3 edible activities for Howard County families

The Baltimore Sun

For families, November is a monthlong food fest, starting with leftover Halloween candy and ending with pumpkin pie and the promise of holiday cookies. It’s no surprise, then, that there are plenty of fun, food-centric activities to try as a family this month.

Explore history through farm life

Learn about where food comes from and get in the Thanksgiving spirit at Sharp’s at Waterford Farm, a 530-acre working farm in Brookeville.

The farm is open to guests in early October and through Nov. 10 and hosts events like “A Day in the Life of a Farmer” and a “Pilgrim History” tour.

The Pilgrim history experience is especially enlightening for kids, says manager and program director for educational programs Cheryl Nodar.

“All my guides are in costume, and there are four workshops kids circulate through to learn, from a child’s perspective, what the home life was like and how easy they have it now compared to back then,” she says. The day includes a look at how both pilgrims and Native Americans lived — great conversation fodder for Thanksgiving dinner — and includes a hayride across the farm and through a stream.

Sharp’s at Waterford Farm, 4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville. Open weekends through Nov. 5; tours through Nov. 10. $8 per child; adults are free. 410-489-2572. sharpfarm.com

Get cooking

As a personal chef, one of Chef April Lee’s jobs is to travel around Howard County, teaching cooking classes right in people’s home kitchens.

Hiring someone to teach a class in your own kitchen is a great option for families, she says, because it allows the chef to tailor the lesson to the different levels of experience within the family and helps the family learn recipes that they can make in their own kitchens.

“When I teach people in their homes, they’re the ones who do the hands-on work, using whatever equipment they have,” she says. “During the lesson, I will make recommendations on how they can best use what they already own.”

When contacting a chef to teach an in-home class, chef Lee suggests sharing as much information as possible about the family’s ages, level of experience and what they’d like to get out of the lesson. She recommends interviewing a few different chefs to find the right fit.

“Cooking as a family is a very rewarding experience,” she says. “It gives everyone a sense of confidence in the kitchen and a chance to do something creative together.”

American Personal and Private Chef Association. personalchef.com

Tastefully Yours Professional Chef Services by Chef April Lee. In-home class pricing varies. 240-394-0407. chefapril.com

Eat out — for free

Frequent family dinners are scientifically linked to everything from higher life satisfaction to better grades. There’s no question that dining together, as a family, is a good thing.

For busy families, going out to eat is an ideal way to enjoy quality family time around the table without spending hours in the grocery store and kitchen.

Dining out can be costly, but restaurants all over Howard County offer kids-eat-free specials, making dinner out a more affordable adventure. (Typically, families much purchase one adult meal for each free kid’s meal.)

Local restaurants with special kids’ meal deals include Rams Head, Second Chance Saloon, Stella Notte, Tino’s Italian Bistro and White Oak Tavern. Specials change frequently, so check with the restaurant prior to your visit.

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