There are several things I would like for my boys to know before they leave the nest and one of them is to be comfortable and capable in the kitchen.
The picture above represents my quaility time at home in the kitchen with my boys. The two on the right, the pasta and the hot dog with fries are meals I cooked with my 8 year old son utilizing his input. In other words he chose what spices and I helped him at the stove with a rubber spatula or rubber coated tongs.
The first dish is a sweet and savory curried pasta dish with golden raisns and slivered almonds. and it was fabulous.
The second dish was what he now has named a What-sa Dog and it was really tangy and spicy and would be an excellent hotdog for any restaurant. It is blended with a series of condiments he chose as well as a few spices.
How to Cook Creatively with Kids
For any dish you give the your child to create only set out spices, ingredients and condiments that will compliment each other.
For example when we made the blueberries and oatmeal, I did not put hot salsa on the table, just the berries, the oatmeal and cinnmaon. ( We went natural!)
For pasta and meats you can be more liberal, but with the curried pasta dish I had to use a guiding hand explaining what pairs will with curry and what does not. . ( for example a pinch of salt, not a quarter cup)
- The key to teaching kids to cook in the kitchen is having fun!
- The rule is no knives until you know they have the fine motor skills and patience to handle a real knife. ( butter knife is fine for most ages), no sharp anything until they can handle the responsibility especially mandolins and food processors and never leave your child alone in the kitchen especially when there is cooking going on and tools on the counters. Be with your child the whole time they are cooking in the kitchen. If you need a break, then you both take a break. They must realize right from the start that a kitchen is a work place and must be treated with respect.
- The guide lines are leave out only ingrediends that work well together until they get the idea and enjoy the moment and take photos. Children love looking at photos of meals they have created and teach them to taste as they go! This is a great tool to develop their palate.
Simple Daily Challenge: Plan a couple of meals with your little ones or if you are an Empty Nester try looking for a new recipe that will excite you once again in the most adventurous room in the house, the kitchen! Well in some cases maybe the second most adventorous room in the house, I am talking about food here folks.