ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 37

Week 37 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Nov. 20, 2020.

Welcome to week 37 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly list of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.

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Happy Thanksgiving! In this week’s edition of Kitchen Classroom, we’ve provided two side dish recipes that kids can contribute to the Thanksgiving meal, and two activities that can be done outside of the kitchen (just in case it’s a little busy in there!). Kids will learn about how green beans grow while making Garlicky Skillet Green Beans; practice their math skills while mixing up a big batch of our DIY Cornbread Mix from our latest cookbook, The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs; discover what gives fizzy drinks their bubbles in a hands-on experiment; and test their food trivia knowledge as they challenge the whole family to a quiz bowl.

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location. 

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of November 23rd through 29th. 

From left: Garlicky Skillet Green Beans, Cornbread Mix

Garlicky Skillet Green Beans

This simple side dish is a great way for kids to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal. Kids will learn all about green beans and take a peek inside to learn about beans and how they grow.

What You’ll Need
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Learning Moment
Life Science (Plants):
When preparing the ingredients for this recipe, have kids set one green bean aside. Ask kids to compare green beans to other types of beans they know of, such as black beans or chickpeas. How are they the same? How are they different? 

Explain to kids that green beans are part of a family of plants called legumes, whose seeds grow in a pod. Other legumes, like black beans, pinto beans, lentils, and peas, also grow in pods, but we discard the pods and only eat the seeds. In the case of green beans, we eat both the pod and the seeds.

Have kids gently pull their green bean apart at the seam. What do they notice about what they find inside? Explain to kids that green beans are made up of three main parts; the stem, which is where the pods are attached to the plant they grow from (we usually trim this part before cooking), the pod, which is the protective layer on the outside, and the seeds found inside. Most of the texture of cooked green beans comes from the pod, as the seeds inside green beans are small and immature when harvested. Can kids identify all three parts of the green bean?

Tell kids that green beans are also sometimes called string beans. Originally, green beans had a “string” attached at their seam that kept the pod closed. In the late 1800s, plant scientists developed new kinds of green beans that grew without the string, and it is rare to find a true “string bean” in markets today.

DIY Cornbread Mix

From our new Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs, kids can whisk together a big batch of this cornbread mix in advance and then quickly bake up a pan of cornbread whenever the inspiration strikes. This Northern-style cornbread is fluffy and slightly sweet, making it a great accompaniment for fall soups or a side dish for the Thanksgiving table. While making their mix, kids will exercise their math skills to solve word problems with addition, subtraction, and multiplication. 

What You’ll Need
6 cups (30 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 cups (20 ounces) cornmeal
2 ⅔ cups (18⅔ ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon baking powder

Learning Moment
Math (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication):
This recipe for DIY Cornbread Mix makes enough for 4 batches of cornbread. Each batch makes 12 servings of cornbread. While making the mix, ask kids to use their math skills to solve word problems about using the finished mix. For all of the problems below, kids should assume that each person eats one 1 square of cornbread. 

  • If each batch makes 12 squares of cornbread, how many squares of cornbread would you have if you baked all 4 batches of cornbread?
    (Answer:  12 squares x 4 batches = 48 squares of cornbread)
  • Imagine you are hosting 6 people for Thanksgiving dinner. If each person will be served one square of cornbread, how many batches of cornbread do you need to bake to have enough for everyone? How many squares would you have left over?
    (Answer: If you had 6 guests, you would need 1 batch of cornbread, which is a total of 12 squares [1 x 12 = 12]. 12 squares of cornbread - 6 servings = 6 squares left over, or enough for seconds!)
  • Now imagine you are going to drop off squares of cornbread as a Thanksgiving gift to your neighbors. If you have 20 neighbors, and each person will receive one square of cornbread, how many batches of cornbread do you need to bake to have enough for everyone? How many squares would you have left over?
    (Answer: If you had 20 neighbors, you would need 2 batches of cornbread, which is a total of 24 squares [2 x 12 = 24]. 24 squares of cornbread - 20 servings = 4 squares left over.)
  • How many people will be at your Thanksgiving dinner this year? How many batches of cornbread would you need to make to serve your guests?

