Seasonal Baking Contests Highlight Creativity and Family Culture

Seasonal Baking Contests Highlight Creativity and Family Culture

Food and culinary arts provide a vehicle through which families can examine world cultures, history, science, math, and even creative arts – and as the holiday season approaches, opportunities to engage in such learning abound! During this time of year, seasonal opportunities to engage in baking-centric community-based learning intersect with ongoing opportunities to explore the culinary arts – making for a deliciously fascinating learning landscape.

The food that we make tells a story, and nothing illustrates this better than family recipes. Whether handed down for generations, carefully honed over the course of a few years, or recently chosen as a family favorite, family recipes stand as a glimpse into the unique culture of the family from which they emerge. Historic Deerfield offers families a chance to showcase their own family recipes this month – the third annual King Arthur Flour Heritage Recipe Cookie Baking Contest calls for families to enter cookie recipes paired with stories that illustrate why their recipe is special to them. The deadline for entries is today (Monday, November 2nd), and fifteen finalists will be chosen to bring a batch of their special cookies to Historic Deerfield on Saturday, December 5th, 2015. 

Additional opportunities to engage in community- and food-based learning exist within the Springfield Museums’ Seussian Holiday gingerbread exhibition! An annual event showcasing the most imaginative and fanciful gingerbread designs submitted, the exhibition welcomes designs from folks ages 8 and older. Combining culinary skills with creative-free play and basic principles of architecture, the gingerbread exhibition provides families an opportunity to come together for artistic collaboration. Designs for Seuss-themed gingerbread masterpieces must be submitted by Friday, November 13th, 2015, and completed gingerbread houses must be created and delivered to the museum no later than Monday, November 23rd (in order to be displayed through early January).

Need to boost your kids’ kitchen skills before taking on a culinary endeavor such as these? Luckily, a variety of cooking classes catering to a variety of ages and abilities are available locally! Whole Foods Market in Hadley periodically offers cooking classes specifically for children – November’s Young Chefs Cooking Class teaches participants how to make three different kinds of whole-grain cookies made without using extracted sugars or oils, eggs, or dairy. At Chandler’s Restaurant in Deerfield, Kids Cooking Class takes place nearly every month, and gives kids with culinary curiosity a hands-on cooking experience with real chefs. Older cooks and bakers can utilize the offerings of the The Cook’s Resource Cooking School at Different Drummer’s Kitchen Co. in Northampton.

Dig even deeper into the culinary arts as a family and explore the culture of food in your home by drawing inspiration from our monthly column, Soup’s On: Stirring up Connections in the Kitchen.

[Photo credits: (cc) Benny Mazur; Springfield Museums (submitted); (cc) Foodie Baker]

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