Kitchen Memories From “Granny Camp”

Former Country Woman editor Ann Kaiser stirs up kitchen fun with grandkids.

Granny Camp

Grannie-Camp-1

When her three grandkids' summer schedules opened up, Ann Kaiser arranged for them to spend a few days with Granny Annie at "Granny Camp".

Granny Camp

Granny Camp

To work up an appetite for the first meal the kids prepared, Ann took them on a morning round of golf with their great-grandmother, Nano. Longtime readers of Country Woman recognize "Nano" as Ann's mom and Country Woman's first food editor, Nettie Gohlke.

Granny Camp

Granny Camp

Campers ate well at their special luncheon with their great-grandmother! Ellie, age 10, chose this menu.

Ryan and bullfrog

Granny Camp

Ryan made a new friend—a huge bullfrog—at "granny camp". Hoppy was happy to miss Ryan's special dinner that night.

Granny Camp

Granny Camp

Audrey and friend

 

By Ann Kaiser
Contributing Editor

From the time they were tiny, my grandkids have loved to help in the kitchen—chopping, mixing, measuring and more. So cooking was on the “granny camp” agenda when Ryan, 12, Elizabeth, 10, and Audrey, 7, spent a few days with me last summer.

Poring over recipe books and searching Taste of Home’s online recipe data baseeach one came up with a meal’s menu.   Grocery lists in hand, we headed to the store.

That afternoon my kitchen was alive with talking, laughing and learning as Ryan and Audrey helped Ellie prepare her tomato-basil tartseafood pasta salad and chocolate chip muffins. They invited Great-Grandmother Nano (my mom, Nettie Gohlke, a former Country Woman food editor) to come for lunch the next day after a round of golf.

The exercise sharpened our appetites for Ellie’s delightful lunch. Nano was the perfect guest, all ears as the kids proudly told how they’d made everything.  Naturally, they ate up her compliments.

The next day Ryan caught a huge bullfrog, and I worried he might change his dinner entree to frog legs! Thankfully, he let the big guy go and stuck with chicken cordon bleu. Dad Rich (Mom was out of town) and Papa Louie were impressed with Ryan’s potato skin appetizers, ham-and-cheese-filled chicken rolls and fresh green beans. His Oreo cake with cookie chunks baked in the batter and sprinkled over the whipped cream topping rated a “Wow!”

Audrey waited patiently for her turn and treated us to a summer supper featuring fish tacos. She’d seen them on a restaurant menu, she told Louie while talking him into grilling the filets. Audrey’s dessert was as traditional as her tasty tacos were trendy. Carefully following the recipe and how-to pictures, she baked a delectable lattice-topped cherry pie.

I’m looking forward to this year’s granny camp—cooking up more meals and memories!

Ann Kaiser is the former editor of both Country Woman and Taste of Home magazines. Her beloved Editor in the Country series of workdays spent with readers continues to appear regularly in Country Woman. 

Note: Want more suggestions for fun projects with the kids or grandkids? Try making your own bubble solution and wands, whipping up some flourless play dough, crafting some super-easy friendship bracelets or studying bugs, using this handy observation jar.

Emilie Sumwalt 1 August 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

Dear Granny Annie:
Love your idea of letting the grandkids choose the menu and recipes for ‘their’ meals and then everyone getting together to help each other prepare the food each day. I’m always looking for ideas to create memories with my own granddaughters, and this one is going to go to the top of my list. Thanks for sharing.
Sincerely,
Grammie Emmie

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Juanita 2 August 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Dear Grannie Annie,

Thanks for a nice trip down memory lane!

I have had the good fortune to be able to cook with many of my nieces since at very young ages as I didn’t have children of my own. Amber and Vanissa made a pizza at ages 3 & 4 together. To this day when we get together they talk about the computer award I printed up for each of them giving them 1st place for the pizza. I cooked with Amber from the time she could climb up into a sturdy chair and beg to let her cook and she alway volunteered to help me clean up. I had to tolerate a lot of water on the counter with doing dishes; but she was a great “little helper” in our kitchen. She is also a good cook as an adult.

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Nana Di 3 August 3, 2013 at 7:33 am

What a wonderful idea!! My grandchildren all live quite a distance from me. I may have to borrow some local little friends to join in some cooking fun here in my kitchen. Thanks for the great suggestions.

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Joanne 4 July 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I’ve always loved having the grandchildren cook with me. They are now ages 17, 16 and 12. When they were younger they loved to play “cooking show”. We demonstrated how a dish (usually cookies or brownies) were made. They even made up a theme song for our show!

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