The Passionate Platter

Cooking How-To, How-To, Quick & Easy, Recipes
on May 1, 2007
Linda Franzo

Cooking can be good therapy for kids. Just ask Linda Franzo.

“Back when I was a speech therapist, I used to work with physically challenged children, and I used cooking as a way to encourage them to talk,” Franzo says. “I got the greatest amount of speech with them when they were cooking.”

Cooking as therapy evolved into a bookstore café where Franzo incorporated culinary lessons into story time, and today, she runs the Passionate Platter Cooking School in Slidell, La. “Kids naturally love to cook, and cooking can be great bonding for parents and their children—food and conversation are just the ultimate.”

Cooking with kids “doesn’t have to be a hassle, and indeed, it can be something as simple as making instant hot chocolate with whipped cream,” Franzo says. “Whether you and your children prepare slice-and-bake cookies or you make them from scratch, the end result is the same: your children still made something, and they received the same sense of accomplishment. And even the fussiest eaters, when they make something themselves, are more inclined to taste the food because they made it.”

By Jeanette Hurt, a food writer in Milwaukee, Wis.

For a list of Passionate Platter classes for kids, go to or call (985) 781-4372.