Off the Top of My Head
By Paul Murray
Parents in this “digital age” have a serious challenge…How to encourage our children away from passive screens and to pique their interest in more active pursuits.
Chef Charley “ChopChop” Ainscough is here to help. Her cooking book “Charley Chop Chop Shares Her Culinary Magic” is specially made for children and to encourage them away from cartoons and into the kitchen.
“Teaching your children how to cook is the greatest gift you can ever give them,” Ainscough states in her book of simple recipes for meals kids love.
Beautifully photographed by Shannon Schnittker, the book features how-to guides for a range of culinary delights and images of Ainscough with her trainee “Cheffettes” as they work together to create soups, desserts, preserves, breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks.
Good-parenting tips also pepper the book like ideas for lunchbox notes that encourage and inspire the little ones. Ainscough also shares a few ideas on craft activities for parents and little ones that enhance the parent-child bond by creating together.
The super-positive and optimistic Ainscough grew up in rural Yorkshire with three sisters. Their mother encouraged the girls to help in the kitchen from a young age and this inspired Ainscough to pursue a life in the kitchen and to explore culinary possibilities as an adult. She has travelled the world with her chef’s ticket working in France, Scotland, Australia before settling in New Zealand and making Nelson her home.
With an emphasis on healthy and wholesome, Charley Chop Chop has compiled a collection of simple home-cooking recipes written in simple language for early readers and parents to easily follow. The photographs give some idea of what the resultant dishes are supposed to resemble and kitchen mess is nowhere to be seen. Of course, teaching kids to tidy up after cooking is integral to the success of this programme and the good kitchen etiquette may not be as much fun as the creative part of the process, but equally as important. Ainscough’s book provides an opportunity for parents to enjoy spending quality time with their children, teaching them an important life skill and also instilling in them the need for cleanliness, food safety, and hygiene.
If you live in Nelson and would like to meet Charley Chop Chop and get cooking, she offers her culinary experience, knowledge, and passion for food in hands-on cooking classes for you and your kids at your place or hers.
My kids are currently in Japan on holiday visiting their grandparents, but when they return, I look forward to cooking up a storm with them and trying out a few of Charley Chop Chop’s recipes and see if we can give Mum a break from the kitchen!
Charley “Chop Chop” Ainscough has is also a fully qualified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.
She’s also a radio DJ!