In the age of fast food, food delivery apps and meals that come out of a packet, it seems like the culinary arts are being lost by the younger generations. Modern life is certainly hectic, and the convenience that comes with each new fad is a positive. However, I simply cannot imagine life without the exquisite joy of preparing a delightful meal with care and finesse. Most importantly, this is something that I am determined to pass on to my children. I have given a great deal of thought to how I can get my kids involved in the cooking process, so here are a few secrets that you can consider for yours:
Playing with Toys
My kids are fascinated with every utensil and gadget in my kitchen. Understanding which cookware to utilise for which foods, the purposes for different knives and how to use each electrical appliance keeps them enthralled for hours and piques their interest so that they want to put them to practical use. Even if the primary purpose is how to manipulate the hand blender, they are subconsciously learning how to apply those skills to different food preparation processes.
All kids love to make a mess, especially if that mess is all over themselves. Encouraging kids to touch, feel and smoosh food is fun and educational. Yes, it makes an almighty mess, but it is an amazing way to introduce them the to the textures and consistencies of the ingredients we use, and make such a difference to our enjoyment of food. Cooking can be a wonderfully tactile experience, and understanding how the different textures behave and interact with each other is a major part of developing strong culinary instincts.
Go Ahead, Bake My Day
As any experienced cook will know, cooking and baking are two completely different animals. If cooking is an art, then baking is a science. A deliciously creative one, no doubt, but a science nonetheless. Aside from the obvious attraction of sugar, children adore the hands-on work that comes with preparing baked goods. More importantly, as they gain baking experience, they will come to understand the delicate relationships between heat, fermentation, leavening, emulsification and other chemical processes involved. Don’t forget to let them lick the bowl.
Creative Juices Flowing
Letting kids lead the cooking is a fabulous idea. Giving the little ones the opportunity to choose ingredients and decide how to use them will empower and educate them at the same time. You will be amazed at the bold, creative ideas that young minds will come up with. Sure, there will be a few disasters along the way. However, as in life, often we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Your job as a parent and teacher is to guide your charges. Sometimes the best way to do that is to give them the room to chart their own path under a watchful gaze.
Origin of Species
Few things will have as palpable an impact on your kids as understanding where their food comes from. I still vividly remember the experiences of mushroom and cherry picking or fishing with my parents, then going home and cooking those foods the same night. Making the connection between the fish in the pond, the mushroom on the ground or the fruit on the tree brings a whole new level of respect and love for the food they cook and eat.
A true love of food is one of the great gifts that you can give your children. I hope that these tips will help you to share your passion with them.
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