Why I Am Teaching My Kids To Cook

| April 14, 2011 | 18 Comments

_MG_5653

Paige and I made this today, talking about the simple ingredients that combine to make a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a basic thing, but one of those things that everyone should be able to make. Even my 3-year-old … in theory (no, she isn’t allowed to use the stove – she’s just 3!). It wasn’t a special occasion … just something that we do.

The other day, a friend sent me a note saying that someday my kids will impress their friends with their extensive kitchen knowledge. She’d read a recent blog post and seen pictures of Paige cooking.

It really warmed my heart, especially since I hope that the lessons I teach them do stay with them forever. And I hope that someday they will come home craving something special that I make. What better compliment is there than to have someone yearn for something that you make?

But more importantly, I want my kids to know how to feed themselves … without ordering in. Cooking is one of those essential skills that everyone should have — though not everyone does. By inviting my kids into the kitchen and talking them through what I am doing (and also letting them do some cooking too), they are getting an early introduction to how food is made. And someday, when they are older and head off to college, they’ll have this to take with them.

_MG_5655

It’s not about making complicated dishes, though they’ve helped me with their share of those. It’s about having the basics – knife skills, food prep skills and basic cooking skills.

With this knowledge, they will be able to make so many things. They won’t go hungry because of not knowing how to make pasta or whip up a stir-fry. They will be able to cook.

_MG_5643

Do you cook with your kids (or grandkids or nieces and nephews?

Category: Cooking with Kids, Raising Healthy Kids

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer who loves to create delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together. Her work has appeared in countless publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Maine with her two food-loving kids.

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joanne says:

    I definitely love the idea that i’ll be able to instill in my future children a love of food and cooking. Kids definitely learn by example and you are setting a great one!

  2. The Teacher Cooks says:

    What you are doing is great! As a teacher of teens I see the importance of this everyday.

  3. I love this!! I totally agree with you! I love having my girls in the kitchen!

  4. Kate says:

    I think it also probably helps them be more open to trying different types of foods if they help make it.

  5. Chris says:

    “It’s not about making complicated dishes; It’s about having the basics – knife skills, food prep skills and basic cooking skills.” So true! I love what you’re doing and wish more parents, regardless of busy schedules, took the time. :)

  6. I cook with my kids starting when they are old enough to stand on a step stool in the kitchen (about 16 months old)! My oldest are almost 12 (twins), and they bake and cook completely independently. I think it’s a result of all the time they’ve spent in the kitchen over the years. It’s a life skill and also a fantastic way to bond with kids. Plus, I love cooking and want to impart that same love to my kids. Great topic! Thanks.

  7. My only daughter is 2 1/2, but she loves to help me in the kitchen! Someday I’ll teach her the essentials. :-)

  8. Fortycloves says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s part of making them independent and it teaches them to be healthy, to know what they are putting in their bodies. Besides, it is a really special bonding activity.

  9. Amanda says:

    Made blueberry muffins with my 2 and a half yr old just this morning… and I have fond memories from when I was a kid of waking my mom up early to bake blueberry muffins with me before school.

    Even if at this point she makes more mess than she does clean, it’s still really fun. And I like that she’ll be able to fend for herself at a young age, too…

  10. Liza says:

    I totally agree! My mom had my sister and I helping her from when we were very young, with independent responsibility for at least some meals by the time we were teenagers. By contrast, my wife’s mother was more of a “this is my domain, please stay out of my hair” cook. As a result, my wife lived on tuna salad, pasta, and sandwiches until we were married. She has cooked me exactly one dinner in the 9.5 years we’ve been together.

  11. BNE says:

    What a great way to start teaching your children to enjoy cooking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *