the research


There are so so many reasons to bring cooking into the schoolday and afterschool classroom, and to bring kids into the kitchen. Cooking and sharing food brings people together fostering the development of healthy relationships. The process of cooking is hands-on and immediately engaging. No matter your ability, experience, or learning style- there’s always something to do in the kitchen. When we practice cooking and learn skills, we gain more ownership and control over our diet. When you prepare your own meals they will no doubt be tastier, healthier, and more affordable that the alternative.

Developing our cooking skills and comfort in the kitchen is an important component of the Rebel Gardeners. We experiment with the variety of produce we grow to create new healthy recipes to share with our community. We also hunt down heirloom recipes from different community members to preserve food traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. No matter what the inspiration, all our recipes follow a simple motto:  think AHEAD (affordable, healthy, easy, accessible, delicious).

The opportunities to integrate cooking into academic disciplines are endless. Writing recipes and calculating nutrition information requires math. Researching recipes and learning about cuisine involves, reading, writing, and social social studies. Just about any cooking process- whether it’s steaming a potato, boiling and egg, or pickling a cucumber can be studied scientifically through biology and chemistry. And this is just scratching the surface of the opportunities for discovery by coooking in school.

Below are links to journal articles, reports, news stories, and links to websites that were and continue to be guiding lights in the development of better food education. They are organized by the project they informed.

Cooking Crew

Dohle, S., Rall, S., & Siegrist, M. (2014). I cooked it myself: Preparing food increases liking and consumption. Food Quality and Preference, 33, 14-16.

  • In this study participants ate a milkshake they prepared themselves or a milkshake prepared by a stranger. People who made the milkshake from a recipe liked the milkshake more and drank more of it.
  • In cooking crew, kids are deeply involved in the preparation of the foods they consume, and serve to their peers.
Zellner, D., et al. (2014) It tastes as good as it looks! The effect of food preservation on liking for the flavor of food. Appetite.
  • In this study researchers found that individuals like the flavor of food significantly more when it is presented in an attractive and stylistic way.
Ochs, E., Izquierdo, C. (2009) Responsibility in Childhood: Three Developmental Trajectories. Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology
    • This paper examines childhood in 3 different cultures and traces participation in household chores to the development of moral responsibilities by the awareness of other’s perspectives and needs.

Christina Hartmann, Simone Dohle, Michael Siegrist, Importance of cooking skills for balanced food choices, Appetite, Volume 65, 1 June 2013, Pages 125-131

  • Participants took a cooking skill survey and it was found that people with more cooking skills make better food choices and that the consumption of convenience foods is associated with fewer cooking skills.

Bucher, T., van der Horst, K., & Siegrist, M. (2011). Improvement of meal composition by vegetable variety. Public Health Nutrition, 14(08), 1357–1363.

  • Participants served themselves from a lunch buffet with replica foods, which differed by condition in the number of vegetables available. People exposed to more vegetable choices created a meal with far more calories derived from vegetables.

Liquori, T., Koch, P. D., Contento, I. R., & Castle, J. (1998). The cookshop program: Outcome evaluation of a nutrition education program linking lunchroom food experiences with classroom cooking experiences.

  • In this study participants (children) were exposed to a nutrition education program that involved hands-on cooking lessons, classroom-based  food and environment lessons, and healthier foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) served in the cafeteria. Students exposed to the hands-on cooking lessons increased preferences for healthy foods, increased knowledge of healthy foods, decreased plate waste plate waste of healthy foods, increased behavioral intention (younger children), and increased cooking self-efficacy (older children).
  • College nutrition students were engaged as classroom assistants along with parents and teachers in the hands-on cooking lessons.
  • Participants worked in small groups fostering a positive environment and active engagement.
Gripshover, S. and Markman, E. (2013) Teaching Young children A Theory Of Nutrition: Conceptual Change And The Potential For Increased Vegetable Consumption (2013). Psychological Science.