When it comes to cooking with young kids, blenders are your best friend. They are relatively safe, they mix a lot of colors into just one color, and they sound like race cars. Here are the steps I follow when I make hummus with kids. Much of this can apply to any smoothie, soup or sauce recipe.
Step 1: Read. Read The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Rania Al Abdullah, a book about two girls who swap a peanut butter and jelly and a hummus and pita sandwich. Kids (and I) love this story, not only because it is written by the Queen of Jordan, but also because it discusses cross-cultural appreciation and tasting unfamiliar foods. In a classroom environment where students and their families come from all around the world, The Sandwich Swap can create a safe space for conversations about food culture.
Step 2: Smell. Smell the olive oil, and ask students how they think olive oil is made. Smell the tahini, and tell students it smells just like peanut butter. Kids love peanut butter, so this will win them over. Smell the lemon, and ask students if they like lemonade. Smell the parsley, and ask students, “isn’t it amazing that we grew this in our garden!?” Don’t smell the garlic unless you have worked with the kids before and already have their trust. Garlic can smell kind of scary to young kids!
Step 3: Cook. Everyone can contribute by helping to open a can, breaking apart a head of garlic, squeezing a lemon, spooning in tahini, measuring and pouring olive oil, or sprinkling salt or cumin. If a child has a role in the creation of the hummus, he or she will take ownership and will be more likely to taste it.
Step 4: Blend. There is nothing more fun than a game of “freeze blend.” When the blender is on, children spin around in circles pretending they are really big blenders. When the blender stops, the kids freeze in their spots. Make sure everyone has enough personal space, and don’t leave the blender running for too long or kids will end up all over the floor!
Step 5: Taste. Pass out samples of hummus on pita, and use five senses to explore the hummus. What color is it? Does it smell familiar? If you touch it gently, what is the texture? Listen closely to your hummus, and ask students, “Oh… yours isn’t making any noise? How do you think we can make it make noise?” On the count of three, crunch down together. Enjoy the smiles.
Step 6: Taste more. This is the best part. When the students want more, tell them that you don’t have any more pita but that hummus tastes heavenly with carrots. Pass out carrot sticks (preferably from the garden) with hummus for round two!
Recipe: Hummus- Yummus!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup tahini (Hummus is 1000x better with tahini. Don’t let “tahini optional” recipes fool you.)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and cumin, to taste
- Chickpea liquid, as needed
- Drain water from chickpeas and rinse. Save the chickpea water to add to the blender if the mixture needs more liquid.
- Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Pour hummus into a bowl and garnish with parsley.
- Enjoy with fresh cut veggie sticks, pita bread, crackers, or in veggie wraps.