UT Literacy

Share literacy resources with the UT community!

Archive for the tag “cooking with children”

Multimedia Bibliography: Food and Nutrition

Introduction: Since the origin of humanity, food has been an essential component of society. Across centuries families and communities have been “breaking bread” together, so to speak, for centuries, however a shift in American food production in the mid-twentieth century towards a mass production/fast food culture has drastically changed Western society’s eating habits.  Families rush through a drive through for dinner, 5 minute meals cookbooks fly off the shelves in bookstores and libraries, and it has become increasingly common for kids to eat solely pre-packaged, processed  meals. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity amongst children and adolescents has tripled since 1980. Presently, over 17%–or 12.5 million–children in the United States ages 2-19 are obese. These alarming statistics trigger a gamut of questions, two of the most significant being: is there a lack of information on nutrition and healthy eating habits?  Or is there simply a lack of awareness/usage of these nutrition resources? This bibliography targets the latter question by compiling a list of multimedia resources appropriate for middle grade children–examining  text, realia, web and media sources. Cookbooks are included in realia, because the often the best way to demystify healthy food choices is to see, touch,  create and taste  them yourself.

CDC. “Obesity Rates among all Children in the United States.” Accessed November 22, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html/

Target Age: 2nd-5th grade


Schlosser, Erick and Charles Wilson. Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Chew on This explores the sinister economic, agricultural and health implications of the fast food industry by recounting the inception and growth of this type of food preparation and distribution. The sheer size (318 pages!) of Schlosser’s and Wilson’s book may intimidate readers; however, its lively tone and stand-alone chapters make this book an engaging read.

Bramwell, Martyn. Food Watch. Dorling Kindersley, 2001.
In true DK fashion Food Watch teems with graphics, text boxes and beautiful full color photographs. Bramwell discusses topics that are deceptively obvious, such as where food really comes from. Targeting the disparity between food scarcity in developing states and the abundance of food in the first world,  Bramwell points out, “Pie eating contests are fun, but only rich people can afford to waste food. Tonnes of unwanted food and packaging are thrown away every day” (13). Food Watch decodes buzzwords readers may be familiar with but not really understand, such as “fair trade, “famine,” “nutritionist,” and includes numerous experiments, such as ripening bananas to look for ethylene that further illustrate Bramwell’s narrative (21). Overall this book is fascinating, frightening and completely on point in regards to the production, packaging and dispersion of food not only in North America but throughout the world.

Goldberg, Jake. Food: The Struggle to Sustain the Human Community. Franklin Watts, 1999.

Goldberg asserts on the dust jacket of his book, “Food is the fuel of human labor, and everything we have accomplished, or failed to accomplish depends upon it.” Because a trip to the local supermarket does little to reflect the story of how food really is grown, produced and distributed–and the impact of these activities on the world–Goldberg delves deeply and eloquently into topics such as the origin of food, agricultural development, food and civilization, hunger and more. This book is relatively lengthy (204 pages) and text heavy, so it would be best for older readers.

Powell, Jillian. Everyone Eats: Rice. Raintree, Steck-Vaughn, 1997.
Powell’s book explores the composition, farming and customs surrounding the world’s second most popular grain: rice (4). Complete with full color illustrations, photographs and recipes this book is an excellent tool to educate young readers a food they may often eat, but know very little about.

Peeples, H. I. Where Does this Come From?: Bubble Gum. Contemporary Books, Inc.
Annotation: This matter-of-fact book draws upon the origins, production and consumption habits of bubble gum. While it does discuss corn syrup and synthetic ingredients Peeples does not delve into the consequences of excessive sugary gum chewing, such as increased risk of cavities. This brief book would be best for younger readers (i.e. 1st-3rd grade). Read more…


Cooking with Kids Multimedia Bibliography

This bibliography is designed to provide resources for parents who are interested in teaching their children how to cook, or just spend time cooking together. These materials are collected primarily for parents, but could also work well for a teacher wanting to introduce cooking skills and food literacy to children. I gathered these resources through internet research and consulting Americorps members working with children as part of a Farm to School program. I was most successful in finding websites and books. There is an abundance of instructional videos for cooking projects involving children. The only area that proved to be difficult was Blogs. Although there are many blogs by mothers who talk about cooking and their children, there are very few who talk about cooking with their children.



