How many times have you stood in front of your fridge / freezer wondering what on earth to make for dinner? There are so many nights where I feel so uninspired I just can’t bear the thought of putting something together, and would quite frankly rather call Mr D to bring something cheesy and make the pain go away.
I don’t really know how we stumbled upon this idea, either one of the kids asked if they could make us a meal or we suggested it. Either way, we had four kids with great intentions cooking for us in one week. If I ever thought I was going to stick to a carb-free meal plan that week, I was sorely mistaken 🙂
Granted, it took a little supervision, and lots of patience, but I was quite willing to teach if it meant taking the responsibility of actually choosing a meal off my shoulders.
If you think about it, how much time do we spend teaching our children basic cooking skills? Teaching our kids to cook is like the gift that keeps on giving (their future spouses will thank you one day!) I can’t think of one reason NOT to teach our kids to cook, especially if you consider the rewards you’ll reap. For starters (excuse the pun!), cooking together makes for great bonding time, and children will feel like they’ve accomplished something by contributing to the family meal. Your kids will also be more likely to stay seated for the entire meal time if they’ve prepared it themselves – if your children are still young you’ll know exactly what I mean! If you have a fussy eater, maybe your child will even experiment with new tastes and healthier options.
Want to create MasterChefs in your own home? This is how we did it:
- A week before the time, I assigned a day to each child. This was based mostly on their extra-mural calendars, and who would have time free on a particular day. I wouldn’t recommend doing this experiment during exams or assessments though or you’re bound to meet with a lot of resistance from the MasterChefs
- Each child took a cookbook and chose a meal they wanted to prepare. You will need to guide your child through this process because of seasonal ingredient limitations, level of expertise required, etc
- Each child gave me a shopping list of the ingredients they needed, which I bought the day before their meal
- On each child’s assigned day, we worked according to the recipe book together as a team. I encouraged them to do most of the work such as grating, measuring, pouring etc. You will know whether or not your child is ready to take on the more “dangerous” activities of food preparation and cooking, such as cutting and handling hot items.
- The MasterChef also had to dish up for the rest of the family, which was great because it required them to learn to wait their turn and serve others first.
If you have younger kids, you might find Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook by Nicola Graimes really helpful.
What I love about the book is that the author addresses cleanliness and hygiene in the beginning chapters, gives tips on when to call an adult, and also discusses how to be sensible when working with hot dishes or sharp knives.
The book contains step-by-step instructions, and even gives a breakdown of all the different food types in an easy-to-understand format. It also addresses topics such as unhealthy fats and the consequences of eating too much sugar or salt – in a kiddie-kind-of-way, of course!
If you have tweens or teens, a normal recipe book should work perfectly fine.
Hope this article has given you a starting point to encourage your kids to cook, and gain confidence in the kitchen. If you do embark on the challenge, please let me know how you progress 😉