Zucchini Crisps & Lessons Learned Cooking with Tweens
Photo: Wandering in Westport

Zucchini Crisps & Lessons Learned Cooking with Tweens

A few weeks ago I hosted three tweens in my kitchen for a series of cooking classes on various themes. The experience was so rich that it left me ruminating about the lessons I learned from three eleven year olds this summer.

While we chopped, simmered, improvised, questioned and consulted with each other over crucial questions (Is the hummus smooth enough? Are these zucchini crisps crunchy enough?), I learned as much from my students as they learned from me.

Photo: Liz Rueven

I learned that tweens are ready to trust their own judgement… with the help of feedback from friends and teachers.

When they asked questions about the size of a chopped ingredient, I referred them back to the recipe and then to their friends who were working shoulder to shoulder with them.

happy trio with nachos

I learned that it’s O. K. for me to not be 100% sure about something and to let them know that.

How golden should these cookies be? We gathered around the oven and voted.

I learned that tweens (all kids, teens, maybe all of us) love helping each other, like when one is perfectly comfortable with a food processor and can actually explain how to release the lid lock.

I learned that each person has their own level of patience and tolerance for micro tasks, like snipping and stripping herbs.

Sorry for the high noon sun, J.

I learned that kids take a while to warm up once we switch environments. It took some time for them to get comfortable speaking to vendors at my farmers’ market. It’s hard to ask questions of strangers, I know.

But how else would we have known the difference in flavor between three varieties of zucchini? (Answer: none).

If we hadn’t asked for a taste of arugula, how else would we have known that it was too spicy for us to use in our spontaneous farmers’ market salad?

Asking questions of Patti Popp, Sport Hill Farm, CT
We tasted Paul Trubey’s goat cheese from Beltane Farm.

I learned that sharing my personal experiences can be a really helpful and sets the tone for knowing that perfection is not the goal. I loved hearing about these girls’ kitchen flubs; I shared that going too fast and losing concentration resulted in my breaking a ceramic teapot on my nose a few years back.

Yes. Shtuff happens. But many accidents can be prevented.

Yes. We all wore closed toe shoes. Aprons were the rule (and a gift!)

I learned that letting friends and colleagues know about my plan to bring my class to the farmers’ market was a good thing. It meant that vendors, growers and thought leaders took the time to share info about their passions, plenty o’ nibbles and even gifts with them.

Tynne Love, Herbalist and raw food chef, captivated my crew.

I learned that sharing my travel adventures brought vibrancy to my menu on the day we learned about Israeli cooking. It also gave them plenty of props to chose from as we shot some food pics for instagram.

Shared these on second day once I knew that I could trust the class with my precious collection.

I learned that when recipes are not written perfectly, we can learn patience and productive brainstorming skills from each other.

recipe didn’t mention that we needed to reduce the simmering fruit for almost 10 minutes.

Teaching this trio was one of the highlights of my summer so far. I’ve also learned that recording these kinds of unexpected moments is the best way for me to savor them.

Any unexpected highlights of your summer so far?

For more info. about Kosher Like Me Cooks, please send me a note: Liz (at)

healthy snacks
Zucchini Parm Crisps


    • It was a blast! Not a big surprise that the girls loved our outing to the Westport Farmers’ Market. I hope it made them feel more comfortable about asking questions of our growers and vendors.

  1. Such a profound and beautiful post Liz. It just speaks to the Blessons (blessings + lessons) that are in every experience. I love how you took all of that learning and distilled it for us here. Love this post. ❤️

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