Raddish is a cooking club for kids that comes as a kit in a small box shipped to the student each month. Each month’s box is tailored to the season, holidays, and types of fresh ingredients likely to be available. These kits are designed to educate children in a broad range of cooking and food preparation skills. Food items are not included, but detailed grocery lists for each recipe are.
There’s much more to these kits than is obvious at first glance, including extra online resources that should not be missed. Children as young as four or five might participate in the food preparation, but the kits are ideal for about ages eight through fourteen.
Contents of Each of the Kits
Three recipe guides
For each recipe, there is a laminated, tri-fold, illustrated guide that measures 8.5" by 17". (It folds down to the size of half a page.) On the front panel, it pictures the finished food item, tells how long it will take to prepare, and gives the yield. The three inside panels are the recipe. The first inside panel tells and shows both the ingredients and the culinary tools you will need. The other two inside panels have illustrated, step-by-step instructions that are super easy for beginning cooks to follow. That leaves two other back panels. One panel is for a culinary-skill section described below, and the other panel has content of different types—usually related to the culinary tool included with the kit, a type of food used in the recipe, or a cultural connection to the recipe.
A culinary-skill panel is located on the center back panel of each of the three recipe guides. The culinary-skill panels teach children cooking and food-preparation skills, and they include information about culinary tools. For instance, in the Spring Picnic set that I reviewed, one panel shows a number of different ways to use the bench scraper that comes with the kit. Another panel explains techniques for frosting cupcakes, either spreading or piping on the icing. The third panel, “Guide to Kitchen Knives,” has a chart showing the features and uses of three different types of knives along with safety tips.
Grocery list card
Each kit includes a 5.5" x 8.5" card listing the items included in the kit on one side. On the reverse are shopping lists for the grocery items needed to create each recipe. Shopping lists don’t include items already likely to be on hand, such as salt, pepper, and cooking oil. But they do list such items at the bottom of the card.
This two-sided card has instructions for one project or activity. The sample on the publisher’s website has children build and cook with their own solar oven. The one in the Spring Picnic box is for a picnic scavenger hunt.
Every kit includes a high-quality culinary tool that can be used in one or more of the recipes in that kit. This might be something like a set of measuring spoons or the set of two scrapers in the Spring Picnic kit (a bowl scraper and a bench scraper).
Table Talk cards
These are four small, laminated cards with either a question or an activity on each. Most of them pose questions that are great for family discussion at the dinner table. Some questions relate to food, but most do not. For instance, one Spring Picnic card asks, “Describe the perfect picnic. Where is it? What would you eat?” Another card asks, “How have you grown in the past year?” One card presents a creative activity that can be used for discussion or a project: “Design your dream cupcake!”
One round, iron-on patch, two inches in diameter, comes with each kit. The patch bears an image that identifies it with the kit. These are supposed to be applied to the Raddish apron.
You get a free Raddish apron with the purchase of a 6- or 12-month membership. You can also purchase aprons separately. If you need additional patches, they are also available separately.
Lesson Plans and Online Extras
The Raddish website has a section titled Bonus Bites. Here you will find free, extra resources for the current month’s kit and for kits going back about eight months. (Raddish creates entirely new kits each year, but you can still order previous kits until they run out of stock.) These extra resources are presented under a number of categories. The categories that almost always have content are: lesson plans, recipes, dietary modifications, and music playlists. Other categories—cooking videos, parent resources, activities and skills, and school in the kitchen—rarely have content.
The recipes, dietary modifications, musical playlists, and lesson plans are tailored for use with each kit. I’ll give examples for the Spring Picnic kit. The recipes section offers recipes for gluten-free biscuits and honey-lime fruit salad. These printable recipes are illustrated in the same manner as the recipes that come with each kit, although they show fewer steps since they fit onto a half page. The dietary modifications section adds suggestions for modifying two of the recipes in the kit to address needs for options that are dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan. (These are the only types of dietary modifications they have.) The music playlist is a Spotify® playlist curated to be appropriate for children.
The lesson plans might be one of the most useful resources in the Bonus Bites, since they each present two mini unit studies. However, the fact that they are not available well in advance makes it difficult to plan these into your curriculum at the beginning of a school year. The lesson plans include ideas that can be used by the entire family, even with children who are too young to participate in the food preparation.
Each lesson plan has seven to nine pages and is divided into two parts. The first part offers simpler and briefer activities and allows you to choose either selected activities or the mini-unit study. The second part requires deeper research and is intended to be used only as a mini-unit study.
For the Spring Picnic kit, the first part is about insects. The first thing you see is a list of links to books, videos, songs, and information sites. (Books usually need to be purchased or borrowed from the library.) If you want to expand the insect study just a little more without doing the mini-unit study, choose from the Optional Extensions where you will find links to more resources and some project ideas. Or you can use the entire mini-unit study about insects by following the step-by-step lesson plan that embeds some of the links that were listed at the beginning. The lesson plan includes discussion ideas, a graphic organizer to complete, and your choice of projects.
The second mini-unit study in the Sprint Picnic kit is about space exploration, and it is appropriate for older students. The study's objective is: “Students will learn the history of human space exploration and create a project that shows one aspect of the knowledge needed to get humans successfully into space.” (Yes, this topic seems a little far afield for inclusion in a cooking kit.) As with the first mini-unit study, it’s laid out step by step and embeds many of the resources that are included in a list at the top of the study. There’s more for students to read and think about at the linked websites or in the recommended books than with the first study. Suggested projects are also more involved, such as, “Read about the requirements to become an astronaut and some of the surprising things about being an astronaut. Create a slideshow on the necessary steps and information for anyone who is interested in this as a career.” Links to helpful websites are included within the lesson plan.
The mini-unit studies are interesting, but be aware that some topics might fit well with the rest of your curriculum and your children’s interests while others might not. You can always choose to use only one or two of the recommended books rather than use the complete mini-unit studies.
You might also want to click on Kitchen School on the Raddish website find the icon for Cook-Along Videos. There are at least 30 videos that you can watch for free. These are presented by the founder of Raddish, Samantha Barnes, and her children, and they demonstrate how to prepare many different types of food. You can print out an illustrated recipe for each demonstration.
Raddish does a great job of teaching culinary skills to children… and adults might learn something too. There’s much more to this than what you see in the kits. Explore the Raddish website and try out some of their recipes to see for yourself.