Raddish Kids Challenge: 60 recipes, 1 summer

Raddish Kids: Mise en Place

Challenge Accepted

I bought an annual subscription to Raddish Kids at the end of 2018. I loved the idea behind their monthly boxes. Think of it as a cooking class in a box. We tried out some of the recipes when we first got the subscription and had loved the dishes we made. Unfortunately, after a couple of months, the boxes started to pile up, unused. The problem wasn’t the boxes AT ALL. The problem was me. I love cooking but I hate grocery shopping and cleaning. I’m also a big proponent of the “work hard play hard” mentality. On the occasions where my family is free of obligations, I’d prefer us to spend the time outside the house. Queue Summer 2020.

As I’m sure it was for many of you, Summer 2020 was the summer where all my carefully made camp and summer school plans for Em disappeared overnight and new plans had to be thought up. One part of the plan? Make our way through every Raddish Kids box that we haven’t touched yet. A quick inventory showed that this equated to 60 recipes, various activities, and 3 months. We’ve got this!… I think.

Cooking Classes

What is Raddish Kids?

As I mentioned above, Raddish Kids is basically a monthly cooking class in a box. It includes three recipes, activities to do, conversation starters, and “kitchen tools”. In terms of the recipes, typically what we’ve received is a breakfast dish, a dinner dish, and a dessert dish. However, sometimes a side dish is substituted for a breakfast or dessert dish.

Each box has a theme to it. Sometimes Raddish Kids connects their box to a season. Our December 2018 box had Christmas-themed food while our December 2019 box had Hanukkah-themed food. Sometimes the boxes are culturally-themed. We’ve received Swedish, Moroccan, and Thai food boxes. Sometimes the boxes are topic-related, such as a musical themed box or a space themed box. Whatever the occasion, the activity and conversation topics will match the theme and the kitchen tool will be a necessary addition in order to make one (or more) of the recipes.

Raddish Kids: Zesting

What age range is a Raddish Kids box for?

Raddish Kids advertises itself for kids ages 4-14+. This is one of the great things about the monthly box set up; depending on how much “hand-holding” or independence work your child wants / needs, this cooking class can cater to a wide range of children. I don’t have any experience using this box with a teenager, or even a pre-teen, but in just 2 years there has been such a big change between working with Em as a 4-year-old and working with Em as a 6-year-old.

Our Raddish Kids Experience with a 4-year-old

We started with this monthly box when my daughter just turned 4. Em enjoyed the “classes” but her attention span didn’t last too long. She couldn’t read yet so I would point out the pictures in the recipe guide and explain what they meant. I would prep and measure all the ingredients. She would add it to a bowl, mix it all together, and call it a day. It was really fun to introduce her to cooking this way but I think the main reason we didn’t last too long was because of the amount of heavy lifted I did coupled with Em’s short attention span.

Please keep in mind, that’s just me. I’ll never be a great schoolroom parent. I’ve failed at most Pinterest projects I’ve started. But I have a lot of friends that rock that stuff. Friends that would love a program that would help introduce their pre-schooler to the ideas behind cooking. So if this is you, then go for it!

Raddish Kids: Mise en Place

Our Raddish Kids Experience with a 6-year-old

Fast forward almost two years and the entire process was so different. I still chopped up the produce and dealt with the oven and some of the stove steps but Em was busy the entire time measuring, mixing, and even taking a turn or 2 stirring items on the stove. Instead of the cooking class being a chore for me, Em would spend the entire class excited, asking what to do next. As for me? I would just sit back, taking pictures and barking out orders from my comfy chair. I can imagine just how easy it will be for me in a couple of years when Em can cut her own food and I don’t worry about her mistaking a tablespoon from a teaspoon.

So many learning opportunities!

