The Jakarta Post
The cover of 'My Little Home Cook' book by Putri Habibie. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Cooking is more than just a means to prepare food to eat. Parents can use cooking as a way to train their children about different aspects of life, from health to responsibility.
Home cook Putri Habibie aims to inspire parents to bring their children, mainly aged four to eight years old, into the kitchen through her first book, My Little Home Cook.
Comprising 176 pages, the book has 50 recipes and activities for children to try. “For those who think they cannot cook, these recipes are very easy to follow – you don’t even need to have special skill in cooking,” said Putri during the launch of her book on Tuesday at Modena Head Office in South Jakarta.
Among the recipes provided in the book are donat apel (apple doughnut), cheesy spinach dip with vegetable stick, banana bread, smoked beef bread pudding, watermelon pizza and smoothies. The initial pages are filled with instructions about types of cooking utensils, ingredients, benefits of cooking, nutrition information and kitchen safety rules. It also explains which knife should be used by children depending on their age.
The book does not explicitly state which recipes are suitable for what ages, but it is clear thanks to the little models who pose for the book. “We had babies for mashed potatoes and oatmeal recipes. Hopefully it shows which people can be involved in the cooking process,” said Putri.
Child psychologist Dina Ramayanti (left) and Putri Habibie at the launch of 'My Little Home Cook' on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at Modena Head Office in South Jakarta. (Putri Habibie/File)
The founder of LadyBake cooking class also lists the advantages of cooking with kids, one of them is strengthening emotional bonds with parents. “Aside from being healthy, they grow feelings of respect and love toward their parents,” said Putri.
Child psychologist Dina Ramayanti added that children can learn about process. “They can learn about making a hamburger [starting from selecting the ingredients to actually cooking it] and try the activity pages to enhance their memory of the recipes they had just made,” said Dina on the same occasion, adding that teaching children during their "golden" ages (four to eight years old) was crucial because it influenced their habits while growing up.
My Little Home Cook is based on Putri’s postgraduate research conducted at Labschool Kebayoran Junior High School. In the research, the granddaughter of former President BJ Habibie involved 300 students, 150 of whom had learned about cooking from the demonstration, while the rest had learned about cooking through direct practice. “I chose junior high students because they are expected to make their own decisions at that time. I wanted to see whether my method would change their habits that had been formed by their surroundings,” said Putri.
It turns out that those directly involved in the cooking process develop a significant understanding in selecting their foods. “They also become more appreciative of their food as they know how complicated it is to prepare their meal, know how to maintain their money and become more efficient with their time,” Putri said.
My Little Home Cook is available in local bookstores at Rp 165,000 (US$11.36) and online. (kes)