Independence does not only mean ‘free’, it also means ‘self-reliant’. Cooking helped me feel independent. Son, I hope you too feel the same. You should learn this powerful art too; your gender should not come between you and learning. In this era, when role demarcations are withering and each one of us has a race to run, you should not always count on someone for bread. I want you to learn this vital skill and prepare you for life when you will not be under my roof.
I have a plan, son.
LEVELS OF COOKING WITH KIDS
BEGINNER: 2-3 years
1. I will make you sit nearby to observe while I am cooking.
2. I will allow you to watch, smell, touch and taste.
3. I will introduce the concept of heat and danger in the kitchen.
4. I will introduce the concept of cleanliness and hygiene in food preparation by asking you to wash the raw vegetables, fruits and salads.
SECOND LEVEL: 4-5 years
1. I will give you the liberty to choose your tiffin items.
2. I will guide you to clean your kitchen set when you’re done with cooking. (Virtual of course)
3. I will introduce you to stirring and mashing.
THIRD LEVEL: 6-7 years
1. I will make you grate vegetables.
2. I will allow you to peel raw potatoes with a peeler
3. I will hand over deseeded fruits to you to scoop them.
4. I will ask you to measure out real ingredients for me.
FOURTH LEVEL: 8-9 years
1. I will start with asking you to decorate dishes.
2. I will make you assist me during baking, measuring and weighing.
3. I will ask you to read the recipe for me while I cook.
4. I will hand over the batter to you for scooping it into the mould.
5. I will pass the dough to you to roll the chapattis.
6. I will give you the toppings to make sandwiches.
FIFTH LEVEL: 10-12 years
1. I will teach you basic knife skills
2. I will ask you to flip chapattis
3. I will take you along for grocery shopping –
4. Make a list
5. Make a budget
6. Look for deals
7. Search for counters
8. Collect things on the list in the cart
9. Tally the prices once back at home
Learning will never stop, not even for me. However, these activities will create a foundation to begin the learning curve in the kitchen. I want him to be competent in the kitchen because knowing how to cook leads to healthier meals and lower food budgets. Call me selfish but I want him to be able to put together a meal if I am running late in the future as I’m working full-time.
Cooking with Kids has innumerable benefits:
1. You will raise a happy teenager to help you in the kitchen.
2. They will always enjoy the dish they prepare. A boon for picky eaters.
3. Cooking with kids is a great opportunity to talk about life.
4. It encourages healthy food choices
5. It builds confidence and creativity
6. It enhancing communication and deepens connections with your child.
Some Dos and Don’ts before you begin the Journey:
1. Be patient and let them learn their way.
2. Spare the weekends for learning rather than busy weekday mornings.
3. Be prepared for spills and a general mess.
4. Give positive and encouraging responses.
1. Do not talk down to your kids when they are doing it wrong.
2. Do not criticize them.
3. Do not groan every time your child spills something; let them go in their flow without worrying about making a mess along the way.
Note: The items listed vary based on the child’s interest, cultures and family. You may choose to use some of these activities in the kitchen if you think they are appropriate for your individual child and family. Close supervision is always advised when cooking with children.
Upasna is a working Mother who strive to spend as much time as she could with her toddler. A music lover who loves to share her experiences and beliefs which boosted her to start a blog. She is living her dream to settle down in the same city in which she was born and loves to greet people with handmade Greeting Cards. Upasna blogs at Life Through my Bioscope.