On one Thursday in November, as part of our Curiosity Creates funded Maker Club, kids and teens flocked to the library’s meeting room to make… food! We made one mug meals using a variety of sweet and savory ingredients, mugs, and microwaves. The idea behind this particular program was to empower kids to cook on their own, out of desire or necessity, with basic ingredients. Many kids spend a lot of time on their own and need to feed themselves. We wanted to show them that there were options other than the pre-packaged snacks and meals they might be familiar with and introduce them to some basic cooking techniques.
“You are changing the way I think of libraries!”
– library patron stopping by to see the cooking action
We set the smallish room up lab style with 4 stations that each featured a different recipe, the ingredients, and cooking utensils needed. We also had 2 microwaves on hand to keep the cooking going (operated by myself and the club’s teen mentor). 13 kids and teens cooked together in pairs and teams and sampled their creations as they made them, moving from station to station. Most kids made more than 1 recipe. We had 3 savory stations and one dessert station. There was flour and cocoa powder all over the place, but it was worth it!
Each cook left with a mug (some containing a sample to take home for a family member or friend) and a packet of recipes. I also posted links to the receipts we used on the library’s social media accounts for easy access. Multiple families let me know that their budding cook prepared the mug quiche, the most popular recipe, for them over the weekend- success!
We purchased the mugs from a local thrift store that supports victims of domestic violence and used the Curiosity Creates grant to purchase the ingredients (enough for 15-20 kids to make each recipe). I brought a microwave from home and we also used the library’s microwave as the second. Our town does not require a food handling license for this type of activity, but I did teach the cooks about hygiene and food handing.
Nutella Mug Cake (minus the whipped cream topping)
Note: All of these recipes are gluten free or can be made using gluten free ingredients. For the cake, we substituted gluten free all purpose flour for the self-rising flour with no problem. In fact, some of the original recipe cakes overflowed the mugs while the GF version did not and still tasted great.
The two hour length was a good fit for the number of kids and recipes. There was no pressure to hurry up or limit kids to one recipe. I spent about 1 hour buying and prepping food, 1/2 hour for set up, and 1 hour for clean up, with the help of the teen mentor who assists with all of the Maker Club programs.
In addition to the recipes I shared, our library’s microwave meal cookbooks, along with kid and teen oriented cookbooks, were on display and available for check out.
Want to see a demo? Check out this Meal in a Mug video made by ALSC here in Homer as part of the Curiosity Creates grant.