… from the Arts & Crafts Side of the California Kitchen
How you doin’? My first memorable encounter with “art” was in Mrs. Wilson’s kindergarten class. Yes, I can really remember that far back…can you? Mrs. Wilson sent home a recipe to all the mothers of the class on how to make colorful finger paints out of cornstarch. That was at a time when mothers were required to take part in their children’s educations. A little sarcasm here.
I remember, with pride, the excitement I felt when I arrived at school with my three jars of pastel-ish finger paints. Mrs. Wilson provided the unfinished porous finger paint paper. She also provided a large roll out of paper so that we could all contribute to making a shared diorama-style painting. And then, of course, each and every one of us kids were our own semi-washable canvases! As I recall, it was more fun that a barrel of monkeys. Those were wonderful carefree days.
If you are still confined to your own home school rooms and are looking for a little diversion, whip up some finger paints and create a cleanable area to allow your kid to let out their inner artist.
I provide this recipe so that my nieces and nephews in London can share in a little washable fun. And to their mums and dads, these are great picture moments—get the iPhone ready. So, go at it, Mabel Rita, George, Monty and Teddy. To their parents… just a little light soap takes it off the walls and out of the clothes.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Clean-up time: Anyone’s guess
4 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 packages icing color gels
3 paint stackable containers (found in discount dollar or craft stores—a 3 jars for $2)
1 package finger paint paper
ChefSecret: The finger paints are great for an Easter crafts session. Don’t worry… these finger paints are completely digestible, so if you see a little “blue poo” in a couple of days it’s nothing to get excited about.
Kid’s COVID-19 Quip of the Day: “A little girls asks her mother what she’s doing. Her mother says, I’m making a sign for the front door. The little asks, What does the sign say. Mom replies, Welcome! The little girl replies, “No, no mommy, it should say, Stay Away—We shoot Porch Pirates!”
The Many Uses of Use Cornstarch
Cornstarch is a great ingredient that everyone should have in the house. I use it most often for thickening the sauce of an Asian stir-fry. I also use it to thicken other sauces, soups, stews, custards and more. There are 1001 uses for this pantry staple in the kitchen and beyond.
A lot of people don’t really know what cornstarch is. Not to be confused with corn flour (which is made from whole kernels), cornstarch is made from the endosperm found at the center of the corn kernel. The starches inside the endosperm are removed, rinsed, dried, and milled into a fine powder. This leaves us with cornstarch—a white, chalky powder. It's made up of a long chain of starch molecules that will unravel and swell when heated in the presence of moisture. This swelling, or gelatinization, is what causes thickening.
If you run out of cornstarch, what else can you use and still thicken your sauce and such?
You can substitute cornstarch with:
I hate to have an ingredient on hand that I can only use in one or two recipes. What else can I do with cornstarch, you ask?
Cornstarch goes well beyond the kitchen and dining room table:
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong and positive, stay well and safe and be kind to others. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
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