Karen Moline finds the best of New York’s amazing cookery classes for children

New York City inhabitants rarely have big backyards, but we manage to sort out fun’n’games for the kids on endless playdates, either outside on local playgrounds or inside when the weather stinks (which, of late, seems to be every other day). Not surprisingly, one of the hardest things to do is to find a way to keep the kids entertained and out of your hair on one of those crummy cold’n’rainy days. Because I learned to cook as a teenager and try to make decent meals as much as possible for my son, I am fond of asking for “help” from the kids busy decapitating the heads off the action figures. All I do is spread some of the yesterday’s trashy newspapers on the  floor, haul out all the equipment and ingredients, dump it on large trays, and hand the kids the spoons. They never say no, especially if chocolate is involved (and they have no idea I’m using whole wheat flour, either). They’re always interested in measuring, scooping, cracking eggs, stirring like crazed things, making a mess, and not cleaning it up.

So why not encourage your own budding foodies to learn some cooking skills when you’re traveling to NYC, as there are plenty of one-off cooking classes you can book in advance, just for kids. They’re not only fun and (gasp!) educational, but an ideal way to have kids spend some time proudly doing something constructive with their hands. Far better to see the beaming, sugar-encrusted faces than endure the whining about visiting yet another museum (or Daffy’s, where Mommy really, really wants to go shopping).

Taste Buds Kitchen is run by a former Wall Streeter and swim teacher with extensive culinary experience, and the classes are divided into toddler size (ages 2-4, 60 minutes) and bigger kids (4-8, 75 minutes), so age-appropriate tools  and recipes can easily be followed. They often follow a theme (St. Patrick’s Day with green macaroni and cheese and leprechaun parfait; Mother’s Day with baked egg cups and fruit skewers).

Mini Chef is run by a husband and wife team of foodies, with classes on Mondays from 3:30-4:30 and on Saturdays from 9:00 am –10 am. They’ve taught both sweet (Lemon Blueberry Madeleine, Maple Syrup Pot de Crème) and savory (Sweet and Sour Pretzels, Tomato Mozzarella Mini Cakes), so you don’t have to worry about too much of a sugar rush.

Dough Re Mi Kids has ongoing classes for locals and more intensive workshops perfect for visitors, and their Dumbo location in Brooklyn is great for parents who want to explore the area without the kids in tow. The Friday Night Pizza Party is sizzling for kids 8 and up, and other workshops, like All About Herbs, are suitable for kids 4 and up.

Taste Buds Kitchen

Mini Chef classes are at the Art Farm (another great destination), 419 E. 91st St., 212-727-2703.

Dough Re Mi is at 70 Washington Street, Brooklyn, NY, in the owner’s kitchen. Check out the classes at www.doughremekids.com, or by phone, 718-237-2504.

Karen Moline

About Karen Moline

Karen Moline is a NYC-based novelist, journalist, and ghost-writer who has travelled the world in search of all things divinely, delectably, and deliriously Goddess.