Cooking with kids needs a little...

Posted by Robin Abel on

When my girls were little, we pushed stools over to the kitchen island so they could help make cookies. We'd get out plastic bowls and put a bit of each ingredient into their bowls so they could see texture and taste differences in the ingredients.  This really took a lot of patience and became impossible when #3 came along but I thought it was important.  Now that the kids are becoming teenagers, I can see how critical those early years were and how important it is to Cook with your Kids!
Cooking with kids needs a little... Patience - While it take longer to make the cookies with kids, they love it.  The goal for me was not to make the fastest cookies but for them to have the experience and be part of the process.  My expectation was not to have helpers but to share knowledge.
Cooking with kids needs a little... Appropriate Expectations -
As the kids grew, they could do more in the kitchen.  It's always fun to watch them take ownership of food they create.  But I have to realize that they won't cut things up the same way I do, nor will it happen very quickly.  
Cooking with kids needs a little.. Clean Up - Food + Kids = a huge mess!  While it's hard to face another mess created by the little angels, it is so important to let them learn and clean and see what it takes to get things done.
Cooking with kids needs a Long Term Goal - The other day, one of my girls found a recipe she wanted to make for dinner.  We got all the ingredients and while I was at the store, she made the entire thing.  She was 11 year old!  I came home to a fully cooked dinner by an 11 year old.  Did I mention she was only 11!!!?  All those years of baby steps and patience and allowing them to be messy created a person who wasn't afraid to use a new appliance or make something she'd never made before.
We're having our first of hopefully many Kids Can Cook events at Penn Pantry this Saturday, August 26.  Feeling comfortable with food at any age is so important to what Penn Pantry is all about.  
Yes, it's going to me messy.  
No, it's going to not be perfect.  
But these kids will get to make their own pizza.
They will feel empowered and hopefully one step closer to being able to make tasty, healthy meals in their own house.
Whatever your stage in life is, cooking with kids is so important and a wonderful gift.  Whether you are working with neighbor kids, your grandchildren, or your own little darlings, spending time in the kitchen is a vital part of kids learning.  

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