Back in 2011 I recruited a team of “Tiny Taste Testers” of all ages to help me develop recipes for the earliest version of this website. I would make recipes in my own kitchen and then this group of tasters made up of neighbors, friends and patients (and their parents) would give me feedback on what they liked about the recipes and how they would improve them. Since opening our teaching kitchen we have continued the tradition of inviting taste testers to try our recipes and rate them with comments. Twice a month in the Doctor Yum Project Kitchen we host “Kitchen Hours in our teaching kitchen and work on recipes that guests can try. We then make many of these recipes in our cooking camps for our cooking students to give us even more feedback. All the ratings and feedback can be found at the bottom of our recipes. As a starting point for giving us feedback we use the “Yum Scale” (basically a 1-5 system) to determine how much tasters like or dislike the food. This scale is similar to the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale used in medicine to determine pain severity in children.

Using the faces, the Yum Scale can be used for Taste Testers who are too young to read. Since the time of the first taste testers, I have given this laminated score card to all of my patents at their well visit when they turn four. For years now parents have told me how transformative this tool has been in helping to get their kids to try new foods.

Print out the “Yum Scale” below to use at home. We suggest you print and laminate for a longer use. Laminating will allow you to use dry erase markers to mark a score and then wipe and use again. If a food has an average scale that is less than “OK” then I rework the recipe until the score improves. Although changing a recipe to suit your tasters need is a good idea don’t be afraid to serve a “Yuck” recipe several times. You might be surprised at how tastes evolve. Remember, parents, that in order for your cooking to get “Yums” you need to get a bunch of “Yucks” along the way.