I’ll admit, before my stint as a homeschooling parent I didn’t appreciate just how many learning opportunities could be gleaned from cooking. For starters, there is reading. As I mentioned, Em wasn’t able to read the recipes when she was 4-years-old. However, now as a fully-fledged kindergarten graduate, she attempts to read the entire recipe pamphlet every lesson. Her new strides in reading coupled with pictures in the kid-friendly recipe pamphlets definitely help her hone her reading skills.

Another big part of our Raddish Kids cooking lessons is math. Em’s kindergarten teacher was always recommending that we use “math talk” at home (e.g. incorporate math vocabulary into everyday conversations). It always seemed so forced when I would attempt math talk at home. But in cooking, it became so easy to do. For example, recipes calling for 3/4 C of a particular ingredient have led us down the path of discussing fractions. We’ve gone from using a 1/4 C three times to discussions on how we can also use a 1/2 C and a 1/4 C to reach the same answer.

One additional lesson stems from the conversation starter cards included with the Raddish Kids boxes. From time to time I do like to use the cards as they were intended, to start a dinner conversation. But if I’m honest, dinner times are pretty hectic. Therefore, what I’ve really loved using the conversation starter cards for are for writing exercises. In order to practice her writing skills, I’m trying to have Em keep a journal for the summer. The biggest struggle has been that despite being a very imaginative girl, she cannot seem to come up with topics to write about. So I’ve been dumping the conversation starter cards in a shoebox and having her pick a card to write about.

How does food from the Raddish Kids recipes it taste?

I’m impressed. The food is REALLY good. I call myself a foodie but there are dishes I don’t like, and so far, Raddish Kids has changed my mind on all of those unlikable dishes. For example, I’m not a huge fan of chili. I’m also not a huge fan of beans. And I’m not a huge fan of putting them all together in a big mixture of chili. The entire time we cooked Raddish Kids’ chili dish I figured it was a waste that I hadn’t substituted the beans for something I liked a little more (and therefore would eat). Honestly, I only ate a bowl because I always make my kids taste everything before assuming they don’t like something and I was trying to be a good role model. Thank goodness I listened to my own rule because that bowl was AMAZINGLY good.

And I’m not the only one raving about the food quality. My husband is the one who turned me into a self-proclaimed foodie. He has high food standards. So high that (while he never said this out loud) I don’t think ever intended to try more than a bite of Em’s dishes, already writing them off as too pedestrian. We are only a couple of weeks into our challenge and my husband is already raving about the amazing chimichurri sauce she made. He wants to add it to his “recipe repertoire”.

Raddish Kids: Spring Toast

But if the Raddish Kids recipes are delicious, are they hard to make?

In a word, no. Take for example that chimichurri sauce that my husband is raving about. That sauce took less than 10 minutes to make. I know that for a fact because that was the day that I was trying to squeeze in our cooking class into a very hectic schedule. I ended up making it work by having her cook during the 10-minute breaks of her 4-hour zoom summer school class. We knocked out that sauce and had her back in her desk in front of her zoom classes before the class came back from break.

I will admit that we take some shortcuts. Sometimes the shortcuts are on purpose. Like the time the recipe called for making a pie crust from scratch. I applaud people that do that. I applaud Raddish Kids for trying to teach kids how to do that. But I have no interest in making my own pie crust. Needless to say, a store bought pie crust was substituted in place of the homemade version.

Another time I went the shortcut route was during our cranberry crostini class. This time I tried to follow the recipe exactly as stipulated. The recipe was part of the November box set, meaning that some of the ingredients were off-season and hard to find, especially during the pandemic. I searched high and low for fresh or frozen cranberries in three different grocery stores before finally going with cranberry sauce in a can and skipping parts of the recipe that called for making cranberry jam. I ended up walking Em through the rationale for skipping a couple of ingredients (namely sugar and orange juice) and finished that dish feeling like she learned even more than if I had told her to just mix the original ingredients together.

Job Well Done

If you want to follow along on our Raddish Kids journey, check out my Instagram account.

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