Easter and Passover might be early this year, but bringing out the eggs and afikomen means that that summer's coming soon. Which means, parents, that now's the time to make plans for your kids' school's-out activities. For adults, workshops and events revolving around thinking, writing, making, cooking, and growing food are more popular than ever, so it's no surprise that food- and farming-themed kids' camps are springing up throughout the Bay Area. Some are one-day excursions, others week-long adventures, but all involve a lively, hands-on, and, we hope, deliciously messy foray into real farm-to-table, dirt-to-dining discoveries. (Plus, petting goats!)
Take My Word for It, which teaches a variety of writing programs for kids, is presenting half-day, week-long versions of Peanut Butter and the Pen, its popular food-writing course for 8 to 12 year olds, at three locations this summer. June 18 thru June 22, the camp will be in residence at 18 Reasons in San Francisco's Mission District. The theme? Fairytales reimagined, and come to think of it, there's a lot of eating in all those bedtime stories, from the big bad wolf dining on grandmother to Snow White and the poisoned apple. Take My Word for It will also be offering more general food-writing camps for kids at the Piedmont Recreation Center in Oakland (June 18-22) as well as at Seesaw in Hayes Valley.
The Piedmont Recreation Center also offers three hands-on cooking classes. 5 to 6 year olds can get started at Beginning Cooking Camp, where they'll learn basic skills--and some eating etiquette--with instructor Jane Backus. At Little Spoons Cafe (8-12 year olds), kids work with Bauman College-trained chef Eric Pomert to make family-pleasing recipes like Indian carrot cake muffins, bang bang chicken, hazelnut chocolate macaroons, and yes, Mom's favorite, crunchy kale chips. Meanwhile, Cre8tive Design (9-11 year olds) takes cooking and sewing, those old home-ec staples, into the 21st century by combining fashion design with culinary creation in a Project-Runway-meets-Top-Chef explosion of teamwork, baking, and outfit-making. You don't have to live in Piedmont to attend, although residents do get a slightly reduced price. (Download the online catalog for dates, times, prices, and registration information.)
Your kids can take Michael Pollan's dictum to "eat...mostly plants" to heart at 18 Reasons' All Plant Parts Gardening and Cooking Camp at Sanchez School this summer. The four-day, half-day program for 9 to 12 year olds teaches basic botany by way of the garden and kitchen, as kids learn to identify, taste, and cook all the edible parts of many different plants, making easy dishes like trail mix, popcorn, fava-bean hummus, and whole-grain flatbreads.