Kids in the kitchen

A cooking contest for kids 5 and older will take place at the Auglaize County Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Kids in the kitchen is an event Karie Maurer-Enneking, of the library’s youth services, hopes will teach kids the importance of being courageous in the kitchen.

“First of all, I think it’s important for kids to learn how to be self-sufficient and build confidence in children to be able to care for their own needs,” she said. “It teaches them about learning how to manage portions; it teaches them about how to manage good foods versus processed foods, natural or organic foods versus macaroni and cheese in a box.”

Maurer-Enneking said learning to cook will help children to adapt healthier lifestyles.

“If they learn how to make things with their own hands out of materials they have around the house like milk, eggs and cheese then they have a better opportunity to obviously lead a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

This year is the first year the contest is being held, and Maurer-Enneking hopes to have about 25 participants. Space for the event is limited to 25 kids.

There will be four age groups for the competition; age groups are from 4-6, 7-10, 10-14 to 15 and older. The first place contestant in each age group will receive a blue ribbon, and the over all winner will receive a grand prize ribbon and cash prize.

Maurer-Enneking said there is no portion size restrictions, and dishes will be judged based on appearance, taste and difficulty.

“I’ve got a few feelers out to get some local folks to judge it, but i don’t have anybody down yet,” she said.
Kids are encouraged to keep dishes within their skill level.

“I would encourage children to work within their capabilities. They shouldn’t be handling knives or working around any heat sources that they’re unsure of or not safe to use,” she said. “Parents are encouraged to help their children, but not to do more than the child, so if it’s a dish that’s too complicated for the child, or goes beyond their capabilities as far as sharp (tools) or heat sources, like a stove or microwave, then we need to make sure the dish is something child can do the majority of, it not all of it safely.”

For the full story, see the Saturday, Jan. 4 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.