Recipe and Reads: Family Culinary Labs

The Recipe and Reads: Family Culinary Labs – six in total – will serve up comprehensive culinary literacy programs that will include such things as hands-on demonstrations of food and nutritional literacy; food acquisition methods; food handling, hygiene and safety; and consumer cost-saving techniques and meal stretching.

The program will include a series of workshops.  Each of the labs may include use of fully stocked mobile, kitchen carts with educational materials that will include books addressing issues such as food safety, meal preparation on a budget and how-to cookbooks for parents, children, and teenagers.

The labs will be located at the regional library branches in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, DeLand, and Deltona.


There’s nowhere better for S.T.R.E.A.M lessons to take place than in the kitchen. You’ll find that when you start performing some cooking experiments together with your child, they’ll soon become more curious and interested in learning about the world around them. Here are some tips and benefits of introducing S.T.R.E.A.M. concepts in the kitchen:

S cience: When it comes to learning about S.T.R.E.A.M. in the kitchen, we encourage you and your child to adopt an inquisitive mindset. To start, introduce your child to the solid, liquid, and gas states of matter; which any young child needs to learn about. You can easily show these three states within just one recipe and a few simple cooking ingredients.

T echnology: One of the best ways to engage your children in S.T.R.E.A.M. lessons in the kitchen is by ensuring they have the tools they need to thrive in the kitchen. By having child-sized utensils and cooking supplies that are designed for their smaller hands, you’ll find the chance of an accident occurring is much lower, and they’ll enjoy getting to cut and mix with tools that feel comfortable in their hands.

R eading or literacy promotes critical thinking, problem solving and most definitely creativity. Always read the recipes in advance with your child, ask questions, explain how a recipe is executed and created; perhaps ask them to create their own as well as describing what to do in each step of the preparation of their recipe.

E ngineering has many rules, and when you change one aspect of a process, it impacts the final result. You’ll find this applies to cooking too, and they’ll soon learn that by adding and taking away different ingredients for their bakery items, they are left with different results. You can also have a go at creating ornate buildings and towers with various food items.

A rt becomes a way for children to exercise their creativity. In the kitchen is no different, using food dye is a great way to show children what happens when you mix and match colors. Using glasses of water or a different liquid, you’ll soon find that they learn which colors mix together to form each new color.

M ath can be fun; we recommend encouraging your children to add, subtract, multiply, and divide different measurements when they are helping you to cook. Choose a fun baking recipe, such as a cake or cookies, to bake together. You’ll find that when they know a delicious finished item awaits, they are much more engaged in the math they need to use in order to make their favorite treats.


Fun Family Recipe Idea:

Edible Spheres (Spherification)

Try to make your own savory caviar, Popping Boba or desert decorations with this recipe. Enjoy!


  • 2 cups of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons plus ¼ cup pomegranate juice, measured separately
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 6 cups of ice


  • Tall container (about 34 oz with lid)
  • 4 bowls (1 large, 2 medium, 1 small)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Liquid measuring cups
  • Oven Mitts
  • Whisk
  • Funnel (optional)
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Toothpick
  • Fine-mesh strainer


1. At least 4 hours before you want to make your spheres, pour oil into a tall container, cover container and place container in refrigerator.

2. Add 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice to small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over surface of juice. Use rubber spatula to stir until no large lumps of gelatin remain. Set aside.

3. Add remaining ¼ cup pomegranate juice to liquid measuring cup. Heat in microwave until steaming, 30 to 45 seconds.

4. Use oven mitts to remove liquid measuring cup from microwave (ask an adult for help). Pour hot pomegranate juice into bowl with gelatin mixture. Whisk mixture until fully combined and no lumps remain.

5. Place funnel, if using, over squeeze bottle. Carefully pour gelatin mixture into squeeze bottle (ask an adult for help). Secure top bottle. Place bottle in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to let gelatin mixture thicken slightly.

6. Remove container of oil from refrigerator and place in center of large bowl. Arrange ice around container of oil. (Surrounding the oil with ice will keep it cold while you’re forming your spheres.) Carefully remove lid from container of oil.

7. Remove squeeze bottle from refrigerator. Make and drain spheres.

8. Fill second medium bowl about halfway with cold water. Transfer spheres from fine-mesh strainer to bowl of cold water. Use rubber spatula to gently pour water-spheres in water. Working over sink, gently pour water-sphere mixture back into strainer, letting water go down drain. Serve.

Featured Recipe: The Complete Cookbook For Young Scientists by: America’s Test Kitchen, page 229.

Photo Credit:

Recommended reads

Book cover for the title The Complete Cookbook For Young ScientistsThe Complete Cookbook For Young Scientists by America's Test Kitchen.

Why do some cheeses melt better than others? Why does popcorn "pop"? How does gelatin work? Answer these questions (and wow your friends and family!) by cooking the best-ever skillet pizza, easy chocolate popcorn, and galactic mirror cake... and more! Plus, fun science experiments to do in your home kitchen.

Reserve a copy

Book cover for the title Chemistry You Can ChompChemistry You Can Chomp by Jessie Alkire.

With Engineering You Can Eat kids will learn about amazing structures created by ancient and modern engineers. Then they will explore engineering further by making delicious science-themed snacks. Step-by-step instructions and full-color photos make the recipes easy for kids to prepare.

Reserve a copy

Book cover for the title Science Experiments You Can EatScience Experiments You Can Eat by Vicki Cobb.

Kids take the reins in the kitchen with this hands-on book of edible science experiments. With contemporary information that reflects changes in the world of processing and preserving foods, this cookbook demonstrates the scientific principles that underpin the chemical reactions we witness every day just by cooking. And, once readers have tested their theories and completed their experiments, they can eat the results!

Reserve a copy

Book cover for the title The Food Lab Better Home Cooking Through ScienceThe Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt.

J. Kenji López-Alt shows that cooks don't need a state-of-the-art kitchen to cook perfect meals. In a book centred on much-loved dishes, Kenji explores the science behind searing, baking, blanching and roasting. Readers will find out how to make perfect roast turkey with crackling skin, how to make extra fluffy or creamy scrambled eggs and much more.
Reserve a copy

Cover of the title Cook's scienceCook's science : how to unlock flavor in 50 of our favorite ingredients by Guy Crosby.

From the editors of Cook's Illustrated, and the best-selling The Science of Good Cooking, comes an all-new companion book highlighting 50 of our favorite ingredients and the (sometimes surprising) science behind them- Cook's Science. Each chapter explains the science behind one of the 50 ingredients in a short, informative essay--topics ranging from pork shoulder to apples to quinoa to dark chocolate--before moving onto an original (and sometimes quirky) experiment, performed in a test kitchen and designed to show how the science works.
Reserve a copy

Cover of the title Molecular GastronomyMolecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé This.

Molecular Gastronomy is filled with practical tips, provocative suggestions, and penetrating insights. This begins by reexamining and debunking a variety of time-honored rules and dictums about cooking and presents new and improved ways of preparing a variety of dishes. Looking to the future, This imagines new cooking methods and proposes novel dishes. A chocolate mousse without eggs? A flourless chocolate cake baked in the microwave? Molecular Gastronomy explains how to make them.
Download this book

Upcoming programs

All Recipes and Reads programs

Division of Library and Information Services Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project was funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida’s LSTA program is administered by the Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services.