Back-to-School and Into the Kitchen with Your Kids
I enjoy the concept of writing these posts in a series. Doing so provides continuity in thought and logical progression of ideas instead of throwing out random tips and ideas, hoping a few stick to the walls of our memory. Since kids are in that “back-to-school” mode and we must return to our “normal” busy schedules, it is appropriate to think of this time as a new beginning for not only our kids as they start back to school, but also a time for parents to open an “opportunity door” for your kids that will bless them for the rest of their lives. What am I referring to? I am referring to getting your kids actively involved in regular family meal preparation. Teaching them to cook and contribute to the family’s well-being does so many positive things our children in their development. In the next few weeks, this will be the focus of my Tuesday Tasty Tips.
For those of you following me on Facebook or reading my posts, you know I teach a Kids’ Kulinary Boot Kamp. While the title of the course does not encourage excellent spelling, the course does encourage, enable and allow children to stretch, exercise their brain and learn new things in a safe and fun environment. My kids routinely amaze me how much they absorb and retain when “getting their hands dirty” in my kitchen. My kitchen is their playground and laboratory. While the kids are excited to cook, often my greatest and most excited fans are their parents.
As a parent of three adult children, teaching my kids to cook is one of the smartest investments in time and energy their mother and I made. Today, when my children come to our home, it is a celebration life and cooking together. The boys always ask “how” and “why” questions when they see me cook. My two sons serve as my Sous and Tournant chefs in my larger cooking engagements (dinner parties, small weddings, outdoor pool parties, etc). Either of them can readily assist me when I need help due to the size of our larger engagements or when I have an excessively busy schedule. However, this is nothing new. Because they started at an early age, they have become self-sufficient individuals not only in the kitchen, but in life in general. I strongly believe the confidence they built in their cooking experiences taught them many life lessons, and helped provide a foundation from which many great things and grow or develop.
I (proudly) recall one weekday evening I was working late and couldn’t get home by dinner time to prepare dinner for my oldest son and me. So I called home and told son, David, I was going to be late and I would pick up a pizza on the way home, or we would go out for wings. However, when I got home, David had prepared an entire dinner complete with salad, sides and entrées for the two of us, from scratch! David was 13 years old at the time. While I don’t remember the food, I do remember the look of pride and satisfaction he had on his face as I walked through our apartment door! This was one of those moments in a parent’s life when your child lets you know you got it right (at least in one area of parenting).
A few weeks ago I received a wonderful note of thanks in the mail from one of the parents of my students. She was delighted and amazed in her daughter’s spicy meatloaf dinner with side dishes and dessert, all from scratch (using no seasoning mixes, and wielding a very sharp 8” chef’s knife). Amanda is only 11 years old and already demonstrating her independence and capability!
These are only two examples of our children rising to the occasion where they blessed their families.
In the next few weeks I will write about:
Benefits Of Teaching Your Children To Cook
Kitchen Safety – Protecting Your Greatest Asset, Your Kids
Setting Them Up For Success – Tools and Techniques, Building Blocks for Success
Age Appropriate Tasks – Know How to Lead and Not Push
Helping Your Child Become A “Committee Of One” – Eating Healthy in a Junk-food World
Kid’s Cookbooks – What To Look For And What To Avoid
Kid Friendly Dishes That Adults Will Enjoy – No “Kiddy” Desserts Here
The Math and Science of Cooking and Eating – Developing Shopping, Menu Design, and Planning Skills
Until next time, think about getting the entire family in the kitchen and more importantly, around the dinner table, with no cell phones, no distractions and no texting. Rediscover the lost art of conversation, if that is not part of your family routine.
Chef David Hall