Thursday, January 14, 2010

ReRun: Teaching Kids To Cook

I shared before how I think that if someone else can do the job, I should pass it on to them. After all, I have more to do each day then I have time for. You can read more about it here if you missed it.

Something I didn’t mention is the constant attempt to remember to use the youngest child able to do the job. If the 7-year-old or the 5-year-old could both do it, I try to train the 5-year-old. This doesn’t always happen, but I try to keep this principle in mind.

Last year I had a really hard pregnancy. I threw up all the time. I couldn’t even grocery shop, not to mention cook all that food. So by necessity, the children learned to be responsible. I assigned breakfast to the 8-year-old, lunch to the 11-year-old, and dinner to the 15-year-old. It worked nicely! So nicely, in fact, that although I make dinner sometimes, it has stayed this way even though the baby is now 7 months old. After all, if someone else can do it, I have plenty of things to do that they cannot.

My oldest daughter is getting older…and busier. And the next two girls, Anna (9) and Emma (7) have been wanting to learn to cook. I figure that the more they can do, the more they can take off Angela’s shoulders. So a couple weeks ago we opened the “Peterson Culinary Institute.” The little girls are so excited! Every day they have a cooking assignment as part of school. It may be making muffins, coffeecake, hot chocolate mix, chopping veges for soup or salads, whatever.

After they successfully make a recipe, I ask that Anna write the recipe on a piece of paper and we put it in a page protector in a notebook. They are creating their own cookbook out of the recipes they know how to make.

Most of the things are going well. Yesterday they made pancakes from scratch, all by themselves. When I got up in the morning, there were two plates of pancakes warming up in the oven. Today it was French toast. Last week they got a great recipe for chili out of the Taste of Home magazine. Emma also made “Valentine Buttons” for snack yesterday.

Valentine Buttons

There have been some failures too — like the chocolate pudding. It was so nasty, you wouldn’t believe it. When we went over the recipe to find out where they went wrong, I asked them if they seperated the eggs since they were supposed to only use the egg whites. Anna gasped, and looked at me with huge eyes. “Mama! I thought they meant white eggs!” This is a reasonable mistake since we bring in brown, white, and blue eggs from our hen house. Oh, have we been laughing about this! I can imagine the reunions they will have long after Eric and I are gone…still cackling over white eggs in the pudding.

French Toast

They are loving it, they are learning valuable skills they will need in the future, and they are building memories. What better thing can you spend your time on? Go ahead — open a Culinary Institute in your home! Soon you will be out of the main chef job.

Culinary Institute

1 comment:

  1. This is something similar to what I've done with my three sons. They are quite proud of the fact that they could make every meal for a couple of days without my help. The oldest is quite the head cook at boy scout outings. (It's much easier to make French toast on a camp stove if you make them all the time at home too.)
    Although what we do is have a rotating chore wheel so that each week the area of responsibility changes. I'm sort of hoping that this makes them more willing to pick up after themselves rather than just always leaving certain areas a mess because they know it is someone elses problem. Sometimes it works.