I didn’t learn how to cook until I was married, and, if truth be told, I feel like I’m still learning. If you are still learning how to cook, the exciting part is that now you can learn to cook with your kids!
I didn’t grow up in the kitchen.
I don’t fault her for not teaching me how to cook; I was lazy, clumsy, and I always had my nose stuck in a book.
Simply put, I was domestically challenged. (I am the humbleD homemaker, after all!)
The few times my sister and I did try our hands at “cooking” (a.k.a. making jello), we left the kitchen in such disarray for my poor mom to clean on her own that she said enough was enough.
Over the past decade, I’ve learned how to cook slowly, deliberately, following recipes word-for-word, failing more than succeeding in the early years.
Although most dishes turn out wonderfully now, I would still consider myself more of a novice than a seasoned cook. Yes, I make our meals from scratch, and I can convert recipes to match our gluten-free lifestyle, but more times than not, I still follow recipes meticulously.
And I’m OK with that.
However, I’ve decided that while I continue to teach myself how to cook, I want to bring my girls alongside of me, so we can learn how to cook together.
Thankfully, they’ve been eager to learn, and I love that I can teach them vocabulary and all kinds of life lessons while we are in the kitchen together.
Here are 4 ways you can learn how to cook with your kids:
1. Invite them into the kitchen with you.
During the toddler years, most children will be naturally curious about whatever it is that mommy is doing–whether it be baking bread or cleaning the toilets!
My 3-year-old is still in this stage. As soon as she sees me start spreading my cooking supplies on our kitchen island, she pulls a stool over and asks: “Can I help?”
My oldest two–ages 5 and 7 at this writing–are less inclined to “help” me in the kitchen than they used to be. I’ve learned that I can’t wait on them to volunteer anymore; I must invite them in and make it fun.
Letting them stir, sprinkle in spices, and even taste test makes them feel important and like they are truly contributing to making the meals (which they are!).
2. Show and tell.
As a word person, I love teaching my girls new vocabulary. This doesn’t end in the kitchen.
Just last night, as my 3-year-old was helping me make dinner, I taught her the words “mince,” “whisk,” and “shallot.”
I don’t think I knew what a shallot even was until my 30s, but my 3-year-old now knows! While I was mincing the shallot, I asked her to repeat the word “mince,” and I showed her that it meant chopping the vegetable into very small pieces.
When it came time to whisk the dressing for the salad, I pulled out a small whisk and told her that the utensil was called a whisk, and I showed her that turning it around quickly was the act of “whisking” as well.
Sure, these terms might not stick after one time using them in the kitchen, but, hopefully, in time, she will knows these–as well as other kitchen and cooking terminology–well.
3. Pre-Measure Your Ingredients.
Yes, this step takes a little forethought, but I’ve found that when I already have my ingredients pre-measured, it’s much easier to have my kids helping me in the kitchen.
This way, I’m not stopping every few seconds to pull out the measuring spoons and cups and check and re-check my recipes to make sure I’m measuring correctly.
Of course, as my girls get older, teaching them how to measure will be vital.
But, for now, and especially with my 3-year-old, using pre-measured ingredients helps take the stress out of learning how to cook with my children.
4. Make a BIG deal out of their helping.
It’s OK to brag to your husband that your kids helped you cook dinner.
After my 3-year-old helped me cook dinner last night, I made a big deal to our family that Mommy didn’t cook dinner alone but that Little H and Mommy had made dinner together.
This made my little girl feel proud of her hard work, gave her confidence, and I have no doubt it will motivate her to join me in the kitchen again and again.
Did you grow up knowing how to cook? What are some ways you are learning how to cook with your kids?