Research shows that families that cook together and eat together will enjoy significant health benefits as a result*. The simple act of involving children in the cooking process teaches them valuable skills, helps them lead a healthier life, and brings families together.
Uncle Ben’s is committed to helping families cook together because they believe cooking is a life skill that is as essential as reading and writing, and I'm in absolute agreement.
Ben’s Beginners is a global initiative from Uncle Ben’s, aimed at getting kids and families cooking together and having fun while developing a lifelong, good relationship with food.
On the Ben’s Beginners website, you'll find a range of great tools, from interactive guides that help develop children's basic cookery techniques, to easy family friendly recipes, infographics, and an opportunity for parents to share their family's efforts in the Ben's Beginners gallery.
Each Ben’s Beginners lesson is made up of two stages. First, the child and parent learn a new skill together such as stirring, chopping, pouring, peeling and measuring, next they put that new skill in to action as they work step by step through a new recipe, with plenty of visual guides to help show them the way. Recipes include: Black Bean and Rice Open-Faced Tacos; Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole; Meatballs & Rice; Soy and Sweet Chilli Salmon; and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Families earn badges for completing each lesson, making the experience interactive and fun for every level of family chef.
Trialling Ben's Beginner's with my children: Lesson 1, Stirring
I adore cooking as a family. It's a chance to bond,
JD is 8 and Jay is 4, and since cooking is a big part of my daily life, they're both relatively experienced in the kitchen, but there's never any harm in honing skills, so both were excited to try out Ben's Beginners.
The focus of Lesson 1 is stirring. We were pleased to find that the interface is bright, visually-led and highly interactive, with only a small amount to read on each page, so JD was able to read the instructions to J - so lovely!
Once you've read through the info, it's on to the most interactive part, allowing the kids to apply their new skill. Both children really enjoyed this part, which demonstrates the circular motion required and then allows the children to try it out using the mouse.
It they go too fast, a pop up at the bottom of the screen tells them to slow down or it won't cook. If they go too slow, they're warned that it might burn. And indeed, if they stop, the rice burns and they're told to start again. They enjoyed it so much, they were really keen to move on to the next challenge.
The Lesson 1 activity doesn't simply teach the motion of stirring, it teaches pace, movement and patience, so while it might seem simple, I'm pleased to say noticeably improved my children's stirring technique and - more importantly - confidence in the recipe that followed: Black Bean & Rice Open-Faced Tacos.
Come back on 15th September to see how we got on!
This is a commissioned post for Uncle Ben's. *Research reference