Rob Seideman of the Cooking School of Aspen names his favorite equipment for kids.
Seideman doesn't like most items designed for children. One exception is kid-size chef's jacketsthe uniform makes them feel like real cooks ($26; 800-568-2433 or www.chefwear.com). Another is All-Clad's Emerilware Kid's Cookware Set, which includes a solid, downsized saucepan, an apron and other accessories ($60; 800-ALLCLAD).
Safe Pans and Appliances
Seideman loves cast-iron griddles; there's no long handle for children to knock into ($36 from Lodge; 423-837-7181 or www.lodgemfg.com). Almost all his other kids' recipes use the ovenhe especially likes those with sideways-opening doors, which he considers safer ($2,200 for Kenmore Elite; 888-KENMORE or www.sears.com). Another favorite: a snow-cone maker, which is easy enough for even young kids to use ($30 from Rival; 800-986-9753 or www.rivalproducts.com).
Seideman suggests using food processors (under an adult's supervision) instead of knives. "The clear bowl makes it like an aquarium of food," he says ($230 and up, from KitchenAid; 800-541-6390). He also gives children blunt-tipped scissors to cut tortilla strips for soup.
As Seideman worked on Real Cooking for Kids, based on the course he teaches at the Cooking School of Aspen, he was influenced by Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes and Donna Hay's Cool Kids Cook. Passport on a Plate, by Diane Simone Vezza, inspired him to do a class on pancakes from around the world, he says, like French crêpes and Dutch apple pancakes.
To help children reach the counter, Seideman uses plastic steps made for health-club step classes. They won't slip, and you can stack several for smaller kids (from $30 by Today Step; 800-549-1667 or www.bodytrends.com).