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Adventures of the Barefoot Chef by Mareesa Ahmad

As a member of the Kids Advisory Board for ChopChop Magazine, I share their mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families. I have been teaching kids how to cook since the summer of 2014. When people ask me when their child should start learning how to cook, I say it’s never too early to be in the kitchen! Recently, I had Oliver, who is four-years old, come for a cooking lesson. He is my neighbor and I have been babysitting him since he was a few months old.

It was a gloomy, rainy day when Oliver came to the house. I told him there is no better way to spend a rainy day than baking together. He was too little to see over the counter so I plopped him down cross-legged on the cool, granite surface. He wore a chef hat cocked to one side and held a whisk in his hand. I put the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl and let him whisk it up. I added a little bit of butter, a few eggs, and some orange zest into his bowl. He smiled into the bowl as he whisked the tiny orange specks smoothly into the batter. Once the batter was ready, we put fresh cranberries and walnuts in the mix. He helped me pour it into the prepared loaf pan and then he licked all the batter off the spoon, smiling ear to ear. The rain was beating against the rooftop as I put the bread pan into the oven.

He said, “Look Reesa! The pool is getting wet!” I giggled.

As our Cranberry Bread baked, we danced and played barefoot around the kitchen, taking occasional breaks to eagerly peer through the oven window to see the bread rising. The smell of cinnamon and brown sugar wafted through the kitchen. After 40 minutes, I took our bread out of the oven and placed it in front of him. I sliced a piece for him and he eagerly gobbled every bit of it down. Seeing how much he enjoyed it made me so happy. What a wonderful way to spend a rainy day, having an adventure with my little barefoot chef. 


Mareesa Ahmad is a member of the ChopChop Kid’s Advisory Board.

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