Tiny Kitchen: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Why have a cooking school and cookbooks just for children? I learned to cook at the age of seven following an easy children's cookbook and want other kids to have the same opportunity. They can learn to love cooking whether or not they attend my summer classes.

My earliest memories are of time spent in the kitchen, where from my high chair I watched my mother make icing flowers for wedding cakes. I have been fascinated with cooking ever since. Playtime found me concocting my own little recipes instead of running around outside with my sister and cousins, and finally my father bought me my first ever cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls. It was so easy to use and by the time I was eleven, I was my mother's assistant at her summer cooking classes, even eventually taking over the children's and teenagers groups!

After I got married, I wanted work that I enjoyed and which allowed me to work at home. Writing, of course, is my one true love and the new cookbook being released in July is my eighth! But remembering the summer cooking classes of the past, I decided to start my own little school and called it Tiny Kitchen.

A Diversity of Students

From the nine students I had the first year, a dozen the next, twenty or so the year after that and so on, Tiny Kitchen has grown to the point that I had over a hundred students in the past year alone! The classes have spawned two earlier cookbooks, Tiny Kitchen and Not So Tiny Kitchen (Books for Pleasure, Inc.) that have sold over ten thousand copies to date.

In the past eight years I have handled students of different ages, cultures, nationalities and temperaments. I have had students with either physical, emotional or learning challenges who discovered that cooking is a fun way to express themselves. I have created special menus for children with all kinds of allergies and food intolerances. I developed a curriculum for very young children that was taught at the Sacred Heart chain of preschools and at the Meridian in Quezon City, and have regular Tiny Kitchen classes for two age groups: the four to six year olds and those aged seven and up.

Recipes Galore

The recipes you will find in the Tiny Kitchen cookbooks and classes represent the very best and most favorite dishes of my students, being what they both enjoy preparing and eating. I have kids that come back year after year, some for as many as five years, and because of this I've designed courses beyond the Tiny Kitchen Basic and Advanced classes we now have Around the World and Expert classes as well. There are a number of kids who have cooked everything in the courses except the recipes for preschoolers! And since these children come even on Saturdays all year long I am forever developing new recipes. The first Tiny Kitchen book had twenty four recipes, Not So Tiny Kitchen had about forty and the new one has one hundred seventy kid-tested recipes! That's lots of variety for tiny cooks.

All recipes are safe, no frying or chopping with sharp knives—and fun as well, with creative elements that kids love. There are easy, no-bake dishes, oven-baked versions of many favorites such as hamburgers, "fried" chicken and potatoes, even tempura! For older and taller students there are easy recipes to introduce them to stovetop cooking requiring only low to medium heating temperatures. There are a number of yeast bread recipes because children really enjoy these, plus dishes for special occasions and gift giving that's perfect for the holidays.

Please read the guidelines that follow to ensure that cooking becomes a truly enjoyable activity for your children.

Cooking can yield instant, delicious results and will give any child a true sense of accomplishment!