Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Kitchen Classroom

In the I-wish-I'd-thought-of-this-myself category, The Kitchen Classroom by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is a paperback cookbook/CD-ROM combo designed to help parents (and professionals) use the kitchen as a classroom with children with special needs and/or developmental delays who also happen to have food intolerances or allergies.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is the kind of expert that I like to learn from. She is the mom of a child on the autism spectrum. She's an RDI(r) mom. And she knows cooking, too; she is a former cooking instructor for Williams-Sonoma who now teaches at Gratz College in Pennsylvania.

Part of her story is here. Or here.

Back to "The Kitchen Classroom": Every recipe is gluten free and casein (dairy) free. Every recipe is simple and kid-friendly. (Note: The recipes are not allergen free. If your child is more than GFCF, you will have to make some substitutions or skip some recipes entirely.)

The $22.46 paperback includes chapters about the relationship and sensory aspects of cooking. Author Kaplan-Mayer includes information about child development; about being in the kitchen with children who have developmental delays; about framing shopping for recipes and cooking; about the GFCF diet; and about kitchen safety as well.

Both the paperback and the accompanying CD-ROM include the 32 recipes.

The paperback features lots of little ideas and suggestions that parents can use, things to spotlight for the child, if developmentally appropriate, with hints about using activities as part of academics, too.

The CD-ROM features recipes in pictures for six breakfast choices; five lunch choices; seven dinner choices; nine snacks and treats; and five veggie side dishes. You may choose to look at the picture cards right from the computer, or you may choose to print them. Each recipe on the CD gives users a reminder to wash hands, an ingredient and tool list, and the recipe steps in pictures and words. The photos are full color and Kaplan-Mayer is generous with the photographs; she gives us almost 500 photos to guide us as we cook with our children.

Some of the recipes require little "cooking"; some require more. There are recipes for toast, eggs, pancakes, muffins, sandwiches, latkes (sweet potato!), salmon, rice, noodles, pizza, salad, fries, a smoothie, and more, all simple and all things kids tend to like. A sample recipe is here.

If you are a beginner in Relationship Development Intervention, I think you'll really like Kaplan-Mayer's suggestions. One of the mistakes I made a lot in the beginning is creating an activity that was too complicated. Kaplan-Mayer keeps all of these recipe activities simple. She frames the simplicity for me. I like that.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer blogs here, giving readers information, recipes, and how-to on video.

Thumbs up, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer. I wish I'd had something like this in my RDI(r) beginning to help me keep activities simple. Several years into RDI(r), your cookbook is still a wonderful reminder and help.

Woodbine House sent me a copy of "The Kitchen Classroom" for review purposes. This is an unpaid review and I am not obligated to provide a positive review. I do not benefit financially if you purchase this product.

1 comment:

suelmayer said...

Penny, thank you. I'm starting cooking with Sam and this is perfect timing! What a great resource!

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