Healdsburg mom starts cooking classes for children

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Teaching kids to cook

Little Monsters Culinary offers two levels of classes — one for younger children with little to no cooking experience and the other older kids who have a higher skill level. These are some of the classes offered in July:

Wednesday, the Monster Munch Crunch Booth at Windsor Kaboom

July 9, Sonoma Chocolatiers culinary field trip

July 29-Aug. 1, Little Monsters Summer Camp (waitlist only)

Classes are held at a variety of venues, with the Tayman Golf clubhouse in Healdsburg and the Windsor Grange being the most frequent locations.

To register or for more details, visit littlemonstersculinary.com, call or text 707-955-0973, or email Carey@LittleMonstersCulinary.com.

In a nation where people eat out on average about five times a week, cooking is becoming a lost art.

Carey Angerer wants to change that. She’s on a mission to get people excited about food and cooking, and she believes in starting them young.

Angerer launched Little Monsters Culinary in late 2017, months after she and her family moved to Healdsburg. A self-taught cook and self-professed “Food Network trainee,” she is using her creativity to introduce cooking and new foods to children ages 4 to 12.

She said teaching children to cook ensures they’ll develop skills they’ll need and never regret.

“I work to change their relationship with food and fears around cooking,” said Angerer, 35.

She offers various children’s cooking classes, including for home school and public school students, those in after-school programs and Girl Scout troops, as well as birthday packages. She also holds field trips, giving parents an opportunity to attend.

On July 7, she plans to take the children on a trip to Sonoma Chocolatiers in Sebastopol.

She has on average of about 10 to 12 kids a class, with fees starting at $35. She typically holds classes in the commercial kitchen at Tayman Park in Healdsburg, as well as at the Windsor Grange. She also uses school kitchens throughout Sonoma County.

In the classes, students can learn how to make chicken fajitas with creamy avocado sauce, bacon- and cheese-stuffed burgers, mac and cheese, soups and other tasty meals. Her most popular courses are those where kids get to make sweets, including cookies and chocolate.

When making sweets, Angerer encourages the kids to pay attention to how much sugar is in the recipe and how substitutions work.

For example, she has had them taste the differences in whipped cream when it is unsweetened, sweetened with sugar or sweetened with frozen mango. She lets them know ingredients may taste different, depending on the dishes, and they learn to try new things in class.

“(It) opens their eyes and palate,” Angerer said.

Angerer had grown up with home-cooked meals. Her mother didn’t believe in fast food or sugary cereals, so she made them their meals every day. Sitting at the table to eat was de rigueur for the family.

When they were about 18 months old, Angerer introduced her children, Sierra, 6, and Summer, 3, to cooking. So imagine her surprise when one of her older daughter’s friends declared one day, “My mom doesn’t cook.”

“I began to wonder if people would pay me to teach their kids to cook,” said Angerer, who has a degree in business marketing from San Francisco State and was working at a modeling agency before moving to Healdsburg.

When her oldest was ready to start school, she took the leap and launched Little Monsters Culinary.

Through her classes, Angerer aims at encouraging families to spend more time together cooking and sharing meals, and less time in front of a television or computer screen.

Monica Smith enrolled her 6-year-old son, Wyatt, in the cooking classes about a year ago.

“Wyatt just loves her classes. He loves being in the kitchen,” said Smith, whose husband, Paul Smith, is a chef for Ramey Wine Cellars.

“He even goes when he doesn’t like the ingredients,” she said about her son, “because he likes the process.”

Smith said her son is now more willing to try new foods. Angerer is fun and encouraging with the kids, she added.

When reluctant students see others enjoying the food they just prepared, Angerer said they often will choose to try a bite.

She said one of the most important lessons she imparts to her students is not to say, “I don’t like that” or “That’s yucky.” She teaches them to say instead it’s not a favorite food.

“We do not yuck someone’s yum,” she tells the kids.

Having to follow recipes and measurements helps the kids develop their reading, math and science skills. They also learn about basic hygiene, including washing hands and cleaning up at the end of class.

Her younger students typically enjoy the more tactile classes that include rolling and pressing crusts. The older children like making soup using a professional blender and a hand mixer.

“It’s OK to make a mess with me,” Angerer said. “Cooking is about making people happy.”

You can reach Towns correspondent Ann Carranza at healdsburg.towns@gmail.com.

Teaching kids to cook

Little Monsters Culinary offers two levels of classes — one for younger children with little to no cooking experience and the other older kids who have a higher skill level. These are some of the classes offered in July:

Wednesday, the Monster Munch Crunch Booth at Windsor Kaboom

July 9, Sonoma Chocolatiers culinary field trip

July 29-Aug. 1, Little Monsters Summer Camp (waitlist only)

Classes are held at a variety of venues, with the Tayman Golf clubhouse in Healdsburg and the Windsor Grange being the most frequent locations.

To register or for more details, visit littlemonstersculinary.com, call or text 707-955-0973, or email Carey@LittleMonstersCulinary.com.

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