Thursday, December 1, 2011

Raising boys: Kid in the kitchen

Mr7 and I did some cooking tonight. Usually 'cooking' involves both boys eating their bodyweight in chocolate chips whilst waiting to stir the cookie mixture. Or swiping at the cake mix with a wooden spoon before racing off to lick the batter off it.

Tonight, he decided he wanted to help me make dinner. Chilli con Carne (sans Chilli for him and Mr4). So I showed him how to cut an onion - which he then wanted to attempt with a butter knife, before I dissuaded him. And he helped me put the spices in with the meat - by standing halfway across the kitchen and flinging cumin in the general direction of the pot. "You can go closer," I said, watching bemused as the cumin snow hit the ground. But no, he didn't want to burn himself.

When he attempted to open a can of tomatoes with a bottle opener, not being able to recognise a can opener out of the drawer, I realised it's definitely time to overcome my anxiety about him chopping off a finger or setting fire to his hair and actually teach him to cook. I have always sworn that I would never raise boys who could not fend for themselves.

Time to start putting my money where my mouth is.

Do you cook with your kids? What kinds of things are you cooking (and how old are they?)? And are those coloured knives on Junior Masterchef more kid-friendly than other knives?

[image: decal by tweetheartwallart/etsy]


  1. I don't have kids, but as a child we always cooked with mum, and by the time we were thirteen we were regularly given nights when it was our turn to cook dinner.

    And my brother and I were horrified when 12 years ago a friend moved into our spare bedroom and we discovered she couldn't cook anything besides eggs and toast. (She was 19).

    So if you start teaching them now, they can start taking over in a few years, while you relax with a good book.

  2. All my boys know how to make an omellete,cheese on toast,coffee(for me),salad by the time they are 9. the three of them love to cook and my eldest cooks for his girlfriend most of the time she is allways thanking me:)

  3. I don't really cook with them but Im so slack they've learnt to fend for themselves. Nothing too amazing but they can get by. Michael regularly cooks for the boys now because when i work i dont finish til 9pm.

    When they were little we used to make the usual bickies and cakes but thats not really cooking as far as teaching life skills. Practical skills are which aisle you can buy chicken tonight lol.

  4. My one (3yo) son loves being in the kitchen... and I hate being in it. My evil plan is to start him as young as possible, hoping he will want to take over some of the cooking. Ha! That's possible, right?!!

  5. my husband grew up in a culture where the men are basically served their meal.. the women do the cooking...

    years and years later, (and without his realizing he had been watching his mom make those meals as a boy) he quickly adapted to the kitchen.. when he left home to pursue his independence... he grew to love cooking as an adult...

    i am now the beneficiary of said meals... he is the chef in the family, making fantastic eats!

  6. My husband can't cook. I'm beginning to wish I'd taught him a few meals before we had kids, as it'd be great to have a night off. His idea of organising dinner is ordering take away: doesn't exactly pass on great life skills for our 3 boys, not to mention it's expensive and not as healthy as homemade.
    He does unstack a mean dishwasher though! And makes great cappuccinos. I won't trade him in just yet.

  7. My kids cook with me all the time.
    The youngest is only 7 months so admittedly she doesn't do a lot, just sits there chewing on a biscuit watching me and giggling, but my two year old LOVES helping.
    I don't let him use a knife (obviously) but he sits next to me and will put things in the pan and stir with his spatula.
    I always tell him what is what, what we're doing, what spices we're adding etc so hopefully one day he will win me lots of money on Junior Masterchef.
    Kidding, just making dinner for us would be winning.

    And I have one of those coloured knives but I've never used it.
    I guess the thing to remember is you're more likely to hurt yourself on a blunt knife

  8. My kids love helping out in the kitchen. Master 5 is bit into chopping at the moment, which has me holding my breath waiting for a trip to the emergency room.

    Eggs are a big deal for both boys (5 &3) cracking them, stiring them - apparently there is something exciting about it.

    Baking involves more eating than helping.

    Those coloured knives I think are just good promotion. I checked them out and all I saw were standard sized (and sharp)Scanpan knives in vivid colours. Please tell me if I am wrong because I would love to have a few kid's knives.

  9. Ha ha...cumin snow. Lovin' that.

    Yep - we cook with our boys all the time. Hubby more so than me (he has more patience for it). My 9yo gets up on Sunday mornings and makes pancake batter so we can cook it with him after it sits for an hour.

    I definitely don't want them to think that cooking is a woman's job! I cook during the week, but Hubby mostly cooks on weekends, and I think it's great that they see that.

  10. My kids (10 and almost 7) love cooking.
    They can saute, stir, make spaghetti sauce, and chop up a salad by themselves, and I let them use knives as soon as they were tall enough to see what they were doing easily and have the right -- umm, stance? leverage? -- whatever...
    They haven't cut themselves yet, and they have the coloured ScanPan knives, but they're very careful and so far, so good.

  11. I do cook with my boys.
    Not as much since we moved, but I still try. It's something that's very important to me.

  12. Alison, the problem with teaching children to cook is that they become little Foodie/Gourmets and then where are you with the grocery bill? My boys can cook with the best of them, much to the amazement of their mates. But there's never any ingredients in the cupboard left for me and then there's the amount they can eat. Oh my! It will put you into a dead faint when they are teenagers. I swear.

  13. I have no idea about the jazzy Masterchef knives - but Olivia has asked me to find out.

    I do cook a lot with the kids. Olivia is a lefty to I find that teaching her knife skills etc really painful I literally have to let her at a bag of carrots and the peeler and let her figure it out for herself.

    Charlie is good - he absorbs so much from bench sitting. He is my omelette maker.He is capable with a knife. And legendary with the jaffle maker...

    Lexie? She is still at the licking the spoon/annoying stage.

  14. Aaagh, cooking with the kids is my worst nightmare! Doesn't work with the control freak in me at all. Farmboy 11 makes a special 'soup' that we all secretly feed to the chooks - powdered stock, potatoes and carrots. Truly Disgusting and we all pretend it's good - how positive energy are we? Think it needs to stop soon before we all get food poisoning!

  15. Mine are 7 & 4 and I keep telling myself it's time to start cooking with them. But I don't like cooking...and I tend to take over if they want to help. Must.stop.that.

    We watch Junior Masterchef together. Does that count??

  16. When motivated (the catch phrase from his pre-school teacher at the mo), the Munchkin is a great cook. He even flipped pancakes perfectly this morning. His favourite task is to crack eggs. He loves tasting, adding herbs, and occasionally spices to taste. It's a fine line between panicking about cutting and being near hot stuff, and letting him go for it. He's burned himself only once so far (touch wood), and then only a minor burn, so yep... it's definitely time in my opinion... for both Mr7 and Mr4!

  17. My ten year old has just discovered her cooking mojo. All of a sudden she's great to cook with. It's brilliant. I hope I don't have to wait that long for the little on to get on board.

  18. Oh no! She's on to me! (no-one) I taught them how to cook and clean early so that I could have nights off to read in peace.

    I'm surprised that a seven year old doesn't recognise a can opener. Really??
    I'd say it's way past time to have the boys helping properly. But that's just me. Please do it your way.

  19. I grew up cooking with Mum, and our girls always help out with the baking and even with Dad's scones on a Sunday. Miss 13 surprised us this year with a three course breakfast/brunch for a school assignment which was fabulous.


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