Parent with me and Speak Out about Involved Parenting
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Teach Your Kids to Cook. Who Taught you?
Teaching your kids
to cook is like teaching them to drive, only harder. There's no imaginary
brake, for one thing, and you'll go through more eggs. When I read
through Cheryl Sternman Rule’s article today, I questioned who taught me how to
cook, and how this was taught.
Cheryl states that as parents, many of us take
great pleasure in feeding our children -- in watching them enjoy the fruits of
our labour and nourishing their bodies with rib-sticking fare. But at some
point, as our kids get older and more responsible, we need to provide them with
the knowledge and tools to begin feeding themselves.
She even gives the following five simple tips
to get you started.
1. Keep the mood light.
Kitchens brim with potentially dangerous
equipment. From hot stoves to sharp knives, there's plenty around to make you
nervous -- but steel yourself. Kids can read anxiety, and if you're not
relaxed, they won't be either. Supervise them closely and be aware of hazards,
but proceed anyway, with an upbeat voice and smiling eyes.
2. Strike a deal.
Kids take to new learning opportunities best
when they have a stake in the outcome, so make them part of the process. If
they want to make cookies, let them. But the next lesson is yours to choose.
Alternate between treats and more healthful, everyday fare, from cookies and
pies to salads and smoothies.
3. Don't neglect terminology.
Kids are blank slates, and words like fold,
sear, and sauté are meaningless until properly defined. You can use easier
words if you like, but why bother? Mastering a new lexicon is part of
skill-building; plus, kids are sponges when it comes to language acquisition.
Soon they'll be bandying about new words like natives. ("Mom, can I go
sauté up and down on your bed?")
4. Dig deeper.
Teaching kids to cook also presents
opportunities to talk about culture, family history, nutrition, food politics,
and hunger. Depending on your child's age, consider sprinkling your lessons
with gentle forays into these deeper waters, avoiding heavy-handed moralizing
but introducing your kids to some of the broader issues surrounding food.
You're not just educating a future cook; you're influencing a lifelong eater.
5. Keep your eye on the prize.
According to Cheryl, parents’ ultimate goal
should not the creation of restaurant-quality dishes, but boosting their
child's self-esteem and encouraging their burgeoning independence. If, at the
end of your lessons, you've got a happy kid who's excited to spend time in the
kitchen, you've done your job, and done it well.
Cheryl Sternman Rule is a food writer in San
Jose, California. Her first cookbook,Ripe, was published by Running
Press is 2012. She is currently teaching her sons to cook.