PBS.org provides this excellent guide to cooking with children as part of their health and fitness website for parents and kids. The whole site is definitely worth a look for parents, as it deals with common topics such as how to encourage healthy eating habits, tips on winning over picky eaters, and how to shop for healthy food on a budget. But their information on cooking with kids is particularly helpful. They encourage parents to involve their children in all steps of a cooking project: from finding a recipe and making a shopping list to helping clean up. Most of all, this guide tells parents to make the whole process fun for kids. Cooking should not be a daily chore, but a fun adventure!


The Let’s Move! Initiative, championed by first lady, Michelle Obama, seeks to change American families’ eating and exercise habits by promoting healthy eating, cooking with fresh ingredients, and incorporating exercise through play every day. This website will be useful to parents who want to cook with their kids because it has extensive information about nutrition and how to plan healthy meals that kids will enjoy. For parents looking for easy kid friendly recipes, this site a perfect first stop. It includes many recipes that are actually devised by children that are fun, nutritious, and easy enough for kids to help out with.


This virtual cookbook is a fabulous resource for parents as well as teachers looking to introduce their children or students to cooking. It is a comprehensive guide to cooking, covering every aspect of the process. It explains how to select the best produce, and properly store it, as well as describing critical cooking skills. This book even offers suggestions for how to make clean up a fun activity in itself. The recipes are simple and easily adaptable which is ideal for parents with picky eaters or who don’t have time to run to the grocery for that one missing ingredient. This is the perfect book for parents just beginning to let their kids into the kitchen. They will be rewarded with delicious meals and wonderful memories.

Edible Schoolyard

The Edible Schoolyard Project is a growing movement in public schools where teachers and students work together to plant and tend a garden on their school’s grounds. This garden serves as not just a tool for teaching about horticulture, because teachers and students are actually able to harvest their produce and make delicious meals. The Edible Schoolyard Project’s website includes information not just about the program, but also teaching materials for educators and parents interested in introducing their children to new foods and recipes. This would be especially useful for parents who have gardens or would like to start gardens and use their homegrown produce. This is an inspirational source for kids and parents to see how food travels from the garden to the kitchen.


Better Together is a website that hosts a blog, recipes, and videos contributed by parents who love to cook with their kids. Better Together’s motto is “When you shop, plan, cook, eat, clean, it’s better together.” And the website provides tips and hard learned lessons for each of these steps. They believe that cooking should be a team effort from start to finish. The recipes available on this website are great, and perfect for including kids in the cooking process, but the blog and advice sections are also well written and full of handy information. This site is a fantastic resource for parents who are unsure of how to introduce kids to the kitchen.


Kitchen gadget and finer food purveyor, Williams-Sonoma has this guide for cooking with children on their website. This is a great place to go for tips on kitchen safety and teaching kids to cook. One of the most useful things here is the breakdown showing what skills children of different ages should be capable of performing. For example 2-5 year olds can help mix the pancake batter, 6-8 year olds can boil pasta, 9-12 year olds can start using the oven and so on.


This website is the winner of numerous awards including the James Beard Award in the webcast category and the ALA award for best website. Spatulatta is indeed worthy of such praise, it is a comprehensive guide to cooking aimed at kids not their parents, unlike many of these resources. There are lessons on basic cooking skills, a detailed index of recipes organized by food group and ethnicity, and a kid-authored blog. Each recipe is accompanied by a video, showing kids preparing the dish. This blog empowers kids to get cooking and make dinner for their families. Read more…

Post Navigation