Kids in the
Kids can cook and of course care and supervision on
the parent’s part is extremely important.
When is the right age? Well, you have to decide that, but when a
child is 10 to 12 years old (in my opinion), or, tall enough to work near
the stove (without a having to stand on something) they can start helping you.
Ask them to stir cold mixtures such as cake and cookie batters. Start out
with making them feel as though they have contributed to the meal and
praise them when the part they are involved with is being eaten. Make a
big deal about it! The small things at the beginning will encourage them
to do more, hey, we all love praise. You’ll know they’re interested
when they come back and ask you to help again.
As age permits teach them about the simple things.
For instance, the dangers of boiling water, sharp knives, hot oil, etc.
You should do this while teaching them how to make a dish, or, at least
participate in completing it. Boiling eggs for a potato salad is a good
example. Show them how to start them, time them, cool them and peel them. Let them do each of the steps but watch them closely so they
don’t hurt themselves. Repeat the safety rules occasionally and
they’ll remember them. Teach them how to cook biscuits, or even
scrambled eggs. You must eventually trust them after you are confident
that they understand the hazards of a stove, oven, or, other danger points
of cooking. A good test is to ask them to start something and stand back
and watch them. If they fail the safety test stop them and go over the
rules again, keep working
with them. Be sure to tell them that they only cook when YOU are with
them, otherwise, it’s OFF LIMITS!
Involving kids with cooking not only brings them
closer to the family, but, gives them confidence in themselves that they
can do something that is loved and appreciated by family and friends. Us
adults do it for the same reason, they’re no different. Not only do you
help them grow, but, you teach them the skills necessary to complement the
future families they will have to support. They won’t forget what
they’ve learned, don’t worry.
There are many Web Sites out there that are dedicated
to cooking for kids.
In conclusion I must say that I love it when my
children take the initiative to put a meal together.
Hey, get em’ involved, show them the rules and praise their
involvement. Remember, you’ll want them to cook for you when you get
old! You better teach them good now!!!
Chef Emeril Lagasse has a great new book out
for kids. The name is "There's
a Chef In My Soup!"