Take it Further
Social Studies (Culture):
Cornbread has a long and diverse history in the United States. Tell kids that the simplest early type of cornbread was called corn pone, which was made with just cornmeal, water, and a little salt and cooked in a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Over time, other ingredients, such as baking soda, were added to give lift and rise to the cornmeal we enjoy today. Two main styles of cornbread have evolved over time in the United States. Northern-style cornbread is a combination of wheat flour and cornmeal, lightly sweetened with sugar (like this mix) and baked in a square or rectangle baking pan. Southern-style cornbread is made with cornmeal, has little or no sugar, is a little denser, and is usually baked in a round, cast-iron skillet. To learn more about different styles of cornbread and a few other Southern food traditions, share this video with kids. 

From left: What Makes Fizzy Drinks Fizzy?, Food Origin Stories

What Makes Fizzy Drinks Fizzy?

Kids will discover how bubbles get into fizzy beverages such as seltzer and soda in this simple and surprising science experiment. 

What You’ll Need
3 cups (24 ounces) plain seltzer, chilled
2 raisins or dried cranberries
1 marble or ball bearing

Learning Moment
Science (Science Practices, Physical Science):
As kids work through this experiment, pause on a few key moments in the scientific process:

  1. Making predictions: Encourage kids to predict what they think will happen when they drop the raisin and marble into their respective glasses, and also to explain why they think so. This will help kids articulate their thinking, and also let you learn what prior knowledge they have.
  2. Repeating tests: Ask kids why they think it’s important to repeat dropping the marble and raisin at least two times. Explain that scientists repeat their experiments to validate and verify their data—observing whether they get the same results each time.

After completing the experiment, tell your young chef that temperature also affects the amount of bubbles you see in your seltzer. Explain to kids that seltzer water is carbonated (or made fizzy) by adding carbon dioxide gas to water while it’s under pressure. Once a can or bottle of seltzer is opened (and no longer under pressure), that gas will escape into the air. Keeping fizzy drinks cold helps slow that process down; the molecules in cold carbonated drinks move more slowly, so the gas creates tiny bubbles that rise to the surface slowly over time. Warmer mixtures allow for larger gas bubbles to form and to escape more quickly, meaning your fizzy drink will soon become flat if it’s too warm.

Family Quiz Bowl

After the Thanksgiving meal is over, the whole family can test their food trivia knowledge in a family quiz bowl! This friendly competition will cover topics from past weeks of Kitchen Classroom, including the differences between fruits and vegetables, the role temperature plays in cooking, and the key ingredients found in some of your favorite foods.

What You’ll Need
Paper and pencils/pens (or small dry-erase boards and markers)
Computer, smartphone, or tablet

Learning Moment
Trivia (General Knowledge):
To set up your Family Quiz Bowl, choose one family member to be the Quiz Master (this is a good job for a grown-up or older sibling). Divide the rest of the group into teams (teams can think of a team name, if they like!). Give each team a piece of paper and pencil or pen, or a small whiteboard and dry-erase marker. The quiz master will also need paper and a pencil to keep track of the score. Make sure each team sits somewhere where they can’t be overheard if discussing answers, and where their answers can’t be seen once written down.

The Quiz Master will need to use a computer, smartphone, or tablet to bring up the following quizzes (your family can choose to do as many or as few quizzes as you like, in whatever order you like):

The Quiz Master will read each question and its multiple choice answers aloud, and give each team 30 seconds to decide on and write down their answer. When time is up, each team should hold up their answer for everyone to see. The Quiz Master will reveal the correct answer, and award 1 point for each correct answer. The Quiz Master should keep track of team points throughout the game on their own piece of paper or whiteboard. At the end of the quiz bowl, the team who has earned the most points wins!

The December edition of the Young Chefs’ Club celebrates one of America’s most popular foods: PIZZA! With recipes from Thin-Crust Pizza to Tear-and-Share Pepperoni Pizza Rolls to French Bread Pizza and even Pizza Art (yes, Pizza Art!) there’s something for every pizza lover out there. Learn more about the science of pizza dough in a “restful” experiment and play the pizza-party classic Pin the Topping on the Pizza! If you’d like to order the Young Chefs’ Club for the budding cook this holiday season, place your order by November 30th in order to receive your first box in December.  
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