Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Involving your Kids in the Kitchen

There was an interesting article today in the Deseret News about cooking with children. The article highlighted a new business that teaches cooking classes to young children, “although parents can always pull out some kid-friendly recipes and hold their own class at home.”

Of course we can.

That’s right. With summer nearing and many a mother wondering how in the world she is going to entertain her kids this summer, let your children help you in the kitchen. Cheap entertainment, and after your grocery shopping is done (which you have to do anyway), no gas money or registration fees required.

I don’t believe you have to enroll your kids in all sorts of classes and activities and lessons to give them exposure and experience. I think a simple trip to the grocery store can teach them a lot if you take advantage of the opportunity. Same thing goes for your kitchen. There are so many things you could teach them, and they are so useful! And fun! And cool! And scientific! The next generation will thank you. Your daughters will feel competent in the kitchen cooking for their families, and honestly, your future daughters-in-law will love that their husbands know how to cook. (If you want to learn more about the science of cooking, check out Alton Brown and his show Good Eats on The Food Network. That is a cool show. One of the few shows I miss from the days of cable TV.)

The cooking class referenced in the article says that “interestingly enough, class registration for boys outnumbers the girls 5-1.” We could go off here about your sons not living off of Hot Pockets when they leave home for college, or being able to cook for themselves when they go on missions.

I’m going to quote from the article to tout some of the benefits of cooking with your children, and also to give you some ideas of where to start.

“During the summer months, parents can harness some of their kids' free time by helping them improve their cooking skills. It's entertaining, and the results are usually a tasty bonus. There's also a future pay-off when kids can begin fixing dinner or whipping up a family treat on their own.

"The fun thing is the parents who are calling and saying their kids made Sunday dinner, or that Joey's eating lettuce for the first time," Beutler said. "If they make the sauces themselves, they're more interested in eating it."

[Note: Who doesn’t want more help in the kitchen, and who is having a hard time getting their kids to eat certain food? Maybe this could help you out.]

"I saw a Young Chefs Academy in Oregon and fell in love with it," Dismuke said. "I adore kids and I love cooking. You're teaching this lifelong skill. I think it's so important to know the basics."

“Parents who want to spend quality time with their kids this summer should head to the kitchen, said Lacey Lee, who is teaching a four-week series of children's classes at Ace Hardware in North Salt Lake. Cooking helps stimulate creativity and is a confidence-booster, she said.

"I come from a very athletic, competitive family, and I found that cooking is the one thing you don't have to compete in," Lee said. "You can create something on your own and feel that you've accomplished something. You don't have to worry about winning or losing or being chosen last on the team. And I believe that everyone has the ability to learn something in the kitchen."

"She added that growing up, she was allowed one hour of TV-watching per day. "My mom felt it was very important to foster our imagination and creativity," she said. "So instead of watching TV, we learned a lot of things like cooking and sewing and how to change a tire."

"Cooking is also a bonding experience, she said. "I have 19 nieces and nephews, and I was a nanny for two years, and I've never had a kid who doesn't want to help me in the kitchen."

"The first class in Lee's four-week series discusses kitchen equipment and safety, with recipes for simple snacks.

Later, “the budding cooks practiced skills, such as measuring flour and cracking an egg without getting bits of shell into the bowl.

"I want to start out introducing them to the kitchen, because I know some kids who have never touched a spatula or know what it's used for," she said. Through the weeks the kids progress to breads, cakes and entrees such as lasagna.

"As the weeks go on, they will certainly learn enough to be able to help Mom with dinner. A 7- or 8-year-old would just need to have their parents take it out of the oven."


1 comment:

AmyR said...

We do think alike, and, we read the same article. Anyway, I completely agree that you can do this for free. I need to be better about teaching my boys though. Erica is such an eager learner, I forget my boys need to learn to.