Effects of learning to cook

Here are a few examples of a 5 year old child’s learning in 3 years of learning to cook. These demonstrations of learning are taken from her experience of preparing “apple kesaribath”, a South-Indian semolina pudding sweetened with apples.

  • She has learnt several topics of mathematics while measuring out ingredients – including basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction and multiplication for now), fractions, ratios. For this recipe, we needed 1/4 cup of semolina (rava) and double that quantity of water. She was able to accurately measure out a quarter cup of semolina, and then calculated that double of quarter cup would be half a cup. This demonstrates an understanding of multiplication.
  • She has demonstrated the spirit of scientific inquiry, through observation of reactions between different ingredients and application of different processes to ingredient. For example: what happens when heat (a process) is applied to applies (an ingredient, a fruit)? She observed that the apples turned from crispy to soft, became stickier, and changed in color from pale yellow to light brown. She observed that cooking apples caused steam, despite not adding water to the pot, and was curious to know why. She asked questions about these reactions, and learnt that apples contain juice (which upon heating produced steam) and sugar (which upon heating caused caramelizing that made the apples turn light brown).
  • While preparing this recipe, traditionally served along with a spicy semolina porridge called “upma” or “uppittu” in small street-side cafes called “Darshinis” in Bangalore, Karnataka, she demonstrated a desire to understand culture, asking us to tell us the story of the dish, where the dish comes from, and how to eat it.

These are just a few examples of how cooking integrates education across disciplines, in a manner that makes learning natural, engaging and integrated into real life!