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Why I Am Teaching My Kids To Cook

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.

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.

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

Blueberry Teacake in a Jar
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Blueberry Teacake in a Jar
Sarah Walker Caron of Sarah's Cucina Bella and Bobby Flay of Food Network
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Bobby Flay on Cooking at Home, Sandwiches and More

BNE

Thursday 7th of June 2012

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

Liza

Friday 27th of May 2011

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.

Amanda

Friday 15th of April 2011

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...

Fortycloves

Friday 15th of April 2011

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.

Sarah Caron

Friday 15th of April 2011

That is so true -- the awareness factor is huge.

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

Thursday 14th of April 2011

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

Sarah Caron

Friday 15th of April 2011

Maryea, it's amazing how fast kids become ready to really help in the kitchen. Pretty soon, she'll be ready too!