south too, with overcooked mushy pasta at that. My kids were raised on homemade pasta sauce with al dente noodles that is why to this day, they won’t eat cafeteria lunch at their school and bring their lunches instead.

    And MM, you are a great dad to putter around with 5 girls in the kitchen :D

  17. Hello Dear,
    I’m living in the USA and would like to make some dinogu-an but I have no idea where to get the blood liqiud for this recipe, can you help me?

  18. this blog made me smile :)looking back at my childhood, i wish my mom had spent time with me in the kitchen. i have no culinary skills whatsoever, and now that i’m married, i find this to be frustrating. been surfing around for newbie-friendly recipes and was lucky enough to stumble upon your blog.

    i’m a big fan of chocolate covered strawberries and i can’t wait to try the nuked toblerone bit for a quick sugar fix. no need to prep the fondue.. thanks for the great tip!



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