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Gift Ideas for a 10 year old cook


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I would love some suggestions. My great-neice is 10 and, her mother says, loves cooking. I rarely see her as they live in Southern California and I'm in NY. Both parents are good cooks and they have a well equipped kitchen. When I google "gifts for kids cooking" most of what I get is for younger children - she is way past the miniature kitchen tools or all picture cookbook stage. I saw a couple of books that looked possible but all had very mixed reviews. 

Any ides are very welcome.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I've taught kids that age to make fresh pasta, and it was a big hit. Perhaps a manual pasta-rolling machine, if you can find one in your price range?

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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My daughter who is 10 had a few of suggestions - a cupcake kit (with a book, baking cups and all the necessary things to decorate them); a personalized apron; ice pop/popsicle molds with recipes. 

Edited by FrogPrincesse
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I also was going to suggest an apron: either food-related, in a cool pattern, or with a theme related to her other interests. Maybe also a toque.

Edited by Alex
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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Her hands are probably too small to properly handle the adult's knives. Perhaps a more manageable sized general purpose knife? She could send you a handprint and a knife seller should be able to help.

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58 minutes ago, heidih said:

Her hands are probably too small to properly handle the adult's knives. Perhaps a more manageable sized general purpose knife? She could send you a handprint and a knife seller should be able to help.

 

'I like this idea - my friend is actually planning to take his son (11) out shopping for a knife for just this reason. He uses smaller knives okay but you can't really chop properly unless you have a chef's knife or similar that you feel comfortable with, and the normal larger knives they have just aren't balanced right.

 

It's an extra rather than a main gift, but they also have silicone spatulas with cute designs these days, and the couple I have are holding up nicely to use, so that could be a way to add some fun or a reference to other interests? I vaguely recall liking to have MY tools when I was younger and messing around in the kitchen. (Normal tools, not toys, just ones that were specifically mine.)

 

Also, at 10 with cooking experience, if she is an okay reader, I don't see why she'd need a special kid's cookbook necessarily. Some of the good basics for adults are quite approachable in writing style and not too complicated for a kid to follow. I'd probably do a gift 'pack' with a cookbook of the book, some page tabs for marking recipes to try, post-it's for adding notes on a page, maybe a notebook or journal for taking additional notes. They do page tabs and post-it type pads in all kinds of designs so that is another way to reference her other interests if you want. (The 11 year old above had no problem following a recipe for Mac n cheese in a normal cookbook when he was 8 or so. He needed some help with technique and safety issues like the stove, but he read the book and followed along with instructions fine.)

 

If you have any particular family recipes, you could print them nicely (maybe have them bound if there are enough, with some extra space for adding a few of her own) and give her her own copies of those? My aunt did that for our family with Christmas recipes and traditions and had it all bound up and everyone loves it. (She included some stories too, which helped bulk it out into a slim book, but that isn't necessary.)

 

When I was a little older than 10 my parents gave me a set of Jacques Pepin video tapes (back in the day) and I loved those for learning techniques. I don't think the ones I got are available, but maybe something similar exists? Again, that was aimed at adults but since it started with the basics I had no trouble following it.

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Gift card to a local high end supermarket?

As mentioned above a gift certificate for a class somewhere

I have a gift certificate for CIA on my refrigerator list at all times......unfortunately it is usually ignored.

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11 minutes ago, suzilightning said:

Gift card to a local high end supermarket?

As mentioned above a gift certificate for a class somewhere

I have a gift certificate for CIA on my refrigerator list at all times......unfortunately it is usually ignored.

 

One of our local kitchen shops has specific kid's classes - some of them are pretty basic but others are pretty complex, you just pick depending on the level of the kid, and the classes just have an extra instructor to help out, or some of them are parent-and-child so the adult to student ratio is good. Some of them are themed also, like they had a Harry Potter feast that looked quite nifty.

 

Another idea which is related to cooking - gift certificate for a meal at a local restaurant. Someplace good that they otherwise don't usually go to. Let her taste some new things and think about how the food is prepared.

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I agree that she doesn't need anything aimed at kids, except a smaller chef's knife. I'd go with a 6" blade, if that's the direction you're headed.

 

In terms of savory-side books, I'd see if her family has a good all-around cookbook, like Julia Child's first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Or, if you are feeling generous, the volume 1&2 boxed set of MAFC.

 

From personal experience, I would avoid the classes at Sur la Table, they just teach a recipe, not the theory behind it. They also mostly, have a focus on selling you products -partway through the class they parade students through the store to shop. She is old enough to learn theory.

 

I would probably give something baking or pastry related. My favorites books are both priced under $20: Baking Artisan Bread, and Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Ciril Hitz. (there are a few corrections to the books on his website) Each book covers just a few basic formulas for breads or laminated doughs and then covers making variations from them. It's a great way to become familiar with baking. I would start with BAB, and only give BAPB as an additional book. Chef Hitz is an instructor at J&W and these books are like taking his classes. I have taken many of his classes in person, and his formulas and methods work well, quickly and without fuss. Each book comes with an instructional DVD, too.

 

How about a kitchen scale? Ciril Hitz's books have measurements by volume and by weight in both imperial and metric measure. Anyway, a beginner scale is about $20 and she should start baking the right way. So, if it were me, I would give BAB and a scale. If you are feeling very generous, Bed Bath and Beyond has french rolling pins for $9.99 (don't forget your coupon!).

 

I personally would avoid indoctrinating her with any Food Network branded merch, especially the stuff being shilled by their untrained, uneducated 'personalities'.

 

 

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Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. At this time I am leaning towards a professional looking apron that I will personalize with embroidery along with a book - probably on bread or cakes. The family has a very well equipped kitchen but I don't believe either parent bakes bread so that would give her a niche of her own. She has already traveled widely in Europe and Asia with her family so she has a pretty sophisticated exposure to food for her age. 

Thanks again, everyone!

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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