I don’t like cooking with my kids. Bam! I’ve said it and now it’s out there for all to know.
My kids are little, 6 & 4 years old and 21 months so there’s the obvious – it’s really messy. But there’s other things like certain ingredients go “missing” (my son can eat a whole capsicum that was meant to go in the salad before dinner); if they get hold of the sea salt they will eat it by the handful; with 3 of them there can be fights over who is standing where along the kitchen bench and if I’m not careful additional things are added, like a spoon in the blender. Note to all: Blenders don’t like having spoons in them.
Yet I cook with my kids every day. Why would I want to add an additional 10 minutes cleaning time to an already busy day doing something that can often frustrate me?? Because it is the right thing to do.
As parents it’s our responsibility to teach kids about food and how to prepare it. And the best way to teach is by doing. By being in the kitchen kids can get involved in preparing a salad, stirring a mixing bowl, kneading a dough or even seeing meat before it is cooked. We can talk about food, where it comes from and they can ask questions (and what kid doesn’t like to ask questions!)
Last week my 4 year old asked for a capsicum to chew on. Upon hearing this my 21 month old went and got him one. Then it hit me, at 21 months old she already understands what a capsicum is (she also helped herself to a cucumber at the same time). And that’s when you realise the mess and hassle is worth it.
Food education starts young, if I can capture their hearts and minds now I’m hopefully setting them up for a lifetime love of good, nourishing food. Pretty soon they won’t want to be in the kitchen with me so I need to seize the moment and teach them whilst they are engaged.
So I’ll continue to get in the kitchen with the kids and try to enjoy it… or at least grin and bare it til they’re old enough not to add spoons to the blender.