Monday, June 20, 2016

I will be honest. I am not Julia Child when it comes to cooking. Nevertheless, I am grateful that I learned basic cooking skills at home and I want the same for my daughter. The good news is that now, when she is approaching 10, she finally has dexterity and strength to handle hot pans and sharp knives with reasonable degree of competence and she is interested in learning to cook. So here is how we approach learning to cook.
Relaxed approach to learning to cook

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Looking Through Cookbooks

For some strange reason, Smarty was motivated to learn to cook by reading through A Smart Girls' Guide to Cooking that we borrowed from the library. She was not interested to try any of the recipes in that book, but it inspired her to look through a dozen of children's cookbooks that we have at home - I collected them over time at the library's book sales and garage sales with hope that one day Smarty might be interested in them. Well, finally this day arrived, and here are the cookbooks that Smarty found especially interesting now when she is ready to cook mostly independently:

Creating a Routine

We agreed on one day a week when Smarty would cook dinner under my supervision. She is in charge of picking a recipe, writing a shopping list, going shopping with me and finding all the ingredients on her own, and then making dinner and cleaning up. She is super excited to be able to make dinner almost entirely on her own, but we are still working on cleaning up part. Interestingly, she seems very interested in food presentation - and very insistent in making her plates look nice even if it means serving dinner somewhat cold :)

What Is Smarty Making?


One surprising part of Smarty picking dishes on her own was that she is trying new foods. For example, she is not a big fan of eggs, but she made a delicious omelette aux tomates from a French cookbook and cheerfully gobbled up her portion. She also volunteered to cook for our wedding anniversary and went all out with an appetizer and a main dish. She made a beef stew with peppers and onions served over rice and a bean dip for an appetizer. She has never even tried bean dip before, but she announced that she likes it a lot... because she cooked it herself.

Your Turn

How to teach kids to cook and benefits of learning to cook

Are your kids old enough to cook independently? What are they making?

More Cooking for Kids?

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5 comments:

Phyllis said...

Quentin is also more willing to try things that he has cooked himself. I like your approach to learning to cook.

JL said...

How funny...K is into presentation also. She enjoys shows like Chopped, although she doesn't get to watch it often. So far, she's made simple things like BLT, omelette, and other breakfast foods.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm woefully behind at getting my youngest into cooking independently. As usual - Smarty is very inspiring!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Emma and Johnny have both done some cooking, although not as much as Smarty. It will be easier if we move into a house with a better kitchen. Hoping that can become reality in the next year or so.

Ticia said...

Batman wants to be a chef, so he likes to try cooking all sorts of things. This reminds me I need to pull out a science cookbook (it's an anatomy book with recipes based off of why you need to eat different foods).