Bonnie Aeschliman: Chicken recipe that kids can help make

06/20/2012 5:00 AM

06/20/2012 6:20 AM

As the boys and girls gathered last Monday morning ready for their week of cooking camp, expectations ran high. Excitement crackled in the air. Claire and Luke, my 10-year old grandchildren from the Kansas City area, were spending the week with me so they, too, could attend the cooking camp.

That made it really special for me as well as for them.

Looking out at my expectant students, I quickly assessed my class — a nice mix of boys and girls, some chatting comfortably and a couple of shy ones, not sure what this new adventure would entail.

However, I knew their shyness would evaporate before the week would end.

As I rang the bell each day to announce the beginning of class, the students hushed their talking, and I had their rapt attention. They were eager to learn how to cook.

It did not take long to get acquainted with such exuberant students. I had really great assistants who love children — Bev, Abbie, Vonnie and Paula, who we affectionately dubbed “Paula the Police.” As the week progressed, it was difficult to determine who had more fun — the children or the adults.

If you have ever worked with children, you know they are highly entertaining. But children have definite ideas about what they will eat or will not eat. The food challenge of the week was broccoli. Surprisingly, most of the children liked it. A few had never tasted it and decided it was all right. But there were a couple of diehards who would not be swayed. For those two, I suggested they give it a try as I placed one broccoli floret their plates. I thought I had made progress until I discovered Margaret had hidden her lone broccoli floret in her water glass and stuffed her napkin on top. Little Lona, the youngest in the group, hopped out of her chair, scooped her floret up off the floor and brought it to me. She very seriously explained that it had fallen on the floor but she didn’t need any more. I smiled at her as I discarded it. It could have been an accident, but from my experience, I did have my doubts.

The youngsters were enthusiastic, excited and entertaining. We made good food and lots of happy memories.

One of the favorites of the week was oven-fried chicken strips. These are baked and easy for children to do. You may want to make this recipe with your children

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