Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Of all the practical home skills to teach children, teaching them to cook is by far my favorite. Before my daughter came along I would borrow my nephew and teach him to bake bread and cookies from scratch. I didn't teach him to make a meal from start to finish but I like to think I had a hand in helping him to become comfortable in the kitchen.
Kids of all ages love, love, to cook and learning to cook. Just look at the overabundance of cooking shows. They tell the story of how popular cooking a good meal is today. It's become a hobby in our home. Watching Masterchef Junior, Gordon Ramsay's 100 Meals, America's Test Kitchen, vintage footage of Julia child and whatever else cuss-free, drama low cooking show we can catch. We have learned so much, as a family, about making sauces, creamy mashed potatoes, seasoning foods, fresh pasta, plating and more. Our daughter loves it and so do we!
So how do you go about teaching young children to cook?
Several years ago I was browsing different blogs and came upon one, of which I have forgotten the name and anything therein, where a little girl the age of six was wielding a big, I mean big, knife and cutting veggies for the family meal. The blog owner had explained how she was teaching her daughter to cook and she was comfortable using a big knife (of course mommy was nearby). My daughter was a bit younger at the time but it did impress upon me to begin the cooking lessons.
I started by ordering some awfully cute Montessori tools for her. One of the main things I bought, which we still use today, was a little cutting knife and a wooden cutting board.
There were some things I was still squeamish about.
- I waited a year before letting her use the knife.
- Raw meat. I just would not let her handle raw meat.
Now this cooking was apart from the regular baking we had been doing since she could stand up in a chair. We had always made cakes, cookies, and breads together. But sauteeing in a pan? Slicing veggies? We hadn't tackled those things yet. But we were about to.
I started by teaching her to mix spices and chicken stock into rice. She seemed to like that and thought it felt like real cooking. So much so that she would stir the uncooked rice concoction for quite a while as I continued to make dinner around her.
Then I thought it was time to teach her to cut some veggies. Fingers down. Tips curled under. Cut away from you.
We made pasta we created soups.
She's 9 now and loves to make our zucchini for dinner. She cuts it up and sautees it in the pan all by herself. There are a few more things she makes and she just generally pitches in when she sees me cooking. She has no set cooking chores but I joke that I want her to be cooking all our meals by the time she is 12.
Am I teaching her to cook? I think so. I did purchaseHome Economics for Home Schoolers-Level 2 (The Quiet Arts Series, Level 2 Ages 8 and up) which we have been going through in a very haphazard way.
I tell you all this to encourage you, if you don't already, to cook with your child in the kitchen. As the quote above hints at cooking is a skill that will serve your child well in the years to come.
There are so many good cookbooks for teaching children to cook that problem is picking just one.
In addition to the following list if you can ever get your hands on a Vintage A Very Young Cook by Jill Krementz. that is an inspiring read with big black and white photos of children of all ages cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
Some Great Cookbooks for Children
Visit Some More Awesome Blogs this April!
Kathy @ Kathys Cluttered Mind ~ Fieldtripping Fun
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road ~ Great Kids Reads
Shalynne @ Wonderfully Chaotic ~ Birth and Babies
Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ Canadian Teachers Pay Teachers Stores
Nikki @ Angels of Heart ~ Easter: The Cross for Preschoolers
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings ~ Family Friendly Finger Food
Lisa @ Golden Grasses ~ The Working Woman’s Guide to Homeschooling