A few weeks ago I was reading an article about the types of chores Children should be doing according to their age, and I realised just how much I do for them. Which got me thinking, what will happen when they are teenagers and they have no idea how to make their beds? What if they become one of those adults (we all know at least one) who has never done a load of washing and doesn’t even know where to start? Or heaven forbid they don’t know how to cook? So in the middle of my “What If” panic attack I decided to create a timetable for each of them which included making beds, packing school bags, cleaning their rooms and once a week cooking for the family.
Like many parents I have done the “token” cooking lesson of baking cupcakes or bread, but sadly I haven’t taught my Children about cooking REAL food! Stuff that once they move out of home they will have to know how to cook. Don’t get me wrong I love nothing more than spending a Saturday afternoon in the kitchen with the kids baking cupcakes or hand rolling gnocchi, but lets be realistic these aren’t skills that they will use all the time when they are older. I want them to develop skills now while they are young enough to want to learn and lets face it, its at this age they want to hang out with us daggy parents! I’m hoping that by setting up this new family routine now while they are young that when those dreaded teen years come around we will still be able to share that much needed one on one time and possibly even talk about stuff other than food (Ah one can dream!).
This is how it works for us, on the weekend before we go and do our weekly shopping the kids and I sit down and we plan the weeks menu. This is something that I’ve always done by myself, but now I get to share it with them. They tell me what they want to cook and then we put together a recipe for it, it’s very interesting to hear what they think goes into dishes but I turn this into a teaching moment and explain how strawberry jam wouldn’t go well with Pork chops (this was an actual discussion we had). We then head off to the shops, the children armed with their shopping lists and we buy our groceries. We discuss what’s in season and what isn’t, where we can buy the cheaper option and where we should buy the best we can afford. You would be surprised how much easier shopping is now, no longer do I have to listen to “Mum, I’m bored!” Nope that sentence as been replaced with “Mum, which one should we get?”
Then once a week (on separate days) Damian and Anabelle get a one on one cooking lesson from me and we make dinner for the family. It’s been so rewarding for them planning what they want to cook and then cooking it from start to finish without my help, and it’s been even more rewarding for me watching them flourish and be more confident in the kitchen. I’ve decided to share some of their recipes with you in hopes that it will inspire you to get your kids in the kitchen cooking everyday food and not just cookies and cakes which I will admit is all I let my Children do.
You will notice that a lot of the recipes call for dried herbs and spices, thats because I find it much easier for the kids to add a teaspoon of dried herbs then to have to finely chop them. I do then add fresh herbs at the end which are usually torn by their delicate hands. And here is a tip store your dried herbs and spices in the freezer, this keeps them fresh and stops them from losing any flavour.
Join me in opening up a brand new world filled with triumphs, near misses and possible disasters. Lets allow The Kids in The Kitchen!