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Potions: Cooking with kids

June 16, 2008 |  2:37 pm

Potions2_5Ever since my kids were very small, they've loved to make potions.  They'd go out in the backyard and mix together jars of water and dirt, leaves and flower petals, like tiny medieval alchemists. With their discovery of Harry Potter, these experimentations reached a new level. The girls would pretend they were in Snape's potions class, stirring foaming vials of water, vinegar, food coloring, detergent and baking powder (this combo, at left, is what makes the bubbling lava in fake volcano projects) and then pretending to drink them and transform into fairies, cats, Slytherin boys.  Potions_2

Recently, in an effort to combine this fun with the actual consumption of a healthy snack (and cut down on the amount of cooking supplies they transformed into brightly colored jars of polyjuice potion and veritaserum), we've been making edible potions. This past weekend, Isabel got out the blender and added the following potion ingredients: plain yogurt, strawberries, a banana, honey, hibiscus-flower tea. She blended it, then added a few secret ingredients, stirring and mumbling some incantations.  The seeds scraped from a vanilla bean. (Vanilla extract contains alcohol, so it was out.) A teaspoon of rosewater. Then she garnished the whole thing with fresh mint and a strawberry, for aesthetic rather than magical reasons.  Accio snack. No eye of newt required.

-- Amy Scattergood

Photos by Amy Scattergood