The Making of Maya’s Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids

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One of our youngest team members here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, Maya Paz (the eldest daughter of co-founders Pilar and Travis) made a vegetarian cookbook for kids as a homeschooling project. Here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, all of us — young and old — are food lovers. Assisted by Sheridan, our in-house Canva whiz, Maya produced her own vegetarian cookbook for kids during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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A homeschooling project

About 9 months ago Pilar, Travis, and Maya took the decision to take an alternative route to formal education and start homeschooling using Oak Meadow, an accredited homeschool curriculum based on rigorous academic standards, integrated with personalized, student-led education that gives Maya a variety of ways to demonstrate her mastery of skills and knowledge. The challenges and rewards of homeschooling are numerous. If you’d like to learn more about our experience, email us at travis or pilar [at] bodhisurfyoga [dot] com.

Maya has always had a passion for food; she is a Salazar. And lucky for her, mama Pilar is a great cook and teacher. Working together over the past few months they started to dive into both simple and complex recipes. Watching Maya learn to read, write, manipulate ingredients, use practical math skills and create tasty and healthy dishes has been one of the most rewarding treats of homeschooling.

Inspiration for and execution of a kid’s cookbook

The inspiration for Maya’s Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids came to Maya shortly after the release of The Bodhi Cookbook in April 2020. As a team, we had such a great time working together to make it, and then watching as it has traveled around the globe. Once Maya’s Vegetarian Cookbook for Kids was completed, we had the idea to share it in a similar way that we had done with The Bodhi Cookbook.

The nitty gritty is that Maya was supposed to create a book of short stories, but she felt compelled to share her experience with cooking instead. It has been so cool to see Maya during this process. She has worked very hard to both create this cookbook and to get it into the hands of kids around the world. In honor of the launch of Maya’s Vegetarian Cookbook (available starting June 19th, 2020), here is an interview with Chef Maya herself!

Maya Paz of Bodhi Surf + Yoga

How old are you?

Nine. Almost ten.

How long have you been cooking for?

Let’s say… two years? I started doing recipes with my mom last year. And this year I’ve been doing most of them alone. Like I can cook eggs and I can use the stove alone sometimes (as long as there is a grownup nearby).

What made you decide to want to create a cookbook?

What made me decide to create a cookbook was I had tons of recipes in this notebook that I had been doing with my mom. So I wanted to put them all in a big book to make a family of recipes.

What is one of your favorite recipes to cook from this cookbook?

My favorite recipes are definitely the peanut butter cookies and the nachos.

Easy vegetarian nacho recipes

Did you invent the recipes or are they ones you’ve learned?

Some were invented, like the banana bread, the peanut butter cookies, and the guacamole. And others were ones that I have learned from the Bodhi Cookbook or the internet, but we changed a few things.

What is the reason for creating and sharing this cookbook?

My dad and I had the idea to share this cookbook. It’s good for other kids to learn to cook so they can cook themselves dinner or if their mom and dad are working and busy. If they have a little sister or brother, they can cook for them so they don’t have to bother their mom and dad.

How did you make the cookbook — what tools did you use, and did anyone help you?

My art teacher, Sheridan, helped me. We used Canva — it’s a sort of app on the computer (you can find it on Google). In Canva, they give you a piece of paper, and options to add photos and use different text. For the photos, we had been taking pictures of most of the recipes. We would download them, put them in a file, and then from the file, we would put them into the cookbook.

Did you enjoy working on this project, or did it feel like homework?

It was SUPER fun. I had so much fun. At the end of one of the classes, we had a dance party to one of my favorite songs — “Party in the U.S.A.”

Vegetarian kids cookbook

Do you cook for your little sister?

One day, my mom and dad were in a big meeting and I cooked all lunch for me and my sister! She has a big appreciation for me when I cook for her.

How does that make you feel when you can help your parents by cooking for your little sister?

I am proud of myself.

Is that something you want to go forward and do — teach her how to cook as well?

Definitely!

What is one thing you want to tell future kid cooks of the world?

Always cook with love.

Just as a reminder: you can also download the first of what may turn out to be a whole series of cookbooks — the one that started us off: The Bodhi Cookbook.

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.