Not-So-Manic Mondays: Kids in the Kitchen

Back when my boys were kids, I stumbled into an idea that was seriously one of the best things I ever did for all of us. In summer, when the days were more relaxed and we had more time to be in each other’s hair enjoy each other’s company, I had them each plan and prepare one meal per week. The whole thing: finding a recipe, checking to see what ingredients we didn’t have, preparing the shopping list, selecting the items they needed when we went to the store, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up.
When I first proposed this, I recall them being excited. The novelty wore off fast 🙂  but we stuck with it. My feeling has always been that my primary jobs as a parent are to keep my kids safe and prepare them for independent life, and really, what’s more essential than the ability to cook your own food? I’ll be honest: this was more work for me in their first years in the kitchen. There were constant questions and explanations and panicked reminders that we don’t hold knives that way. But as time went by, they grew more confidant and capable, and I was able to leave more and more of the work to them.
I knew it had been the right choice when my oldest was in his first college home outside a dorm – a summer rental he shared with half a dozen other kids. He was astounded that most of them had no idea how to cook (or clean, or plunge a toilet, or other issues, but those are topics for another day.) I will never forget sitting in a baseball game with him while he thanked me repeatedly for making him learn how to do those things. Oh, how sweet it was.
These days, HRH (now 13) looks forward to making a different Chinese dish each week. (Cooking lessons plus she gets to explore her cultural heritage. Double win.) Tsarina is only 8, so we’re still at the basic levels, making things like mashed potatoes. But she’ll get there. And we’ll all be glad she did.