Grand Rapids, Michigan
Katie Kimball is the founder and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship and national voice of healthy kids cooking. Her Kids Cook Real Food eCourse was considered the best online cooking class for kids by The Wall Street Journal in 2020.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH KATIE KIMBALL
How did you get involved in cooking?
I don’t have a particular love for cooking, but I do love eating, and I love a job well done. As a wife and mom, the caretaking instinct in me is strong. So, cooking is one way to show love to my family multiple times a day. Although I’m a writer and teacher by trade, I’m a science geek at heart, so when I started learning more about nutrition, I had to learn to cook from scratch better so that I could nourish my family well without breaking the budget. So while the process of cooking may be routine, the product does bring me great joy, because I love seeing lots of colors on a plate and knowing that my family is nourished head to toe.
Describe your cooking style:
Erratic, Delegated, Shared. What in the world do I mean by that? My cooking style is erratic based on my energy and time. In other words, sometimes I am very happy to grab some grass-fed sausages or have a quick taco night, while other times I love spending an hour and a half trying a new recipe, or three at once. (I tend to have real highs and lows.)
I’m fortunate that my husband makes two meals a week for us, and my two older children, Paul age 16, and Leah age 13, have made one meal a week for us for quite a few years now. I take joy in eating what they make with love and watching them grow in the kitchen in their creativity, and bonding as siblings.
And my favorite way to cook is when the kids and I are working together toward a common goal: getting dinner on the table in time! My 10-year-old is often my sous chef as he trains up to make meals on his own very soon. And my greatest pleasure is when everyone has their own job scattered about the kitchen and dining room, working together to nourish the family.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
I started a blog to teach others how to eat healthy without going crazy. And in my first few years I learned more about what eating healthy actually meant than I could ever have imagined. I still remember reading about CLA for the first time and how it was found in grass-fed beef. Everything about animals eating what they were created to eat resonated with me, and I was excited to discover that I did not have to denigrate red meat to the “eat sometimes because it might kill you” category. I hope that my kids will grow to understand the importance of well-sourced meat as well.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
When I’m cooking, a grass-fed roast in the Instant Pot makes my day, but I will give my husband props for a favorite, because he made some sort of grass-fed burger volcano once, stuffed with avocado, cheese, salsa, mushrooms and more. It was a spectacle to behold.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5-ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
A whole pastured chicken, onions, Real Salt, butter and potatoes, along with my six-inch chef’s knife. Not quite sure how I’ll bend the chef’s knife into a pot to make three batches of chicken stock from one chicken, but it can’t be denied that my knife is my favorite. At least I could cut up some potatoes and plant them for later.
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Start young! Giving kids positive memories in the kitchen when they’re still intrinsically motivated before age five makes all the difference!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
My kids have a cooking playlist with a lot of Star Wars music, but I prefer a podcast in my ear personally.
Anything else you want to share?
I never want parents to hear me say “Hey, teach your kids to cook!” and think that I’m saying it’s easy. It’s not. I had a lot of psychological blocks to get over, but I knew I needed help and that I wanted to raise healthy independent adults. It turns out that my kids’ confidence and creativity blossomed in the kitchen as well, and it really is good for the entire family. So, like all of parenting, teaching kids to cook can be hard, and it’s a long game, but the rewards are many and fruitful.
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