Posted by: Rachael | April 3, 2008

Kids Can Cook

Our children do a LOT of the cooking. Although it would often be quicker and more precise to do it myself, I let them work alongside me so that they can learn. When they are teeny tiny (as in before two years of age) they chop mushrooms with a bread-n-butter knife and shred lettuce and toss salads and help with measuring, pouring, mixing, kneading, spreading, rolling. As they become proficient at these things their repertoire expands to include using the pasta maker, electric frypan, can opener, grater, potato peeler, sharp knives. They learn to grind wheat and bake bread, flake oats and make porridge, shell peas and cook them.
As of right now the first two kids (aged 13 and 11) are totally capable in the kitchen and although they have not had to, I would be confident that they COULD run the kitchen if they needed to (and by that I mean cooking from scratch for a dozen people). The next child (aged 10) has never really been all that keen on cooking, but he has started pitching in and would not starve if left alone for a week or two with only basic ingredients. The nine-year-old has loved the kitchen since before she could eat. She’s the one who has always worked out what ingredients are in a particular dish just because she wanted to know. She has visions of making desserts for her big brother’s curry cafe one day. And she just might do that.
The seven-year-old has just begun his own recipe book. Somehow along the way he got neglected. When the older kids were six and seven they could make spaghetti sauce, fish mornay, sausage stew and pizza….this wee seven year old has only just learnt to make chocolate icing! But he does want to learn how to cook rice, so he may be saved from tooth decay yet.
Perhaps this not-keeping-up-with-who-is-learning-what was part of the inspiration for me to write a Cooking Class for the Kids. Actually, I didn’t write it on my own – everyone pitched in with their ideas about what are The Essentials We Make All The Time. And it’s not really a class….it’s just a list. Each child will be given that list when they learn to read and it will be up to them to choose what they would like to learn from it. We will continue with our current practice of every time they make a new recipe they write in their recipe book. If you would like to see the list, you’ll need to click these words.

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