As torn as I often feel about social media, such good, real life things can come of it when we use it well. Good things like making a new friend.
My new friend, Dr. Ashwini Bhandiwad, is the CEO of StemChef. Ashie creates kits to teach kids between the ages of 5 and 10 about the science that happens every day in the kitchen. Ashie and I met after she posted in a Facebook group where entrepreneurial women support one another. She asked for volunteers to beta test her first StemChef kit, and of course I volunteered. (Disclosure: In exchange for our time and feedback, StemChef provided us a free kit. Wyatt and I had so much fun with the experiments that I decided to write about StemChef in a blog post.)
Ashie came to our house one Saturday afternoon, kit in hand, and while Wyatt and I worked on the kit, Ashie and I quickly discovered how much we have in common. We share a love for Science & Cooking—both the online class and the concepts in real life. We have kids who are about the same age. We also think part of bringing up end educating children must include leading them to observe and interact with the everyday world in meaningful ways. A great place to engage is in the kitchen. One of my favorite sayings of Ashie’s is, “Where there is food, there is science,” and her recent TEDx talk on that subject is so inspiring.
I didn’t know how we’d contribute in any meaningful way to StemChef’s kit development. To be honest, I was thinking more selfishly when I signed us up: we’d get to do something fun for free. But I have to say, I’m delighted to have actually helped. The scientific principle the first kit explores is pH. One of the experiments involves making cupcakes with the ingredients provided in the kit and then cooking the cupcakes speedily in a microwave. But, we had two issues: (1) we are gluten-free, and (2) we are microwave-free because after our microwave broke a few years ago, we didn’t replace it. Ashie was undaunted, though. With her guidance, we found work arounds, and she decided to include what we did as part of her instructions.
Here are some of the photos taken while we were testing the kit. We made a volcano, played with pH testing using natural dye, and made cupcakes. It was a super fun way to introduce Wyatt to acids and bases and how they contribute to a more delicious existence.