Lizzy Henry’s dad didn’t know what to do with himself when he and his family started isolation at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mark Henry, a chef and sausagemaker, was used to spending time at Island Bwoy Cuisine, which he started eight years ago in Temple Hills. When the business temporarily closed in March, their family had a lot of time together at home.
Lizzy, 11, asked if she could join him in the kitchen of the Alexandria home they share with her mom, Pam, and siblings Kimberly, 23, and Malcolm, 25. Her dad agreed, and Lizzy turned the idea into a project that keeps them both busy: a cooking video series on Island Bwoy’s Instagram page. Every day Lizzy and her father make new recipes, often dishes influenced by the food he ate growing up in Jamaica. Lizzy is the host, and she doesn’t hesitate to gently interrupt Dad to make sure viewers can follow along.
The videos are not only a great bonding experience for Lizzy and her dad, but also an opportunity for Lizzy — a picky eater — to try food she hasn’t tasted before.
“Before we made the coco bread video, I’d never had coco bread before,” she said. “It was really good, so I decided I would try more foods another day.”
Coco bread is a Jamaican half-moon-shaped pastry often made with a beef patty inside.
Master the basics
Kids who want to start with basic recipes, such as a cheese omelet or flatbread pizza, should check out America’s Test Kitchen (ATK), which produces cooking shows, cookbooks and tips for all ages. ATK’s Young Chefs’ Club features activities, crafts and recipes that are normally members-only but have been free for everyone since March. Last week’s recipes included overnight oatmeal, vanilla frosting and beef-and-broccoli stir-fry.
Molly Birnbaum, editor in chief of ATK Kids, has been at home since mid-March with her husband and children, Olive, 3, and Toby, 8 months. Family time has involved cooking, including baking.
“One of my favorite recipes to make has been our one-pot pasta,” Birnbaum said. “It uses a lot of pantry ingredients, and it’s really delicious.”
Birnbaum says showing her daughter ingredients while cooking makes her more likely to try them when the meal is done. “She loves stir-fry, so even though she can’t really cook them yet, she can help me pick and organize ingredients.”
Whip up a cake
Do you like baking? Try recipes from pastry chef Duff Goldman. Goldman and the staff at his bakery, Charm City Cakes, have been posting weekly baking videos on their YouTube channel. They include sourdough bread and marshmallow fondant, an edible cake covering that is similar to modeling clay. While staying at home in Santa Monica, California, Goldman has made tasty treats for his wife, Johnna.
“My wife loves my chocolate babka [bread],” Goldman said. “I want to use this time to really get in shape, but it was tough with the babka around.”
Goldman said that while home isolation has been difficult, he has enjoyed baking and picking up hobbies, such as exercising.
That’s what’s happened to Lizzy. Even though cooking might not have been something she enjoyed before this spring, it has become a hobby.
“Before [isolation at home] I would’ve had the option to go do something else, like read or play on my tablet,” Lizzy said. “But now, I still have those opportunities, but I think cooking replaced those. And that makes me happy.”
America’s Test Kitchen Young Chefs
What: Activities, crafts and recipes for ages 5 and older.
When: New content posted weekly.
Charm City Cakes
What: Baking tutorials and tips from Duff Goldman’s bakery, Charm City Cakes.
When: New videos posted at least weekly.
Where: charmcitycakes.com. Click on YouTube link.
Island Bwoy Cuisine
What: Instagram cooking videos with Mark and Lizzy Henry.
When: New videos posted daily.
Where: Instagram @islandbwoycuisine.