Why We Love I Can Cook

19/07/2011 16:51 | Updated 22 May 2015
Why we love I Can CookBBC/Endemol

Have you seen I Can Cook, the kids' cookery programme on CBeebies?

It might just be the best kids programme on TV. I stumbled across I Can Cook by accident while channel-surfing to find something suitable for my boys, aged six and four, to watch.

I am so fed up of the poor quality TV programmes that are churned out for kids these days, particularly for boys. From the mind-bendingly nonsensical Kung Fu Dino Posse - which seems to be about four cryogenically frozen fighting dinosaurs - to Pokemon, which frankly baffles me, it seems there is an endless array of rubbish on TV for kids.

But I Can Cook is a breath of fresh air amongst all that aggressive, animated nonsense.

The format is disarmingly simple - presenter Katy Ashworth and her team of little helpers cook up a storm in the kitchen, using fresh, natural ingredients from the I Can Cook garden.

Aimed at the under sixes, the series promises to teach children 'to discover the magic of the full cycle of food as they learn to connect what's on their plate every day with the world around them'.

And Katy is a laugh a minute. If she's not cracking jokes, singing songs or making up foodie rhymes with the children in her kitchen she's teaching them how to 'pop' peppers using their fingers or hop up and down like popcorn kernels. It's all good, clean, child-like fun.

My boys were transfixed and while a cookery programme probably won't knock a cartoon about kung fu dinosaurs off the top spot of their list of favourite TV shows, it was refreshing to actually watch something together that we all enjoyed.

I love that the programme features real people, including children, instead of technicolour mutant creatures. And instead of bizarre language that revolves around combat and weapons it's educational, based on real life, but still great fun to watch.

We watched an episode together and as soon as it was over my sons rushed headlong into the kitchen and begged to try making Katy's vegetable bhuna for their tea, which was a miracle in itself as they're not big veggie fans and like most lads of their age, aren't particularly adventurous when it comes to meal times. But I Can Cook ignited a sudden interest in their food and a desire to try something new to eat - although I suspect they just fancied having a go at popping peppers with their fingers. And why not?

We went on the I Can Cook website afterwards and they even made their own meal plan from the recipes featured there. And the next day the boys made Katy's Banana Toffee Pudding almost entirely without my help. It was absolutely delicious, and by far one of the best experiences we've had of baking together.

What I love about the recipes on the website is that they're completely pared down and geared towards kids. So often when we cook together my sons impatience sends my blood pressure sky-rocketing as I struggle to read ahead to what's next on the recipe and they start spilling flour and sneaking their fingers in the caster sugar. It's usually a recipe for disaster, but not so with Katy's help.

I Can Cook was fun to watch, propelled us straight to the kitchen together, and opened us up to trying new foods and being more adventurous at mealtimes. If only all kids TV programming was this innovative and inspiring.

You can watch the latest series of I Can Cook on BBC iPlayer here.


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