Kathy Strahs is the author of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook:
Lemonade stands . . . kids have been running them for decades, whether to raise money for a new bike, for a charitable cause, or simply to conquer boredom. Inspired by dozens of kid experts from all over the country, author Kathy Strahs pours her expertise as a food writer, entrepreneur and mother of two school-aged children into the ultimate guide to setting up your own lemonade stand. Step-by-step illustrations and full-color photographs of each recipe and craft make each page easy and fun to dive into. Find delicious drinks, such as Classic Lemonade and Cold-Brew Iced Tea, sweet treats such as Polka Dot Blondies and Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops, grab-and-go snacks such as Owen’s Cheddar Chompers and Sunflower Crunch Balls, and creative crafts such as Hayley’s Flower Pencils and Friendship Bracelets. Tips for setting up a successful stand, packaging ideas, cooking technique tutorials, and real-life “stand stories” from kids themselves are sure to inspire kids everywhere to “give life a squeeze.”
Read on for an exclusive interview with Kathy.
S.R.: What inspired you to write The Lemonade Stand Cookbook?
K.S.: I was inspired by observing how much fun (and learning) my two kids–ages 7 and 9–experienced at their lemonade stands with friends from our cul-de-sac. It was more than just kids selling lemonade. They were collaborating, strategizing, preparing drinks and food, shouting to attract customers. Most importantly, they were having a blast. As a cookbook author, a parent, and an entrepreneur I wanted to help kids everywhere have experiences like this.
S.R.: You were inspired by dozens of kid entrepreneurs from all over the country. How did you find them and learn about what they were doing?
K.S.: I found two of them right in my house! Beyond my own kids, who are 7 and 9, I reached out to other parents I knew, friends of friends, social media followers, etc. When I first put the word out that I was looking for kids to test the recipes for The Lemonade Stand Cookbook I ended up getting such a strong response that I ended up closing the signups after just a few hours. I asked them a few open-ended questions about their lemonade stand experiences, and some really interesting stories came out.
S.R.: How did you come up with all the recipes and crafts?
K.S.: I always start with brainstorming all of the concepts that I think will fit my topic. So this time around I considered the kinds of drinks, sweets, snacks, and crafts that would be great to have at a lemonade stand. From there I worked on each recipe and activity, aiming for a highly appealing result that a child as young as 6 could achieve with a little help from an adult. As I mentioned earlier, I had a testing pool of about 40 families who then tried out each recipe and craft in their own homes and provided valuable feedback, which I incorporated into the book.
S.R.: There’s some really fun sounding recipes, such as for Polka Dot Blondies and Owen’s Cheddar Chompers. Can you share what kinds of drinks and snacks those are?
K.S.: The Polka Dot Blondies are good old-fashioned vanilla blondie bars studded with candy-coated chocolate pieces (a.k.a., M&Ms). They’re fun and festive and come together in a single saucepan in minutes. Owen’s Cheddar Chompers were named by one of my testers, 7-year old Owen. I was originally going to call them “Easy Cheddar Snack Crackers,” but after making the recipe himself, he felt “chompers” would be more appropriate. I love it when kids come up with better ideas than I ever could have come up with.
S.R.: Have you tried out all the crafts and recipes?
K.S.: Absolutely–many times! That’s what I do, as a cookbook author. I wrote all of the recipes and crafts and tried them out multiple times to make sure they worked the way I wanted them to. Then I had dozens of kids give them a try to ensure they were easy and appealing to make.
S.R.: Which recipe is your favorite (and why)?
K.S.: Chocolate chip cookies are among my favorite foods in general, and I’ve got a great recipe for them in the book, so that would have to be my favorite.
S.R.: What do you hope readers take away from your book?
K.S.: I hope they’re inspired to get creative and set up a lemonade stand. I hope they get excited about cooking and baking and experience the satisfaction of seeing others enjoy the drinks and food they’ve prepared. I hope to empower kids to achieve their goals, whether it’s to earn money to pay for a bike or camp or to raise funds to help others. There’s so much that kids can gain from sitting outside and having a good old-fashioned lemonade stand.
Kathy Strahs is the award-winning author of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook, The 8×8 Cookbook, and The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, and the voice behind blogs PaniniHappy.com, CookingOntheSide.com, and SunnyDaysGoodFood.com.
A former marketer with an MBA from Stanford, Kathy founded Burnt Cheese Press, a food-focused independent publishing company, in 2015. Its first release, The 8×8 Cookbook, received the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Gold Award for Best First Book-Nonfiction.Kathy has spoken at many BlogHer Food and TechMunch conferences, and has judged numerous cooking competitions. She lives with her husband and two children in the Silicon Valley.