When the pandemic first hit and locked us in our homes, many of us were struck by the same bolt of inspiration (after we bought our toilet paper): We decided to bake bread. All that kneading, rising, and conjuring of the fresh bread smell in our homes was a thing we could focus on when life outside our front door felt too scary to navigate. Cooking and baking are good life skills to learn, but they can also serve to soothe and entertain when we need soothing and entertaining — which is why we should also share the experience with our kids.
Pulling out the flour and sugar to whip up some muffins with them is great. But we’ve all had a long year, so if what you really want is to curl up on the couch and watch someone else pull out the flour and sugar, your kids are probably going to be game for that, too. There some great cooking and baking shows out there for kids and families right now — and here are my favourites.
The Great British Baking Show
There will be many shows on this list that are specifically geared toward kids or feature kid contestants. This is not that show, but I’m starting here anyway, because The Great British Baking Show is some truly wholesome, wonderful, heartwarming programming.
We blew through its most recent full season (season 11) quickly in my home because it had everything we needed: contestants who were encouraging of each other, funny banter between hosts, and a slew of desserts with names we’d never even heard of. (Care for a slice of Battenberg, anyone?)
Streaming on Netflix
Nailed It! is fun for kids because it’s all about adults (home chefs) competing against each other to recreate culinary masterpieces and largely…failing miserably. It helps to dispel a bit of the social media perfectionism we all experience (one person’s winking emoji cookie is another person’s wild-eyed disaster).
It’s an endearing show because it’s a little bit of a hot mess (in a friendly, goofy, whimsical way), and we’re all a little bit of a hot mess right now.
Streaming on Netflix.
Nadiya’s Time to Eat
Does cooking sometimes feel like a chore? Oh hell yes, of course it does, and Nadiya has decided it’s time we all embrace the beauty of the shortcut — she’s all about dinnertime (and dessert-time) hacks, which is why we love her. As a bonus, since her recipes are so quick to make, she also has time to travel a bit and visit the places where ingredients are born, such as a mushroom producer, a salmon farm, and a Heinz factory.
Streaming on Netflix
Waffles + Mochi (With Michelle Obama)
I have to end not with a show that is already a favourite, but one I suspect will become a favourite. The former first lady, in keeping with her dedication to encourage kids to eat healthier, is launching a cooking show next month — with puppets. The Washington Post explains:
In addition to executive producing “Waffles + Mochi,” which debuts March 16, she’ll play the proprietor of a “whimsical supermarket” that employs the titular puppets, who are best friends and aspiring chefs. (One is an adorably small orb formed like the Japanese rice cake and the other a creature whose ears are shaped like the griddled breakfast treat.) “I’m excited for families and children everywhere to join us on our adventures as we discover, cook, and eat delicious food from all over the world,” she wrote in a tweet.
Streaming on Netflix starting March 16
Consider this list a starting point, as there are many other family-friendly cooking and baking shows out there worthy of a watch.