Cooking With Kids II or III

I love to cook. I don’t write about cooking as much as everything else, because I do not do a lot of original cooking and little bit of original cooking I have done I have already written about. What I do enjoy writing about, teaching the kids how to cook. I firmly believe that all adults should know how to cook. Not cook like they do on the Food Network shows, but how to cook some basic, easy to do and modify. Meals that do not take a lot of time. I would love to see the death of boxed-prepackaged foods and that can only happen if everyone makes an effort to learn how to cook, but that is another post.

Something that makes me happy is teaching the kids how to cook and how to behave in a kitchen. They are always asking me what I am cooking or what I am doing in the kitchen. Once the chore chart was put to use, the children really wanted to help to earn allowance money. Unfortunately, the are children and the kitchen is not a place for them to play. Which is why I had to start teaching them some kitchen basics…except, that at times I am more Gordon Ramsey than I am Nate the parent.

The first few teaching moments were more like little snapshots from Kitchen Nightmares with me yelling…not my best moments, but in my defense they were playing around and a kitchen is no place to play when you don’t know ho many ways there are to get hurt. Back to square one which started with kitchen safety:

  • Knives are sharp, here is how to hold one for right and left handed children (we have one of each). Let me tell you the left handed was a lesson or two for me.
  • Knives can cut many different ways, here are a few basic cuts. Tip on cutting board and rock the blade.
  • Fire is hot. This has covered way more than turning on the fire for the stovetop. Heat from pans, pots, steam, and so on. I haven’t thought about how many ways there are to get burned in a kitchen until I have had to explain them to the kids.
  • Do not stick your fingers in uncooked food and lick them.
  • Clean everything…then when they turn around, I clean it again.
  • Stiring is more than pushing the food from one side of the pot or pan to another. This has been one of the more interesting lessons. The children either stir to slow or stir to fast. To slow and food starts to stick or burn. To fast and food gets flung out of the pan and I have to clean it up later.
  • Dancing is not allowed in the kitchen.
  • Hold onto the handle of a pot or pan to keep control of the pot or pan. I cannot tell you how many times I have ahd to tell a child to hold onto the handle. A pot the slips is a pot that splls food, but more importantly could be a pot that causes burns.
  • Taste the food.

Those are just the lessons I can think of right now as I sit down to type after cooking dinner with two of them. A great thing about the children cooking is the pride that they take at the dinner table.

“I cooked this.”

“I made that.”

Even if all they did was push food I preped around a pot they did it and they are proud that they did it. Even better they eat the food that they cooked without any complaints. Tonight was moo goo gai pan. The kids typically are resistant to eating Chinese food even though they have eaten Chinese food for years now. Seeing the various vegeatables normally would have gotten me a chorous of “I don’t want that” or “I’m not gonna eat that.” Because I got them to help in making the dinner I got to hear,

“This is great.”

“I love these things,” pointing at water chestnuts.

There has even been talk of more cooking.

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