Welcome to week 20 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a Learning Moment that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
We’re headed back into the Kitchen STEAM Lab for this week’s Kitchen Classroom! In this week’s activity, kids will challenge their senses in a taste test of cheddar cheese in Tasting Blind. Do yellow cheddar and white cheddar taste the same, or different? Kids (and any grown-ups who’d like to participate!) will practice how to conduct a scientifically accurate taste test, and explore how visual cues, such as color, change our perception of how food tastes. After completing their taste test, kids can use any leftover cheese to make a Classic Grilled Cheese (see Take It Further).
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of May 17th through May 23rd, 2021.
Kitchen STEAM Lab: Tasting Blind
In this cheesy activity, young chefs will organize a blind taste test of two samples of cheddar cheese—white cheddar and yellow cheddar—to determine if the cheese’s color affects its flavor. For the most accurate tasting, make sure that your cheddars are either both “mild” or both “sharp,” and try to use cheeses from the same brand, if possible. This activity works best if kids have a partner or a small group of friends or family to work with.
[GET THE ACTIVITY]
What You’ll Need
2 slices white cheddar cheese (about ½ ounce) per person
2 slices yellow cheddar cheese (about ½ ounce) per person
1 blindfold per person
1 small plate per person
Engineering & Design (Executing Fair Tests, Analyzing and Interpreting Data):
In this activity, kids will organize (or participate in) a blindfolded taste test. Afterwards, they will learn about the difference between white and yellow cheddar cheese, the origins of cheddar cheese production, and how cheddar cheese preferences vary across the United States (this information can be found in the “Food for Thought” section at the end of the experiment).
Before starting the experiment, ask kids to make a prediction: Do you think white and yellow cheddar cheese will taste the same or different? If so, how will they taste different? Why do you think that is?
Throughout the activity, explain to kids how scientists ensure their tests, including taste tests, are fair: First, they should make sure that all their tasters are blindfolded so that they can’t see the color of what they’re eating. As they’re sampling the cheeses, remind kids to taste slowly and thoughtfully. It’s also important that tasters don’t share their thoughts until everyone has finished tasting; this way they don’t influence the other tasters’ opinions.
Once everyone has finished tasting, tasters can remove their blindfolds and start sharing their opinions. Once it’s been revealed which cheese was which color, ask kids and taste testers:
- Did the cheeses taste the same or different?
- Were your predictions correct?
- Were you surprised by the results?
- Did you prefer one cheese over the other? Why?
Then, have the tasters taste the two cheeses without blindfolds. Do they taste different now that you can see them?
Take It Further
With any cheese left over after completing this experiment, kids can make our Classic Grilled Cheese! If they want, they can double the recipe and cook two sandwiches at a time in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. If they’re feeling extra ambitious, they can also pair the sandwiches with a batch of Creamy Dreamy Tomato Soup.