My Daughter’s Kitchen

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My Daughter’s Kitchen, a partnership with the Philadelphia Inquirer, started with the simple goal of teaching kids to cook healthy, affordable meals from scratch. The 8-week after-school cooking program is volunteer taught and takes students from groceries in the bag to a family-style dinner on the table.

Each cooking class of 5-6 fifth-graders learns how to work with whole ingredients to make simple, healthy meals on a modest budget (under $20 for a meal that serves 6). Students are exposed to a wide range of new foods, and because they are the ones preparing the food, they’re invested in tasting the results.

Maureen Fitzgerald, the program’s founder and food editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer, features the program in an 8-week series of articles in both the spring and fall. The articles share the week’s recipes, the students’ reactions, and the lessons learned with the Inquirer’s 300,000 subscribers and millions of online readers at Philly.com. An archive of the articles can be found here.

Grassroots support from these readers has led to a robust volunteer teaching crew and a waiting list of interested schools.

Excerpts from the articles:

  • “We have seen a real transformation in the boys… There has been a real shift in behavior, and a real pride in the meals they are preparing.”
  • “The most rewarding part of teaching kids to cook is watching them progress. They not only build very practical skills in the kitchen – learning how to hold a knife, chop onions, peel carrots, sauté and roast – they also learn to keep an open mind.”
  • “These 10-year-olds have become quite comfortable with getting dinner on the table, not only prepping and cooking but also setting the places, doing the dishes, and, perhaps what draws the most interest, portioning the food.”
  • “These fifth graders were familiar with similar dishes from Chinese take-out. But this recipe would produce a healthier, lower-salt, lower-calorie version that would serve six people for less than $20.”